Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant has hosted some of the biggest names in the local music scene including Joel Zuma, Judith Sepuma, Bernice Boikanyo, Thandi Ntulu, MCCoy Mrubata, Peter Auret, Mosama Manzini and a many more.
Restaurant owner Winston Mosiako is committed to providing a platform not only for those who have made it in the ‘music biz’ already, but also those who are just launching their careers. “The problem lesser-known artists face is a lack of opportunities for exposure,” notes Winston, “you can’t become known without performing and you can’t perform without being known – it’s a catch 22.”
Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant circumvents this ‘catch 22’ by giving up-and-coming artists the chance to get a foot in the door. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, Winnie’s welcomes unknown but deserving artists to perform on their stage.
In addition to holding weekly ‘auditions’, Winnie’s acts as a training ground for well-known musician and teacher Selaelo Senota, giving his students the opportunity to practice performing on a stage privately and also to a live audience on Friday nights as part of the live entertainment line up.
“For musicians, you need somewhere where you can do what you love to do, Winnie’s is that place,” says saxophonist Kayode ‘Saxokay’ Ogunkoya “The atmosphere is vibey yet cosy, the acoustics are exceptional and diners are always an attentive audience.”
Musician Dave Reynolds performed at Winnie’s in July with Fana Zulu and Pops Mohamed, and noted that Winnie’s caters with ease to the “cuisine, style and social interaction” and “the culture, the exclusive dining experience and the music” that jazz lovers prefer.
Musician and entertainer Joel Zuma has performed at Winnie’s three times and keeps coming back, having high praise for the venue and its patrons – “Winnie’s is a great place to perform because it offers the right type of audience in an intimate setting. I can feel the audience, I can hear them singing, I can talk to them when they approach me to sign their CDs.”
Joel advocates the importance of venues like Winnie’s for up-and-coming South African artists to showcase their music. “It is only at intimate, live performances, like those made possible by Winnie’s, where aspiring artists can connect with the audience and feed off of their energy and love of the music,” he says. “I am very choosy about where I perform, and I can honestly say that when Winnie’s asks me to perform, I can’t refuse.”
Winnie’s Soul & Jazz Restaurant is in Wendywood, Johannesburg and is open Wednesday to Sunday with live music performances every Friday night.