Butler, Whalum to share stage at GIMC

South African musician Jonathan Butler will join on stage US saxophonist Kirk Whalum at the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) jazz event on 26 August.

Jonathan Butler and Kirk Whalum will perform at GIMC in Botswana
Jonathan Butler and Kirk Whalum will perform at GIMC in Botswana

Grammy winner Whalum will headline the GIMC, with local artists such as Amantle Brown and Trinity Mpho also set to perform at the event.

GIMC organiser Thapelo Pabalinga said Whalum was picked as the headliner after consultations with jazz fans in Botswana.  

“We listen to our supporters and fans. Most of the people wanted to see George Benson followed by Kirk Whalum then Dave Koz. Unfortunately George wasn’t available on the dates and we went for the second preferred,” Pabalinga told Mmegi Online.

Whalum, who will be in the country for the first time, has collaborated with the late Luther Vandross and Whitney Huston. Known for hits such as ‘All I do’, Whalum has recorded a number of solo albums and film soundtracks. In 2011, the smooth jazz master won the Best Gospel Song Grammy for ‘It’s What I Do’ alongside Jerry Peters. 

No strangers to each other, Butler and Whalum have performed together on a number of occasions. The two musicians are especially known for their vocal-sax exchange on ‘Falling in Love With Jesus’, a song Butler released in 2010.

“Jonathan Butler does a lot of duets with Kirk so he agreed to join him and make the 2017 event one to remember,” Pabalinga said. “Jonathan loved Botswana so much that he offered to be a GIMC ambassador in America and Europe. So he has pledged to help grow the event globally and help us get any jazz artist we want.”

Butler was the headline act at last year’s GIMC, which also saw Black Coffee, DJ Fresh, Lebo Mashile, Riky Rick, Donald, Salvado and Doc Vikela perform at the popular event.

Pabalinga said that inviting jazz artists such as Whalum to this year’s event meant that the GIMC was operating according to international standards.

“On a daily basis we have scores of artists from all over the world wanting to be attached to GIMC,” he said. “This is testimony that we can also host world-class events that the whole world comes to attend.”

Some of the GIMC proceeds are donated to deserving NGOs, especially those that seek to uplift less fortunate members of the community.

According to its website, GIMC is a multidiscipline event that celebrates Gaborone and its residents. The event is held at the end of every August and concludes in the first week of September. GIMC showcases comedy, poetry, music and fashion.  

For more information visit the GIMC official website.

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