Classical Slick, smooth sound

Slick, smooth sound

Six tenors, two baritones and one bass form the Cape Town-based a cappella, all male vocal group D-Seven. These fresh-faced young men had their teenybopper fans screeching with delight and older audience members smiling appreciatively during this fun-packed hour.

The affable Patrick Craig, an astounding beatbox interpreter, good-humouredly linked the programme and introduced the members of D-Seven. Yati Khumalo led the group in a blistering interpretation of the Ray Charles classic I’ve Got a Woman that negotiated barbershop, hip hop and Dixieland styles with ease.

This slick, professional performance set the tone for the programme. The group cemented their reputation for perfect intonation with closely shifting harmonic passages. Nkhumalo impressed with his untrammelled tenor and comprehensible diction. This is a talent that should not be missed.

D-Seven’s tribute to Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock was equally impressive, though I have some misgivings about their performance of the Beatles classic Let It Be, as Paul Morrissey’s unfortunate off-key opening unsettled the group’s harmonic underpinning.

In the item Homeless, Paul Simon’s collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, wayward bass harmonies marred an otherwise creditable interpretation, especially at phrase endings. East London-born Jeremy du Plessis impressed with his vocal purity, and showed real skill at scatting.

Down-to-earth Francois Swart introduced the Buggles hit Video Killed the Radio Star, a well directed item with fun-filled choreography once again featuring the vocal talent of Nkhumalo. The group moved through a repertoire that included Too Late to Apologise and Motown Filly, both with consummate ease.

Festival-goers are urged to arrive early for this show, as seating is at a premium in the Cuervo Music Room. Let’s hope that the Festival technical team get their amplification equipment in order soon, as a few bars before the end of the show D-Seven were literally unplugged – a mishap borne with professionalism.

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