Rock ‘n Reflection at 5TH Edition of SAM JAM SESSIONS

It’s not every day we gather to celebrate our art, our being and ourselves. The 5th installment of Miss Jay’s (link) JAM SESSIONS was all of that and more. Hitting off the first of this month, we spoke to some of the brilliant musicians who took centre stage tonight including Samantha ‘Miss Jay’ Jennings- the queen DJ behind this affair. We spoke about what it takes to have an art event come to fruition, why we had the performances we had and the work of curating.
DJ MISS JAY JENNINGS | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

“It takes at least a month [to organise the Jam Sessions] as there are so many elements to it, food, music and now recently art.” she said. Art collective 4 Blind Mice (link) created live visual art for the first time at Jam Sessions. Miss Jay shared that “The artist selection is the most difficult” part of curating this event including both poster art and the music performances.

4 BLIND MICE | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

Jam Sessions work hard to feature up and coming artists firsthand, then “throw in seasoned acts to balance the show. Most times I approach everyone I would like to come on my show, as there is always a theme I try to stick to. This one was females only and my black sisters.”
At the Music Kitchen we had Poetic Soul, DJ Suli Soul, Ndu from the Clan and DJ Lochive. So when I tell you the moon was truly out for this, believe me!

POETIC SOUL | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

This line up was all heat! Poetic Soul started us off with a sobering reminder of the sacredness the microphone holds to poets especially, but also the performing artist. The stage as a place of power. Meditating through her words, the crowd listened carefully and I overheard someone declare, “Nothing better than language, is there?”

“As a DJ, I consider myself a guardian of my culture. Also I am as much a creator as the producer. I keep the producers’ art alive by introducing their art to new people in hopefully new ways,” explained DJ Suli Soul. Her return to djing  The range of sound form insular percussions, funk, to nostalgic mbaqanga tunes that rocked the crowd to vibrate to the front. “Brenda Fassie and Lucky Dube are the two people I tried to emulate when I was a kid,” said Suli. “Vinolia (VMash) also influenced my wanting to be, in what we call the entertainment industry. I just loved music and was arrogant enough to think that people would like my musical taste.”

DJ SULI SOUL | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

Ndu from the Clan who is an RnB-style vocalist is one up and coming young woman on there- so effortless in delivery and thoughtful with heartbreak centred lyrics. “Most of my songs are centred [on] “a love gone wrong” or a love which still has the potential to be. However, the biggest element in my writing process is the subject, I always reference the relationships I have had with women (on any level) – these experiences are what inform my lyrics.” Performing her single ‘Situation’ and serving us vocals, she held it down with fellow singer Thandii and bassist, Jazz.

NDU FROM THE CLAN and THANDII | Picture: Siphosethu Jim

The most incisive decision of Sam Jennings career is her skill set. Although she hasn’t scratched the surface with how she delivers her sets, there are many skills she says she’d love to master. Top of the list [is] being able to play vinyl and scratching. There is so much music that needs to played and heard. My calling is to deliver the already produced music. People have no idea how much music is being made daily and needs to be heard. There is no rush to make more.”

Sam said this year is dedicated to women and Hip hop. “So [we will] definitely [have] another session in August/September that is all female.”

Isn’t that issue with the current music scene? Most people are, as with other ideas; settle with what they’ve always known. But, at the Jam sessions that net is cast wider, the floor filled with varying people who have at least one thing in common- a love for live music. “We need each other,” Suli said. “Sam has created a moment that we can hopefully take and make many other moments out of that speak to the reasons why we need each other.”