Pravda is a live electronic band, performing modernized jazz and pop music with a combination of live performance and cutting edge music technology. Influences range from the best-known swing era classics to the ethnic music of Romania, Argentina and France.
Pravda has performed at Rocking the Daisies, the J&B Met, Youngblood Art Gallery and countless weddings, band nights and house parties with a versatility ranging from balls-to-the-wall live energy to light background cocktail jazz.
DJ-clarinetist Zimasa Gysman completed his formal training in classical music and met self-taught guitarist and violinist John Bartmann while performing in 2013. The pair began work on the original music that culminated in their self-released 2016 EP Modern Folk. Early dedication by the pair saw them instantly begin to receive booking inquiries at clubs and bars in Cape Town and further afield. A chance encounter in the street led to their meeting with Jacques Louw, contrabassist for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, who agreed to join the outfit until a suitable replacement was found. DJ-trumpeter James Burchell also contributed to the earlier recordings.
The band has since grown to a full six members, including the classically trained trumpeter Cornelius Kolawole Gbolohan, in-demand jazz multi-instrumentalist Gareth Harvey and versatile double bassist Callan Wolff. A rotating stable of beautiful female jazz singers also graces their stage when the occasion arises.
The decision to walk the less traditional path of live electronic music was based on the band's requirement for flexibility in the volatile Cape Town entertainment scene. Sophisticated DJ equipment allows the controller to deliver crisp grooves and adapt to changes in the accompanying live performance with tools like timeshifting and tempo tapping. Songs often merge, providing continuity for dancing audiences, and on-the-fly looping ensures that no two performances can ever be the same. The result is music that breaks the generic dance music mold, breathing and pulsing around the live performance while marrying all the benefits of spontaneity and the type of amplitude we expect from dance music.
Pravda is ultimately a successful experiment in swing music, having secured a number of national bookings and major festival dates in South Africa. With their unique approach of fusing jazz, pop and electronic dance music, the ensemble is now ready to join the ranks of Cape Town's best. Whatever the occasion, Pravda delivers a top-pop-non-stop creation of stunning originality.
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