Sound Advice: KZN gigs (Oct 25-31)


John Ellis headlines at the MiTH gig in Hilton on Wednesday, October 25.

BILLY SUTER reports on gigs in and around Durban this and next week – including a university showcase concert for bass, a John Ellis gig, and four supper theatre productions.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

POPULAR, Durban-based singer-songwriter John Ellis, formerly of hit band Tree63, will perform from 9pm on Wednesday (October 25) at the Music in the Hills (MiTH) gathering, now being held fortnightly in Hilton.

The venue is a former barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Road, Hilton.

“MiTH is evolving in two important ways – and we need to make all our musical friends aware. As of now, it is a venue that pays musicians (our door charge will go up to R50 to help facilitate this),” says MiTH spokesman and performer Charles Webster.

The move away from free evenings  is because while MiTH started out as a jam among amateurs and anyone else who wanted to join in, increasingly professionals are now performing, adds Webster.

“The organisers have decided, after three years of maintaining a purely amateur ethos, that it’s important to recognise this. Also, we have now purchased more or less everything we need in terms of equipment (which is why we charged in the first place), and we aren’t in this to make a profit – so we’d like to pay the musicians.

“At the same time, we will keep space for amateurs, too. So the first few set will be dedicated to open-mic and amateurs, and will remain unpaid, and the last few sets of each meeting will be for musos who get paid.”

Starting off the fun on Wednesday, at 7pm will be Emily Winter, a UK musician who plays classic and independent folk, with a repertoire of covers spanning many decades.

Winter’s influences include Lianne La Havas, Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling, and Simon and Garfunkel.

The Reid Family will entertain from 7.30pm. This outfit has been jamming together for many years, and covers many different genres of music, but isparticularly influenced by Irish music, folk and pop.

From 7.15pm, MiTH will spotlight 2G, comprising Ron Geevers and John Goodall. John leads 2G on acoustic guitar and vocals, while Ron contributes harmonies.

Whether you’re a ‘newbie’ looking for your first opportunity to perform publicly, or a more experienced/mature musician simply looking for people who are as passionate about music as you are – pop along and join the fun. Visit for more details and directions.


THE horrendous recent storm in Durban forced rescheduling of a planned concert earlier this month at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the second level of the Shepstone Building on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Freeman Gumede is among bassists performing this week.

The student concert, Bass Showcase, will now be held at 6pm on Wednesday, October 25, featuring jazz bass students from the foundation programme, as well as first-, second- and third-year students of the School of Arts (Music) programme.

They will be presenting works by Thandi Ntuli, Benjamin Jephta Jaco Pistorious and Snarky Puppy, as well as originals by the participants, who will include Charles Mdakane, Solomon Riba, Freeman Gumede, Sihle Nkomo, Giyani Shangase and Blessing Thwala.

This concert is the last from a series of instrumental showcases that happened over the course of the year.

Doors for the Bass Showcase open at 5.30pm. Admission is R70 (R45 for and R20 for students). Contact Thuli at (031) 26 03385 for more details.


THE RHUMBELOW Theatre franchise has shows at its venues in Kloof, Pietermaritzburg and Umbilo, Durban, this weekend, one of them being It Takes Two, teaming father and daughter, Danny and Danielle Fisher.

Danny Fisher and daughter Danielle… at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban, this weekend.

Scheduled for performances at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (October  27 and 28) and 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (October 29), the show looks at famous duets associated with acts as varied as Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole and Elvis Presley.

Lined up for the Rhumbelow Theatre at the Allan Wilson Shellhole in Pietermaritzburg this weekend is A Tribute to Jim Croce, to be staged at 2pm and 6.30pm on Sunday (October 29). This has Rob Warren, the fine singer-guitarist with hot Durban band The Black Lapels, performing a casual, acoustic set with a little help from his father, Bruce. It’s well worth seeing (my review under Music).

The choice for the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road, Kloof, at 8pm on Saturday (October 28) and 2pm on Sunday (October 29), is Listen, produced by Umhlanga’s Nick Wium.

I have heard very good things about this popular draw at the recent Hilton Arts Festival, the show being a collaboration between Wium, his Durban band Shizam, and 16-year-old musical theatre singing sensation, Marianthe Panas. Expect show tunes,  pop favourites and some surprises.

Tickets cost R150 for each of these three shows and booking is at Computicket or by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636.


POET, songwriter and guitarist Mbijana Sibisi will be backed by Njabulo Shabala on percussion and Milton Chissano on guitar for a 7pm performance at Sound Café, 5 Garlicke Drive, Ballito, on Friday (October 27).

