Sound Advice (Oct 10-16)

Performance poet Lara Kirsten performs at Music in the Hills (MiTH) in Hilton on October 10. Picture by Gary van Wyk.

BILLY SUTER with his weekly Gig Guide for in and around Durban. Highlights this week include a Bruce Springsteen tribute in Kloof, a Neil Diamond tribute in Umbilo and a campus vocal showcase for charity.

OF NOTE in The Midands this week is the next fortnightly music gathering at the Music in the Hills (MiTH) event in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton. Scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, the event will see doors open at 6pm and the music start at 7 pm. Admission is R30 at the door.

On October 10 it will feature pianist and performance poet Lara Kirsten as headliner at 9pm. Lara received her BMus and BMus Honours degrees (both cum laude) respectively in 2001 and 2005, at the University of Pretoria. In 1998 she received the Piano Grade 8 certificate from Unisa with distinction.

In 1999 she was awarded a Samro bursary for undergraduate students and received the Advanced Certificate for Piano from The Royal Schools of Music. In 2002 she received her chamber music licentiate from Unisa.

She was appointed junior lecturer at the University of Pretoria where she taught piano from 2003 to 2005. From the end of 2005 to 2008 she went on tour with the improvising cellist Francois le Roux over the roads of SA, Europe and the US.

For the past decade Lara has been active as both a solo and chamber musician. She is now based in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal from where she travels with her concert tours. She also teaches piano from her home.

As performance poet Lara balances the strict discipline of the art music with the writing and performance of her own poetry in Afrikaans and English.

St John Haw, a psychologist, and Tanya Nicolson, an actress and restaurateur, will perform from 8pm pon October 10. St John & Tanya, as they are billed, are an emotive vocal-piano ensemble with jazz and blues influences.

Auburn Sound will start the evening’s fun next Wednesday. It is a trio that comprises Robyn Hunt on lead vocals, Mark Hunt on vocals and acoustic guitar, and Tristen Gwynn on bass. They play mostly covers of popular songs from various genres.

MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. Visitors may take their your own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale. Musicians who want to play at MiTH, should call Charles Webster (082 331 7271) or Doug Borain (072 340 7034).


A TREAT out Kloof way at 7.30pm on Wednesday. October 10, is the Rhumbelow Theatre presentation, at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road, of a tribute to Bruce Springsteen by The Black Lapels’ Rob Warren and The Kickstands’ Gary Nixon.

Rob Warren ,who joins Gary Nixon to salute Bruce Springsteen.

The Music of Bruce Springsteen is also scheduled to be presented at 7.30pm on Wednesdays October 17 and 24 at the Rhumbelow Theatre’s branch in Cunningham Road, Umbilo.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with cards) and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

Also note that at 8pm this Friday and Saturday (October 12 and 13), and also at 2pm on Sunday (October 14), Durban’s Richard Haslop, Will Wallace and Mike Rafferty will present Crimes of Freedom at Tina’s in Kloof.

Multi-instrumentalist Haslop, veteran bluesman Wallace and folk musician Raftery will present “songs of protest, persuasion and politics”.

Performing with seven instruments – acoustic and electric guitars, dobro, mandolin, resonator, weissenborn and bouzouki –  this unique trio will present powerful songs, associated with everyone from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, to some that just have to be heard, ranging from the 1700’s Jacobite rebellions to today’s Brexit headlines.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with cards) and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.


A VOCAL showcase for charity is being presented from 6pm on Wednesday, October 10, at The Centre for Jazz and Popular music on the second level of the Shepstone Building on the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Durban campus.

Billed as Singing For 67 Blankets, the event will include a varied programme of opera, classical voice, popular music, jazz, isicathamiya and solo and ensemble singing.

This concert not only provides a platform to showcase talented, diverse musicians in the School of Arts, it also provides an opportunity to make a contribution to the national charity.  67 Blankets.

Singers have contributed in various ways, including knitting squares or whole blankets for the good cause, and, of course, their performances, for the 67 Blankets campaign. The blankets will be presented to charity representatives at the concert before being distributed to people and communities in need across the city.

Anthony Stonier

The concert will include close-harmony jazz vocal group UKZN Voices under the direction of Debbie Mari; the Pop Voice Ensemble led by Durban theatre personality Anthony Stonier, Opera soloists Wayne Mkhize, Khulekani Miya, Margaret Mfayela and Bulelwa Msane; and jazz vocalists Menzi Cele, Lwazi Khuzwayo, Nolwazi Dlamini, Nomfundo Cele and Josie Matabola.

Also on the bill are pop singers Nobuhle Khuzwayo, Tony Hlangu, Nhlanhla Mthethwa, Nomcebo Luthuli and Minenhle Skhosana; the UKZN Opera Ensemble directed by Lionel Mkhwanazi and the UKZN AMD Isicathamiya Ensemble directed by Nu Luthuli.

