Sound Advice: Gigs (Mar 28-Apr 3)

Sibusiso Shababala, Phuti Mofokeng and Charles Mdakanae, of the band Iza Ngoma, perform in Hammarsdale on Saturday, March 31.

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BILLY SUTER with his weekly gig guide. Gigs in and around Durban include performances by Jonathan Roxmouth, Rowan Stuart and The Reals. Plus it is the Splashy Fen weekend. 
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AN AWARD-WINNING documentary feature film centred on music in South Africa, When Voices Meet, is to be shown  at Alliance Francaise in Durban’s Sutton Road, Morningside, at 6pm today (Wednesday, March 298).

They said it couldn’t – and shouldn’t – be done.  South Africa was in flames from political violence, and the apartheid government wasn’t willing to transition to a non-racial democracy.

Sharon Katz and Nonhlanhla Wanda of The Peace Train.

But as thousands lined the streets around Durban City Hall in 1993 to attend the original When Voices Meet concert with its 500-voice multicultural choir and band, the way forward became clear.

And when those courageous musicians were joined by Ladysmith Black Mambazo to take their message across the country aboard The Peace Train, there was no turning back.

What happened then, and what’s happening in the country now, are depicted in the compelling documentary,  When Voices Meet, starring Tony-award winning actor John Kani, Abigail Kubeka, Sharon Katz, Nonhlanhla Wanda and the cast of The Peace Train.

When Voices Meet is set at the time when Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison. South African musician and music therapist Sharon Katz joined with singer and educator Nonhlanhla Wanda to form a 500-voice multiracial choir to break through apartheid’s barriers.

Threatened with bombs and thwarted at every turn, they prevailed and railroaded across the country aboard The Peace Train.

Singing their way into the hearts, minds and soul of the divided country in the midst of a civil war,  they promoted a peaceful transition to democracy and went on to become Mandela’s face of the new nation by performing at special events in South Africa, Washington, DC and all across America.

When Voices Meet documents the trials, tribulations and triumphs of those musician activists and young choir members. They performed together for seven years and then reunited 20 years later to tell their stories and reflect upon The Peace Train’s impact.

It’s a joyful, inspiring story of hope and determination despite tremendous obstacles,” says a spokesman.

When Voices Meet was awarded Best Documentary Film, Best Original Soundtrack, Best Director, President’s Award and Audience Award in the US and received the MADA Award in Toronto.

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DURBAN singer, guitarist and songwriter Rowan Stuart had a special launch of his fifth studio album, Faraway (Deluxe), in his home city on March 23, but if you missed it you have another chance to catch him in action.

Stuart is the headliner at the next fortnightly Music in the Hills (MiTH) event, scheduled for today, Wednesday, March 28. The venue is a former barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Road, Hilton.

Stuart, who will entertain from 9pm as part of his national tour, has released a new single, Survivors, which is already receiving rave reviews and radio play across Southern Africa.

The performance will include material from Faraway (Deluxe), as well as a songs from Rowan’s previous albums. He will be joined by bassist Josh Engelbrecht. The evening will include performances by the trio Cravan at 7pm and Mbijana Sibisi (reminiscent of a young Vusi Mahlasela) at 8pm.

Rowan Stuart has previously collaborated with artists such as Tresor, Just Jinjer and Nibs van der Spuy, and has opened for many of South Africa’s top pop music acts.

Rowan Stuart…Hilton date.

His sound was motivated by a search for something deeper and more soulful within the landscape of modern pop music. Inspired by the rich storytelling of Sting, the intricate tapestry of African and World rhythms, and even the soundtracks to his favourite classic video games and movies, he learned that music was his best tool in sharing the inner worlds of his imagination with other people.

With his pure voice and virtuosic guitar playing as the vessels, Rowan sails through soundscapes both organic and electronic.

His single Silver Balloon, which played across South African radio in 2016 and 2017, hit the sweet spot with its modern production, yet lyrically, spoke of a fable involving the Earth and the Moon in an eternal dance.

The songs from his latest album tell tales of the complex and chaotic modern world from which the protagonists dream of places ancient and free.

With titles such as The Kingdom of Leave, An Island and Faraway, the songs encapsulate Rowan’s passion for creating music that is a sanctuary from the harshness of modern life. His latest single, Survivors, depicts a post-apocalyptic landscape where just one true ally can be a rare and priceless treasure.

