Tutu Puoane (born Nontuthuzelo Elaine Puoane) was born in 1979. She started her professional career in Johannesburg (1997). She studied with Jelena Reveshin at the University of Cape Town, where she obtained a Diploma in music performance, and in 2002 she received a 2 year scholarship to study with Rachel Gould at The Hague Conservatory of Music and Dance in The Netherlands. She performed in RSA, Italy, US, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Tutu has played a lot with well-known South-African musicians. She performed in New York as a vocalist with the South African National Youth Big Band and in 2001 she played with the Afro/Latino band Tucan Tucan at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town. In July 2004 she debuted with her European band in South Africa, at the Grahamstown Arts Festival and in 2008 they played one of the most successful concerts on the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Tutu has worked with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra as a guest vocalist for their project ‘Writing Billie’, a tribute to Billie Holiday. Because of this successful partnership, the BJO asked her to take part in a cross-over project between jazz and classical music with the Flemish Radio Orchestra. This resulted in Mama Africa, dedicated to the late Miriam Makeba, the legendary South African diva.
Tutu has won several prizes in important South African jazz-competitions: the Old Mutual Jazz encounters for Cape Region in 2000, a Merit Award for Young Promising Talent in the Daimler Chrysler South African Jazz Competition (2001) and in 2004 she was the recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Music.
She shared the stage with a.o. Sibongile Khumalo, Marcus Wyatt, Judith Sephuma, Jack van Poll, Hein van de Geyn, Hans van Oosterhout, Dré Pallemaerts, Stacy Rowles, Mark Murphy, Madeline Bell, Georgie Fame, Roy Hargrove, John Engels and Toots Thielemans.
Tutu has recently been appointed as a board member of the Jack van Poll Foundation, which will focus on an exchange study program between young South African musicians and music teachers from the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in The Netherlands.
In 2007 she released her debut Song on Saphrane Records (S 62602), followed in 2009 by Quiet Now (S 62607). Both albums are released in Japan and South Africa, Song is also released in Thailand. An international success for this young and extremely talented singer!
Publicity photo: (c) Vincent Tillieux