BY BILLY SUTER
A GROUP called Ancient Agents, offering a mix of North Indian, Middle Eastern and African beats – “ancient sounds telling a modern tale” – is headed for Durban as part of a countrywide tour.
The quartet, performing for a fortnight in South Africa, is said to combine traditional rhythms and contemporary harmonies to produce a richly textured acoustic world beat that crosses genres, borders and time signatures.
The team will be at Umhlanga’s L’Aperitivo, 9 Aurora Drive, from 6pm on Sunday, January 29. Admission is R400 a head – inclusive of a full Italian buffet. For bookings contact 031 825 2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The band is also to entertain at Durban’s Alliance Française, 22 Sutton Crescent, Morningside, from 7pm on January 31. Admission is R100 a head and booking is by at 031 312 9582 or email@example.com
“This local-international collaboration brings together an innovative lead guitarist, a melody-driven bassist and two intuitive, dexterous percussionists whose instruments range from Arabic to Indian and North African. Each band member brings with him a distinct sound, an impressive performance history and international experience,” says a spokesman.
An admirer of John McLaughlin and John Schofield, South African guitarist Reza Khota’s strings produce a crossover between east and west, with influences of jazz and classical. He recently taught master-classes at the University of Toronto.
One of South Africa’s busiest session musicians, bassist Schalk Joubert, is able to articulate South African melodies, West African grooves and harmony in the European tradition to produce a cohesive, melodic sound. He has performed, produced and recorded with the likes of David Kramer, Nico Carstens and Michelle Shocked.
Fredrik Gille of Sweden has collected and mastered a variety of percussion instruments from all over the world, with Middle Eastern drumming being his expertist. His sound is influenced by Arabic rhythms and Spanish music.
He’s worked with composer Andreas Vollenweider, Algerian vocalist Karima Nayt, Swedish trip folk band Bazar Blå and Flamenco en Route.
Ronan Skillen of Ireland is inspired by the aesthetic of record label ECM, and music from Mali to Memphis and Mumbai.
“His flair for improvisation began with the didgeridoo, and his later schooling in Indian classical music and a wide palette of textural percussive sounds combine to create a rich soundscape, incorporating table and hybrid percussion kit. He has toured with Rodriguez and Johnny Clegg, and performed with Manu Dibango among others,” says the spokesman.
Asked about this tour with Ancient Agents, Ronan says: “I am thrilled at the idea of taking this quartet on the road. Audiences are in for a sound they won’t have heard before”.
Ancient Agents Tour is supported by Concerts SA through the Music Mobility Fund (a funding mechanism which offers opportunities for South African musicians to undertake live music tours) and the Swedish Arts Council.
Concerts SA is a joint South African/Norwegian initiative housed under the auspices of the Stakeholder Hub within the Samro Foundation. It receives financial, administrative and technical support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Samro Foundation and Concerts Norway.
Working with musicians, promoters, venue owners and audiences, the project aims to support live music in South Africa by finding and implementing ways to create a vibrant and viable live music circuit.
It also aims to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances and conducting workshops at schools.
THIS IS THE FULL ITINERARYRFOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN TOUR BY ANCIENT AGENTS
Cape Town – Alliance Française du Cap
8pm on Friday, January 20 – R50 (students: R80 students)
Address: 155 Loop Street, Cape Town
Bookings: 021 423 5699 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Muizenberg – Casa Labia
7.30pm on Sunday January 22 – R200 (drinks included)
Address: 192 Main Road, Muizenberg
Bookings: 021 788 6068 / email@example.com
Johannesburg – The Orbit
8pm on January 27 and 28 – R150
Address: 81 de Korte Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Bookings: 011 339 6645 / firstname.lastname@example.org
East London – Stirling Auditorium
8pm on Wednesday, February 1 – R100
Address: Stirling High School, Glen Eagles Road, Stirling, East London
Bookings: 043 735 1444 / www.stirlinghsmusic.co.za
Knysna – Yacht Club
7.30pm on Thursday, February 2 – R150
Address: Yacht Club Road, Knysna Waterfront, Knysna
Bookings: 071 686 6864 / email@example.com
Prince Albert – The Showroom Theatre
8pm on Friday, February 3 – R100
Address: 41 Church St, Prince Albert, Western Cape
Bookings: 023 541 1563 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Town – Blah Blah Bar
9pm on Saturday, February 4 – R100
Address: 84 Kloof St, Cape Town
Bookings: 082 349 8849 / email@example.com
Rondebosch – Reeler Theatre Rondebosch
7.30pm on Sunday, February 5 – R150 (students: R120)
Address: Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Canigou Avenue, Rondebosch
Bookings: 021 685 1923 / firstname.lastname@example.org