MiTH is a semi-open-mic music club allowing musicians to share the joy of their music with a friendly audience which includes fellow musicians – who have all “been there” too. (Non-musicians welcome too!)

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.

Take your own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale.

Musicians who want to play at MiTH, should contact Charles Webster (082 331 7271) or Doug Borain (072 340 7034).

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ONE not to miss – the excellent Jonathan Roxmouth, the award-winning star of such great touring musicals as Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Sunset Boulevard, Beauty and the Beast, Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story – performs at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel, 14 Beryldene Road, Kloof, from Thursday, March 29, until Easter Monday.

Jonathan Roxmouth, king of SA musicals – in Kloof from Thursday to Easter Monday.

Accompanied by Durban pianist Evan Roberts, Roxmouth will perform at 8pm on Thursday, March 29, at 2pm on Friday, March 30; 8pm on Saturday March 31; and at 2pm on Sunday and Monday, April 1 and 2.

Also seen in such stage successes as Jeeves & Wooster, A Handful of Keys, Call Me Lee, Noël & Gertie, Topsy Turvy, Grease and Cats, Roxmouth will share favourite songs from the musicals.

“If you joined us for Stage by Stage with Jonathan, four years ago at Rhumbelow Durban, then you are in for a real treat,” says Rhumbelow Theatre manager Roland Stansell.

Seating is at tables of six at the Tina’s Hotel venue. Tickets cost R150 each and booking is by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

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ALL roads head for the hills from Thursday to Easter Monday, for this year’s Splashy Fen music festival.

More than 300 acts across five unique stages will be featured, among them Rubber DUC, Hot Water, Mango Groove, Napalma, Stone Palace, Perez, Prime Circle, Bowling for Soup, Veranda Panda, Ard Matthews, Matthew Mole, Pierce Brothers, Desmond and the Tutus and festival favourites, GoodLuck.

Also at the festival will be Crimson House, The Kickstands, Alex Cavan, Lindo M, Mike Wagner, Hayden Hack, Seb Goldswain, Qadasi, Jessica Martins and others.

Tickets are limited but still available at www.splashyfen.co.za.

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DURBAN singer Marion Loudon is among the cast of A Beautiful Noise at the Rockwood Theatre, Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga.

This show also features guitarist John Ellis (of Tree63), Andy Turrell on pedal-steel and second guitar, Anita Roscoe on violin, Dylan van der Linde on drums, Llewelyn Chetty on bass and the only musician not from Durban, Lifa Arosi, on keyboards.

A tribute to iconic country, folk and acoustic rock artists, A Beautiful Noise will run until April 1. Expect songs associated with Ed Sheeran, Adele, Jason Mraz, The Lumineers, Neil Diamond, The Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash, Rodriguez, Dolly Parton,  Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mumford and  Sons, Shania Twain and others. To book call (031) 161 0000. (BS)

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CONCERTS SA, Seaman’s Corner and iSupport Music Business present the band Iza Ngoma at Seaman’s Corner, Hammarsdale, from 7pm on Saturday, Admission will be R30.   

“The audience can expect bliss and a sense of cognitive restoration, some storytelling, musical information and some compelling ideologies, which will send them back home with a broader perspective of modern civilization. Overall an intriguing sonic journey.” says pianist Sibusiso Shabalala, whose fellow band members are bassist Charles Mdakane and trumpeter Phuti Mofokeng

 The band started late in 2016 when the three then-UKZN music students spent hours in practice rooms unravelling, jamming, immersing themselves in mostly South African jazz, performing on campus.

 Lately the trio have started developing and composing their own music, influenced by HerbieTsoali, Themba Mkhize, Busi Mhlongo, Moses Molelekwa and Ndikho Xaba.

The sound is a mix of African jazz, kwaito and dance music, with thought-provoking lyrics in Zulu, Sesotho and English.

Joinging the group in Hammarsdale will be Hlubi Vakalisa Jele on saxophone and Zolani Rafuza on drums.

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LAST gasp… note that The Reals perform the popular Dire Straits tribute at 8pm on April 1 at the Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino, near Umhlanga. For bookings and optional dinner details, click here: https://www.rockwoodtheatre.co.za/Durban/show.aspx?show=86

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