“The 26-yearold Sibisi aims to use his music to spread real-life stories about happiness, but is not afraid to touch on societal issues, while at the same time putting smiles on people’s faces,” says a spokesman.

“For this show we are preparing a nice balance between jazz standards and original material. People can also expect calming acoustic sounds” adds Sibisi.

Mbijana Sibisi… Ballito gig.

Sibisi is a qualified Dental Nurse and Dental Technician, based in Newlands West, Durban. He was exposed to music and performing arts at the age of 11 when he joined a performing arts group in his community.

In 2013, at the age of 22, he gave up his job as a dental technician to become a full-time musician and singer-songwriter.

He has since performed at the White Mountain Music Festival, The Playhouse, Ushaka Marine World and at Poetry Africa.  He also has performed in Belgium, France, Spain, Uganda and The Reunion Islands.

In 2016 Sibisi entered the television contest,  The Voice, and in the same year he independently released his EP, History. He is now working on a full album which he plans to release next year.

Admission to the Ballito gig is R50. To book, email 


GUITARIST Seb Goldswain will open for the Ballito concert on Sunday afternoon (September 29) at  the Sugar Rush
Park in Ballito – a concert headlined by  Arno Carstens and Ard Matthews.

With a combined musical expertise that spans 35 years, both Carstens and Matthews will bring their unique sounds to the grassy lawns of Sugar Rush Park, in what is anticipated to be a sold-out show.

Arno Carstens.

“As tickets are quickly selling out to our fourth and final concert for 2017, we really feel like we have delivered on our promise to offer locals the very best family entertainment right in their very own back yard,” says Marriott Ballito Beats Series director Stu Berry.

“We’ve witnessed as the interest has grown with each show; a clear indication that North Coast locals are eager for the opportunity to spend time outdoors with family and friends, enjoying picnics, catching up and singing along to some of the greatest musical talent South Africa has to offer.”

Book via or at the Ballito Junction PnP money desk. Tickets are limited to 2 000. Tickets cost R130 (R50 for children aged five to 12,  free for undeer-fices).

Gates open at 1pm and ticket-holders are welcome to take along camping chairs and picnic blankets to make the most of the beautiful setting at Sugar Rush Park. Food and beverages can also be bought on site. Note that no beverages will be allowed onto site.


DURBAN band The Reals present their acclaimed Tribute to Dire Straits at 8pm on Saturday (October 28) at Trevorton College, Mooi River.

The production features singer-guitarist Barry Thomson, bassist Jason Andrew, drummer Mali Sewell, keyboardist and musical director Dawn Selby, and guest guitarist Shaun Dragt.

This fine show features such hits as Brothers in Arms’ Walk of Life, Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet, Tunnel of Love, Private Investigations and Money for Nothing.

Tickets cost R120 each. Contact 083 604 3783 to book and for directions.


IF YOU are after a sundowner and some good music, varied sounds to wash away the Monday blues each week, consider popping in at Durban’s Berea Bowling Club, on the corner of Brand Road and Ferguson Road, every Monday.

Mark Hunt.

People can attend and play bowls from 4pm (they have floodlights) There will be members in attendance to assist anyone new to playing bowls. They also have bowls available. The music, by different acts each week, flows from 6pm to about 9pm.

A full bar is available and food can be bought at the venue.

This Monday (October 30), the attraction is singer and guitarist Mark Hunt.The cost is R50 for the music, which includes the bowls (you don’t have to play if you don’t want to). If you require any further information call 082 499 8636.


THE Monday Big Band led by George Mari and Burton Naidoo is performing at KuDTa, on Durban’s Wilson’s Wharf, from 5.30pm to 7.3opm every Monday. More good news is that entrance is free.

The weekly big band gathering showcases the city’s swinging talent and provides an opportunity for a regular big band night – something new for Durban.

It feature a 13-piece line-up of Durban-based jazz musicians –  including Burton Naidoo (piano) Llewellyn Chetty (bass), Riley Giandhari (drums), Debbie Mari (vocals), Thabo Sikakhane, Phuti Mofokeng and George Mari (trumpets), Salim Washington, Mxolisi Mdlalose, Tim Lewis (saxophones), Kgetsi Mokgetsi, Siyalo Khumalo (trombones) and Tseleng Mokatla (flute).

The Monday Big Band will perform a wide range of repertoire including Little Sunflower, Doxy, Jive Samba, Lullabye of Birdland, South African standards and original compositions by various band members.

With occasional changes in personnel, The Monday Big Band will feature guest musicians every so often. This week ace Durban guitarist Gerald Sloane will be sitting in with the band.



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