Ultimate SA song medley

Some of the 50 young singers who contributed to The Ultimate South African Song Medley.


TWENTY-EIGHT classic South African songs from the past 50 years, associated with music icons across diverse genres, have been woven into a seamless medley by music arranger Bryan Schimmel, and performed by 50 singers, as a salute to health workers engaged in the fight against the Coronavirus.

The Ultimate South African Song Medley is performed by 50 students and alumni from Stageworx Performing Arts School in Johannesburg and was created to thank healthcare professionals and other essential workers

The young South African artists have united, in their individual homes and via technology, during #LockDown, to record The Ultimate South African Song Medley as a ‘thank you’ to those putting their lives at risk on a daily basis, says a spokesman.

Bryan Schimmel, award-winning musical director. Picture from his Facebook page.

Adcock Ingram OTC’s Sponsors of Brave Campaign, in association with Stageworx Performing Arts School, released a video of The Ultimate South African Song Medley to not only thank our “heroes who don’t wear capes”, but to uplift the nation through local music.

Music from Brenda Fassie to Kurt Darren, Mandoza to PJ Powers, Yvonne Chaka Chaka to The Parlotones, Miriam Makheba to Four Jacks and a Jill, Sonja Herholdt to Mafikozolo, to name but a few – all are included to showcase the rich musical culture of South Africa.

Says Schimmel, an acclaimed theatre personality and music arranger, of the medley; “It’s very nostalgic. It gives people that ‘oh-wow-I-forgot-about-that-song’ feeling. It introduces the youth of today to the wealth and heritage of great South African music that was produced long before they were even born. The result is a multi-cultural and cross-generational musical celebration.”

Gemma Marinus, director of Stageworx Performing Arts School, explains the procedure of putting this video together: “The brief was sent out to about 160 of our students (current and alumni), including some students that have already made a name for themselves in the arts industry – such as John Tsenoli, Phil Higgins, Yahto Kraft and Marianthe Panas.”

She continues: “Everyone jumped at the chance to be part of the project. All our students were sent harmonies and certain lead lines that they had to record at home on their cell phones and we were sent back all the recordings.

“From there, Matthew Marinus mixed all the vocal recordings and we sent back for everyone to record their videos (again on their cellphones). It was incredible to see the level of enthusiasm and talent that was sent through to us.

“It is incredible how music and the arts is a complete leveller –  it doesn’t matter if our students are from affluent or underprivileged backgrounds, when they walk into class, no-one is better than the next and everyone is there for their passion.

The Ultimate South African Song Medley has been a performance piece that is much loved by our Stageworx students. One thing is for sure, we will be keeping our students busy during the lockdown with already-planned online classes, workshops and more exciting projects.

“and the arts is the one thing that will help every South African emotionally through these challenging times ahead, and it should never be underestimated. “



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