“You can expect to hear jazz standards such as I Could Write A Book, In a Mellow Tone and Doxy; pop favourites I’ll Rise Up and Have You Ever; opera classics including Habanera and Giuseppe Verdi’s Bella Figlia Dell Amore alongside South African compositions Mme le ntat,e and eThekwini by the late Andile Mseleku,” says a spokesman.

There will be CD giveaways and Popup Society vouchers up for grabs.

Doors open at 5.30pm and admission is R80 ( R50 for pensioners and R25 for students). For more information call Thuli at (031) 260 3385.


IF YOU are a Neil Diamond fan, do not miss Durban band The Reals’ Hot August Night, at the Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (October 12 and 13) and 2pm on Sunday (October 14), and again at these times from October 19 to 21. The show will also run at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof from October 24 to 28.

Paying respect to the music of this legendary artist are Barry Thomson on guitar and vocals, musical director Dawn Selby on keyboards and vocals, Mali Sewell on drums and vocals and Jason Andrew on bass guitar and vocals.

Included in the show’s repertoire are Cracklin’ Rosie, Song Sung Blue, Longfellow Serenade, Desiree, You Don’t Bring Me Flower’, America, Heartlight, Sweet Caroline and I’m a Believer.

Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners and students with cards) and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636. For my full review click here:


THE University of KwaZulu-Natal’s African Music and Dance team is to present its 13th annual African Cultural Calabash at the Durban campus’s Howard College Theatre at 7.30pm on Friday, October 12.

Embracing the theme ‘Our Culture, Our Pride’, this year’s event sees a line-up of KZN-born artists performing various music and dance traditions, showcasing African creativity.

Eshowe-born Mbuso Khoza.

UKZN AMD Ensemble students will open the concert with a vibrant percussion piece, to welcome guests with an African feel. Eshowe-born Mbuso Khoza will begin with a Kiswahili prayer chant to connect with African spirits followed by Amahubo repertoire with the KZN Heritage Ensemble.

Next will be KZN maskandi singer-guitarist and other acts including the group Thee Legacy and Amaphikankani, a male-only hostel group from KwaMashu.

It wouldn’t be an African Cultural Calabash extravaganza without the taste of African cuisine including Kenyan Pilau Sukuma wiki, samp, tripe, isigwaqane, nhloko, steamed bread, breyani and a variety of vegetarian dishes and salads.

The cost for the meal and entertainment is R80 (R50 student concessions). Phone Thulile at (031) 260 3385 for more details.


THE Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino is presenting the colourful A Rocking World Tour November 4.

Showcasing a vibrant parade of chart-topping hits from across the globe, A Rocking World Tour opens with a visit to Australasia, where the talented cast pay homage to the great bands and singers that rocked Down Under – from rockers AC/DC and Midnight Oil to the irresistible Kylie Minogue.  From there, they spin the globe and get caught up in an Asian adventure, with a colourful fusion of high-energy Bhangra and Bollywood hits.

The next stop is the world’s party capital, Europe, where the singers and musicians pay tribute to Sweden’s Roxette and Abba, Norway’s A-Ha, France’s Gipsy Kings and Daft Punk, Italy’s Eiffel 65 and Germany’s Boney M, before jetting off to Britain to celebrate Queen.

The worldwide movement continues with the sultry sounds of Latino pop – Mexico’s Carlos Santana, and the cheerful Jamaican jams of Bob Marley. From there, the team bellydance their way through to South America, the only place where hips don’t lie, to the sounds of pop princess Shakira.

A scene from A Rocking World Tour at The Rockwood Theatre at Sibaya Casino.

Among other acts whose music features in the show are Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Freshlyground, Brenda Fassie, Mandoza and PJ Powers.

The cast includes singers Aimee Rain, Christina Jenkins, Jemma Shankland, Jean Citto Kieran Rennie).

The band consists of Barry Thomson of The Reals on lead guitar (to be replaced next week by former Tree63 guitarist John Ellis), Lloyd de Gier on bass, Dillan Kanny on drums and Shemuel Mahebeer on keyboards.

The theatre opens at 6.30pm – meals are on sale at the venue – with the show commencing at 8pm Thursdays to Saturdays. Tickets cost only R99 each on Thursdays, and R130 each for other performances, but half price for pensioners at the 2pm Sunday matinee performances, when under-12s get in free.

My full review of the show by clicking here;


LOOKING ahead… note that after 14 years and a few varied venues along the way, the “new look” Durban International Blues Festival returns to Zacks restaurant at Wilson’s Wharf from 7pm to 11pm nightly, from November 1 to 3.

This year’s line-up is tight, concentrating on the demand to showcase more of South Africa’s own blues talent, both local and national.

With good food and drinks from Zack’s and their neighbours, Julio’s, live music and a family atmosphere, throw in the ever popular auction for a guitar, this year’s festival is not one to be missed.
Unreserved tickets can be bought at Computicket (R150 each)  and limited tickets available at the box-office will cost R160 each.


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