Sound Advice: KZN gigs (Mar 20-26)

Guitarist Seb Goldswain is a member of the KZN All Star Band.

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BY BILLY SUTER

JAZZ reigns supreme from 6pm today  (Wednesday, March 20) 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.

The spotlight will be on the KZN All Stars Band, Durban’s premier professional big band  led by Duncan Wooldridge andcomposed entirely of professional jazz and session musicians in KwaZulu-Natal.

The band performs the full complement of styles and genres, from the 1920s through to modern jazz and beyond. Expect classic swing band favourites and hits associated with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin,Bobby Darin, Michael Bubble, Robbie Williams and Harry Connick Jnr.

The abdn also nods to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Pharell Williams, Earth Wind and Fire and Bruno Mars.

Some of the prominent members include Seb Goldswain on guitar, Andreas Kappen on bass, Melvin Peters on piano and Salim Washington on drums.

Admission is R80 (R50 for pensioners and R25 for students). Doors open at 5.30pm. Phone Thulile at (031) 260 3385 for more details.

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SIBONGILE Gwacela, a bassist, originally from Durban, who studied jazz at Tshwane University of Technology and is currently mentored by Grammy-winning bassist Victor Wooten, performs at Durban’s Jazzy Rainbow on Friday, March 22.

Bassist Sibongile Gwacela

She will entertain from 7pm at the venue at 93 Smiso Nkwanyana Road, Morningside. Admission is R100 and bookings can be made by phoning
(031) 303 8398.

Part of the Concerts SA Venue Circuit which aims to foster a love and support for live music in our communities, the concert will feature Gwacela bakced by Lungelo Ncobo on piano, Bucco Xaba on drums and Thabo Sikhakane on trumpet. She will perform standards and her own compositions within the jazz genre.

Gwacela’s musical carrier began at Macufe Jazz Festival, when she opened for the late Busi Mhlongo, Letta Mbuli and Thandiswa Mazwayi. She has performed with Bishop Eddie Long, 12 Tenors (US), Brian Carson (Whitney Houston’s pianist), Basadi Women of Jazz, Sello Galane and Ntombi Ngcobo (from Amaponi).

She has performed at many local jazz festivals, as well as in Egypt, Algeria, Malaysia, Uganda and Indonesia.

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A REMINDER that 28 singers and 40 dancers have been assembled for an hour-long musical spectacle, This is Me: A Tribute to Musicals, to be presented at 7.30pm nightly, from March 25 to 28, at St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton.

The show by pupils is to launch and celebrate the newly built Theatre Centre at the private girls’ boarding school, says the school’s theatre director Lynn Chemaly, who has produced the spectacle.

Musical numbers featured in the production are from theatre and film, and include tributes to The Greatest Showman, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, Sarafina, Sister Act, Mulan, Anastasia, West Side Story, Victor Victoria, The King and I, Moulin Rouge and Wicked.

This is Me: A Tribute to Musicals has a production team that includes choreographer Tegan Peacock, voice training specialists Elsa and Riaan Oosthuizen, and musicians Anthea Hibbert, Andri Potgieter and Rudi Engelbrecht, who will provide the live accompaniment. The technical director is Marcus Henning.

“The numbers have been specifically chosen to expose our talented female voices, as well as for their musicality, theatricality and timeless relevance to making brave, individual choices in the face of conformity,” says Chemaly.

“We have also chosen a few unusual songs that do not generally make the cut in musical reviews, but thoroughly deserve the limelight!”

Tickets cost R70 each (R50 concessions). To book, or for more information about This Is Me: A Tribute to Musicals, mail twoodgate@stannes.co.za

The theatre and drama complex at St Anne’s has been built specifically to be a first-class educational facility for dramatic Arts teaching and training in theatre and performance, explains Chemaly.

“Girls often choose St Anne’s because of our drama, music, dance and theatre programmes. The premise under which we operate is that The Theatre is a practical laboratory for dramatic arts training, and thus all our theatre projects are directly linked to the dramatic arts curriculum, either in form, style or content. Our first priority focus is education and training.”

