Classical Head "in the clouds"

Head "in the clouds"

He calls his guitars Junior, Sonny and Senior. Two of them are proudly South African, the other Spanish. Steve Newman is a legendary instrumentalist and loves being at the Festival. This is his 16th year and he has nothing but praise for the event.  “This is the most transformed festival in South Africa, I feel comfortable here.”

The Cape Town-born instrumentalist praises the Festival’s organisers for being aware of things that other festival organisers in the country are not aware of. “The Grahamstown audience appeals to me because it is really diverse and far more receptive,” he said. Although he has previously appeared on the Main programme with his band Tananas, Newman says he prefers to be on the Fringe as he gets to stay in Grahamstown longer and hang out with his musical peers, whom he hardly sees because of his busy schedule.

“In the Main programme you only play for a few days and you have to leave, but I like it here on the Fringe.”

Collaborating for “clouds”

This year, Newman will also be performing on the Arena, a new platform introduced as a bridge between the Main and the Fringe. “I was approached by one of the organisers to collaborate with two extraordinary South African acoustic guitarists, Nibs van der Spuy and Guy Buttery. I am looking forward to it.”

This musical collaboration promises to be a master class in the art of the guitar. Each artist will perform a solo act before taking to the stage for an unforgettable mind-blasting collaboration. Newman will perform almost 20 times this year: 10 solo, seven “in the clouds” with Ashish Joshi, Greg Georgiades and Marc Duby, and 18 Strings, his once-off collaboration for the Arena programme. “People should expect to jam to solo performances, new material, old, and unreleased songs.”

Newman said the “clouds” show will be exotic with many influences of Cuban, Caribbean, Cape, African and Asian sounds. “People who have never experienced the Tabla Indian drum should come and jam to its fascinating sound.”

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