John Wizards, is the product of one furtive imagination; that of John Withers, a 25-year-old South African composer and commercial jingle writer. The project has given him the opportunity to break free of the confines of his day job and wring out the pan-global musical sponge of his mind. The results can be heard on their extraordinary self-titled debut album, released on Planet Mu; a melting pot of dub reggae, R&B, classical, jazz, African dance music, electro-pop, folk and rumba. Unusually for a South African band, their composition is multi-ethnic, with Withers seeking help from Rwandan vocalist Emmanuel Nzaramba, and four session musicians. It only serves to to add to their enigmatic, genre-bending sound.
We were lucky enough to see them in their first UK performance, at Simple Things Festival last month. Since then, they’ve been supporting Jagwar Ma on a UK tour and finish with a few solo dates next week at Rough Trade East, Jazz Café (supporting Owiny Sigoma Band), and at the Southbank Centre.
In anticipation of these, before heading off on tour with Mount Kimbie, they have put together a guide to Cape Town, in the form of a one-day whistle-stop tour. As usual it’s listed and mapped out below, but we’re also excited to preview John Wizards’s own Monday Morning Mixtape. Full tracklist and free download will be made available on (unsurprisingly) Monday morning but, for the time being, it provides a perfect accompaniment to the guide round their home town.
1. Hike in the morning and catch a sunrise/shark.
Kalk Bay, Spes Bona and Ampitheatre Trail
2. Some bread and breakfast
C’est la Vie: 20 Main Road, Kalk Bay
3. Take the train (on a Sunday if possible)
From Muizenberg (Main Road) to Cape Town Station
4. Best coffee
Delux, 25 Church Street
5. Walk through the Company Gardens
At the top of Adderley Street
6. As one does, have a Turkish Bath
On the corner of Long and Orange Street
South China Dim Sum Bar: 289 Long Street
8. Over the hill to Bakoven or Beta Beach for a swim
Sea Point Promenade
10. Turkish dinner
Anatoli’s: 24 Napier Street, Greenpoint
11. Catch Chez Ntwmba ‘International Nightclub’ on a busy night
4C Buiten Street
Club Med, 178 Long Street