For my interview with Chemaly, who goes into detail about renovations for the Theatre Centre, click here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-4fF

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STILL in the Midlands… note that one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most acclaimed and successful guitarists, singers and songwriters, Rowan Stuart, will be the headline attraction at the next Music in the Hills (MiTH) event, held fortnightly in a barn at The Knoll Historic Guest Farm, Knoll Drive, Hilton.

The next event is on Wednesday, March 27. Doors will open at 6 pm and the music will flow an hour later. The entrance fee is R40 at the door.

Stuart, who will take to the MiTH stage at 9pm, is currently receiving much airplay with his new single, Fire, Water, following the success of his Survivor and Silver Balloon singles.

Rowan’s music was motivated by a search for something deeper and more soulful within the landscape of modern pop music. Ot has been said that he has a pure and effortless voice that recalls Thom York and Paul Simon, and a tastefully virtuosic command of the electric and acoustic guitar, reminiscent of John Mayer and Eric Johnson.

The Durbanite has multiple South African tours under his belt, and has previously collaborated with artists such as Tresor, Just Jinjer and Gangs of Ballet, and opened for many of South Africa’s top pop music acts.

Durban guitarist Rowan Stuart is the headliner at the Music in the Hills event in Hilton on Wednesday, March 27. Picture by Carryn Clicks.

The 8pm MiTH attraction on March 27 will be singer and acoustic guitarist Joshua Leon Strydom, who has played with Pietermaritzburg bands Now A Daze and has collaborated with Kaiti Faul and others. He will play originals and some unique covers of alternative rock from the 1990s.

The 7pm spotlight at MiTH will be filled by Evan Oosthuizen, whose acoustic style has been entertaining audiences for more than four years. He plays classic oldies, a few original songs, and has become one of the Midlands’ best-known itinerant musicians and gig promoters, doing good work to help build the local live music scene.

MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. It provides an opportunity for musicians to share the joy of their music with a friendly audience which includes fellow musicians. Non-musicians, of course, are welcome too.

Take along your own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale. For directions, or info on how to play at MiTH, contact mithbookings@gmail.com.

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LOVERS of flamenco music and dance have a treat lined up for 7pm on Saturday, March 23, when the Linda Vargas company performs at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music on the Durban campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The show, Latin Heat & Flamenco, will feature Vargas’s flamenco guitar master husband, Demi Fernandez, and their Spain-based dancer son, Ramon Fernandez, as special guests.

Flamenco, in its purist form. comprises three elements: dance (baile), singing (cante) and guitar (guitarra). Latin Heat & Flamenco features dancing by the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company.

Ramon will be accompanied by the true flamenco “cante” (singing) of internationally acclaimed performer Domingo Ortega. Domingo was born in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and his performance with Ramon is a coup for Durban audiences.

Domingo grew up surrounded by flamenco and is regarded as one of Spain’s finest performers. He has toured with his own company since 1995 and continues to perform in Spain as well as around the world in countries such as Italy, Japan, Venezuela, Israel, Russia and Senegal (where he has been named a citizen of honour). This will be his first performance as cantaor in South Africa.

Providing the music will be Demi Fernandez alongside Neil Gonsalves on piano and Martin Sigamoney (sax and flute) Bryan Stone (percussion) Riley Giandhari (drums) and Micale Maduray (bass).

Tickets for this show by the Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2018, cost R150 each and will only be on sale for cash at the door on the night of the performance – entrance will be on strictly first come first serve basis.

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IF YOU haven’t seen it yet, make a point of catching the new show by versatile band The Reals, Rock Guitar Legends, which is being staged in Kloof at 8pm every Friday and Saturday , and at 1.45pm on Sundays, until March 31. The venue is the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road.

Popular Durban band The Reals.

Rock Guitar Legends is a low-fuss but high-impact production that is special in that it marks the first show in many years from The Reals in which they are simply themselves – a good band in their own right.

There are no guest singers/musicians. There is minimal theatricality, neither props nor costumes, and no audio-visual aids. The team simply shine with good music, sheer professionalism and an unbridled passion for what they do.

The main spotlight is on singer-guitarist Barry Thomson working magic with four guitars, with excellent backing from Dawn Selby on keyboards, Mali Sewell on drum and Jason Andrew on bass.

Expect hits associated with Guns N’ Roses, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Queen, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, The Shadows and others. For my full review and booking details click here: https://wp.me/p8dL0W-4fR

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