Music into the new year

Pianist and composer Lindi Ngonelo is scheduled for three KwaZulu-Natal performances. Picture by Lindo Mbhele.


IF YOU are in Durban and seeking a fun way to ring out this year and welcome 2019, consider a trip to the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road, Kloof, where singer-guitarist Barry Thomson and friends are performing until December 31.

With Dawn Selby on keyboards and vocals, Andy Turrell on bass, Adrian Wilson on drums and Marion Loudon on vocals and percussion, the show features highlights from productions Barry’s band, The Reals, have performed during the year. Expect hit songs from Fleetwood Mac, Woodstock icons, Dire Straits, Bad Company, Neil Diamond and more.

Performances are at 8pm Friday to Sunday, then 2pm on Sunday and 9pm on Monday (New Year’s Eve). Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at 082 499 8636.

Also note that pianist and composer Lindi Ngonelo will entertain with her band at three venues soon – Seaman’s Corner, Unit 3, Hammarsdale, from 6pm on Saturday, December 29 (admission R30);  at KwaMashu’s Artizen Lounge from 5pm on Sunday, December 30 (admission R150); and the Luthuli Museum in Groutville from 6pm on Friday, January 4 (admission R30).

Barry Thomson performs with friends in Kloof from December 27 to 31.

These concerts will be presented in association with Concerts SA, Seaman’s Corner, Artizen Lounge, Luthuli Museum and iSupport Music Business.

Ngonelo will perform alongside Freeman Gumede on bass, Mxolisi Mdlalose on sax, Siyanda Zulu on trumpet and Sbu Zondi on drums.

Ngonelo holds a Bachelor of Practical Music Degree from the University of Kwazulu-Natal as well as a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the University of Pretoria.

She is currently a music teacher at the East Rand School of the Arts in Benoni and was a music lecturer at the University of Kwazulu-Natal between 2012 and 2013.

Her performance background spans many years and a variety of genres of music including jazz, Afro-pop, gospel, funk and hip-hop. Her experience includes being pianist for household names such as Heels over Head, Tu Nokwe, Swazi Dlamini, Nomsa Mazwai and Brenda Mntambo.

Also on stage at Artizen in KwaMashu, onDecember 30, will be Phili Faya and her band. Faya is a recording artist and a song writer who sings pop, Afro-pop and deep Afro-soul music.

A reminder that the excellent two-hander, Woza, Albert, has final performances at Durban’s Playhouse Drama between December 27 and 30. Tickets cost R150 and are available at Computicket outlets or the Playhouse box-office at (031) 369 9540 / 369 9596 (office hours).

The production, starring Percy Mtwa and Mbongeni Ngema, who originated the roles of this 1980s classic, has simultaneously long been one of the country’s finest examples of protest theatre and a lustrous showcase for exemplary, imaginative acting.

Conceived, long workshopped and produced by Ngema and Mtwa, under the direction of the late Barney Simon, the production has gone on to play internationally and collect 20 awards globally.

Seeing it again almost four decades after its debut, this time under the fluid direction of Christopher John, the work remains as powerful as ever. Topical as ever too, as for all the changes in this beautiful land since Woza, Albert first stabbed with its satire, the revival underscores just how much has stayed the same.

Topics of racism, poverty and inequality – highlighted in the play via a number of everyday South African characters, all played by the hard-working Ngema and Mtwa – still, all these years later, blot South Africa’s progress, ensuring that Woza, Albert  remains relevant, biting and thought-provoking.

Woza, Albert is one of the highlights of my theatre-going year and is highly recommended. Read my full review by clicking here:

Still in Durban, note that if you do only one thing with the kids this festival season make sure it is to visit the historic Botanic Gardens for the second annual Trail of Lights, a spectacular display of festive lighting.

Tickets cost only R50 a head online and it is real value for money – and profits go to various charities.

The Trail of Lights spectacle at Durban’s Botanic Gardens is a must-see.

Trail of Lights involves the gardens being illuminated with thousands of coloured lights, as well as special costumed characters and features such as Santa in his Sleigh, a large Talking Tree, an ice-blue castle, a fairy nook and the like.

An initiative in support of various charities, the event was a great success last year, so the organisers have decided to extend the run for 2018. Trail of Lights opened on December 14 and will be available from 6.30pm to 9.30pm nightly, until December 30.

Besides a number of illuminated attractions – including many rows of tree trunks in different sparkling hues, angels, swans, giant paper butterflies, candy canes with bows and signs; signs saying Joy, Peace and Love, and even a collection of Zulu shields – the event also features live music daily at the park’s lake area.

The music flows from 7.30pm to 8.30pm – and includes not only piped carols but also performances by solo artists dotted around the park.

For my full review and many other pictures from the event click here:

A reminder that another big Durban treat for children this year is Cinderella, the 14th pantomime by the KickstArt theatre company.

The show, which runs until January 6 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, is as much a bumper delight as one could anticipate. Richly embroidered with fresh topicality in song choices, nudge-winks and performances, it is a giddy, glossy, glittering and gorgeous show from the Durban duo with the Midas touch – award-winning writer-director Steven Stead and designer Greg King.

It boasts an attractive and talented cast, some splendid voices, uniformally good lighting from Tina le Roux and spectacular sets from King that incorporate the most camp and cute statues and cherubs on stairways and pillars.

Ticket prices for Cinderella range from R140 to R240 each. Booking is at Computicket outlets. Oh, and note that the theatre has its own generator so loadshedding should pose no problems.

For my full review of the show click here:

On the movie scene, among films new in cinemas countrywide this weekend is Robin Hood, directed by Otto Bathurst and starring Jamie Foxx, Taron Egerton and Ben Mendelsohn.

It’s about a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mounting an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, fight choreography and a timeless romance.

Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx in the new-look Robin Hood, in cinemas from December 28.


One thought on “Music into the new year

  1. I have already endorsed ‘Cinderella’. I can add to that by affirming that the ‘Trail of Lights’ is a brilliant spectacle for all the family, and not to be missed by anyone able to get there.
    Oh no, not ANOTHER Robin Hood! All these sequels and remakes are really boring.


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