Katz & Wanda 25th anniversary tour

Nonhlanhla Wanda and Sharon Katz … in Durban as part of a 25th anniversary South African tour.

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BY BILLY SUTER

DURBAN’S Moyo restaurant at Ushaka Marine World on the beachfront is the place to be on Saturday for a performance by Sharon Katz and Nonhlanhla Wanda, who will perform with a full band.

This concert forms part of the duo’s South African tour which started in Johannesburg on February 9.

The number to call for dinner reservations and other information related to the Durban gig is (031) 332 0606.

After Durban, Katz and Wanda will perform on February 22 at Cafe Roux, Noordhoek, Cape Town. Tickets for this gig cost R130 each, and to book one should ring (021) 789 2538.

On February 24, the duo will entertain at Alma Café in Cape Town – more details at (021) 685 7322 – and you will catch them on March 1 at Queenstown Hotel, Queenstown, in concert with the Mlungisi Gegana Quartet. Tickets for this event, a benefit for the Mlungisi Music Academy, can be booked by phoning 072 514 9480.

The last concert is scheduled for March 2 in East London, at a venue still to be confirmed,

Musician/humanitarian Sharon is originally from Port Elizabeth, while singer and teacher Nonhlanhla is from Durban. With the current tour, they mark their 25th year of creating music together and touring.

This tour revisits cities that Sharon, Nonhlanhla, and the Peace Train visited just over 25 years ago in South Africa. Sharon remembers that as a bonding time with everyone living together on the Peace Train, “as an experiment that for the first time in our history we could live and travel together as a multiracial group across the country”/

She adds: “Nonhlanha and I, from opposite sides of the race divide, were able to achieve that as musicians and activists. We had 100 singers and a 12-piece band,  plus crew and parents as chaperones, a TV crew and invited Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join us.”

The international performers recorded their current album, Side-By-Side, with producer Malcolm Nhleko of Maltre Studios.

The Afro-jazz-contemporary fusion album features all-original compositions by Nonhlanhla and Sharon, and showcases their distinctive voices alongside the instrumental virtuosity of Sharon on guitar, Qhubekani Mthethwa on bass, Charles Boykie Mnomiya on drums and Sanele Phakathi on piano and synthesizer.

Sharon and Nonhlanhla are also the subjects of the multiple-award winning film, When Voices Meet. It documents the role of The Peace Train in creating South Africa’s first, 500-voice multiracial youth choir in KwaZulu-Natal in 1993.

The film also documents The Peace Train’s groundbreaking concert tour across the country in support of the first democratic elections; The Peace Train’s first tour of America after President Nelson Mandela was elected; and the longterm impact of the project as told by the participants 20 years later.

The film, which premiered at the Durban International Film Festival, has won awards at 30 film festivals around the world and been broadcast in 50 countries. John Kani and Abigail Kubeka are also featured in the movie.

In 2018 The Peace Train initiated a multi-national project called “Transcending Barriers” which is designed to foster peaceful relationships between the countries of Mexico, Cuba, South Africa and the US.

In June this year, Katz will perform with 2 000 children in Tijuana, Mexico, and in November she will present a full production featuring Cuban, South African, American and Mexican children at the 33rd International Choir Festival in Santiago de Cuba.

The duo contributes proceeds from their concerts and CD sales toward social development projects in South Africa, including supporting a children’s home, bursaries for orphans, after-school cultural programmes, and therapeutic music projects across the country.

In addition to their own CDs, the group has recorded on the Carnival! album with Sting, Tina Turner, Elton John and Madonna. It has also recorded with Dolly Rathebe and Abigail Kubeka.


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