Vocalist TUTU PUOANE was born May 31st, 1979 in South Africa as Nontuthuzelo Elaine Puoane. She started playing music professionally in 1997 in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. Tutu studied jazz vocals with Jelena Reveshin, Natasha Roth-Scholfield and Rachel Gould.
She played concerts in South Africa, Italy, New York, Germany, New Orleans, France, Belgium and Holland, and in 2004 was the recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Award for Music in South Africa.
Tutu has performed extensively in South Africa with many great South African musicians. In 2001, she performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival Cape Town, leading an afro-latino band, Tucan Tucan. Puoane toured New York in 2000 as vocalist with the South African National Youth Big Band of 1999. Tutu is currently the vocalist for the Frits Bayens Big Band of Breda, Netherlands.She lived in The Haghe (NL) for a while, and now settled in Belgium.
Ms Puoane has received several awards from major South African Jazz Competitions. In 2000 she was awarded the Old Mutual Jazz encounters for Cape Region and in 2001 she received a merit award for young promising talent at the Daimler Chrysler South African Jazz Competition.Tutu has shared the same stage with the likes of S’bongile Khumalo, Marcus Wyatt, 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.
She participated in Goddam, a tribute to Nina Simone, and a Billie Holliday tribute with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra.
She also performs with the saxophone quartet "Saxkartel".
Tutu leads her own quartet with Belgian piano player Ewout Pierreux, Dutch bass player Guus Bakker and Dutch drummer Jasper van Hulten.
In 2010, she releases the cd "Mama Africa", a tribute to the music of Miriam Makeba, with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra.
The same year, her album "Quiet Now" was wamrly received.
Tutu Puoane frequently collaborated with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra.
She created some works by Bert Joris for her and symphony orchestra.
She also introduced a Joni Mitchell Project.