Category: Music

Herman Theron and Violina Anguelov in the show "Not Just Another Night at the Opera" in the Rhodes chapel in Grahamstown on 9 July 2015 at the 2015 national Arts Festival. The performance was the first time the show had been performed in South Africa. (Photo: CuePix / Jeff stretton-Bell)

Based on a loose-fitting storyline that explores the ecstasy and turbulence reminiscent of relationships, creator and director Yves Senn has skilfully woven a dramatic sub-text to a potpourri of operatic highlights. Mezzo soprano, Violina Anguelov, and tenor, Herman Theron, are both consummate artists who bring a wealth of experience to this professional production.

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Asanda Mqiki performs at the Rhodes Club, Grahamstown, 07 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Mqiki is a product of the National School of Art and has performed in Sweden and Maputo, she explores new arrangements of old favourites as well as performing her original work. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

Afro-Soul Singer and musical  director, Asanda Mqiki, presents a recognisable brand with a unique singing style. Cue spoke with this soulful personality, who has shared stages with singers such as Sibongile Khumalo. She continues to explore new arrangements of music at Festival this year.

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Eusebe Jaojoby performs in Jaojoby – King of Salegy on 7 July 2015 at the National Arts Festival.  Critics have credited Jaojoby with popularizing the salegy genre both within Madagascar and on the international music scene.  (Photo: CuePix/ Amanda Horsfied)

This music is for dancing,” says Eusébe Jaojoby, “so come join us on the stage.” After starting slowly, with a few sound system hiccups and a cool jazzy piece, Eusébe Jaojoby and his family band burst into a colourful, high energy set that you just have to jive to.

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Matthew Field, guitarist with pop band Beatenberg,  performs in a concert in the Guy Butler Theatre at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, 08 July 2015. (Photo: CuePix/Harold Gess)

“They said it was sold out, but I didn’t really imagine it. So, I’m dealing with it now.” Matthew Field, the singer and guitarist of Beatenberg, looks a little bewildered, the lights in his eyes, his face locked in that slight frown he always makes when he sings.

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Brett de Groot and Kay Mosiane in Simply Broadway at the Beethoven Room, Grahamstown, 05 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Loved classics from the Great White Way are stripped down to the basics with piano accompaniment, but not lacking in charm or grandeur when delivered by this duo. Photo: CuePix / Jane Berg.

“This one’s for you,” Brett de Groot says, after spotting my reluctant hand go up to answer his search for any press in the house. He launches into a brilliantly executed song and tap dance routine to the tune of Leaning on a Lamppost, concludes the dance, points at me and says, “Review that, bitch!”

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Soprano Magdalene Minnaar and Jose' Dias on piano. Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe

In a programme that drew inspiration from nocturnal music and varying states of darkness, soprano Magdalene Minnaar and pianist Jose Dias explored a wide range of repertoire that exhibited control over a myriad of pianissimo states. While Rachmaninov’s Eti Letniye Nochi and Richard Strauss’s Cäcilie received appropriately sensuous, fervent renditions, most of the programme was situated in dimly lit colours of wavering nightfall.

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Pops Mohamed performs at the DSG Hall in Grahamstown on 8 July 2015, at the 2015 National Arts Festival. Mohamed performed alongisde Dave Reynolds, Frank Paco, Tony Cedras and Sylvain Baloubeta. (Photo: CUEPIX/Kate Janse van Rensburg)

If you know the kora music of Malian maestro Toumani Diabaté, put it out of your mind. Pops doesn’t play like Diabaté; he plays the kora like the KhoiSan / Bushmen speak. Late in the set he actually references the KhoiSan. If you don’t know the kora, it’s an African gourd-harp. Near the end of the gig (on a tune called, appropriately, Ons Gaat Huis Toe), Mohamed stands on the edge of the stage and plays the long-necked instrument directly at us. Jimi Hendrix could have learnt a thing or two about priapic presentation from Pops!

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Photo: CuePix/Sithasolwazi Kentane

If we trust our young people, and give them the tools they need, then surely our heritage is in safe hands,” says Concord Nkabinde, director of the Standard Bank National Youth Band 2015, after they’d played his first three arrangements on Monday night at the DSG Hall.

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Carlos Fernando Balanta performs as Baterimba at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, 07 July 2015. Balanta's one man show combines several types of drums, a traditional marimba, voice, and objects to name a few. (Photo: CuePix/Tamani Chithambo)

Colombian percussionist Carlos Fernando Balanta is easy to like. He has a wide smile and moves his hips with confidence. He can also sing while doing the work of four musicians – playing the marimba, bass guitar, drum kit and percussion – at once.

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In a shimmering gold coat, sleek black stockings and a gold beaded head wrap, Kat Kai Kol- Kes’s presence is mesmerizing. Kol-kes takes her audience on a journey with her beautiful voice, intriguing story-telling and charismatic spirit. She pairs this with a dose of power and sass as she commands participation from us, and orders an audience member to act as her temporary back up vocalist – a daunting task, but just as daunting as refusing her instruction.

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