Ready to roll on the music scene

Durban singer, songwriter and guitarist Rowan Stuart performs in Hilton on September  30. Booking is essential.


THE popular Music in the Hills (MiTH) gatherings in a barn at the Knoll Farm in Hilton are back – but, in keeping with Coronavirus restrictions, an audience limit of 50 applies, making booking essential for the next event, on Wednesday, September 30.

Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event which will showcase the talents of Rowan Stuart from 8pm after a 7pm by Grace Botha. Tickets cost R100 each and booking is by phoning Charles Webster at 082 331 7271 or clicking here:

Rowan Stuart, a firm MiTH favourite, is a South African singer-songwriter-guitarist celebrating the recent release of his sixth studio album, A Map of Forever.

“With an Alternative Folk sound that recalls Sting’s imagination, James Blunt’s honesty and John Mayer’s command of the electric and acoustic guitar, Rowan has steadily built a reputation as a captivating storyteller and an accomplished musician,” says a MiTH spokesman.

The Durbanite began playing guitar at the age of 11 and became a sought-after session musician in theatre shows around South Africa, before taking a leap of faith and stepping into the spotlight as a lead vocalist, with the release of his first solo album, A Thousand Brand New Places, in 2008.

Since then, he has toured South Africa regularly, and his music has received heavy rotation on major radio stations countrywide, most notably with singles Survivors, Silver Balloon and The Kingdom of Leaves.

A Map of Forever was written and self-produced by Stuart, who chose a natural approach, favouring acoustic instruments and the ‘human’ element over synths, electronic production and precise, mechanical timing. The songs and lyrics are also among his most personal and autobiographical to date.

He has released music videos for four songs from the album; Into The Heart of Life, Sense of Touch, Sacred Rhythm and Sleepwalking.

Grace Botha is a singer-songwriter and pianist with a passion for amalgamating jazz, pop and folk. She majored in Jazz and Popular Voice at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban and was a soloist with close-harmony group, The UKZN Voices. She won the Amsterdam Acoustic Artist challenge in 2012, was runner-up in the Gateway to Fame competition in 2013 and opened for the SAIFTA awards in a collab at the ICC Durban.

She has performed with several top artists, including Beatroute, Sebastian Goldswain and Majozi, and opened for Idols winner Jason Hartman.

Botha is an accomplished session artist and has delighted audiences at many different venues in Durban. She now resides in the KZN Midlands where she continues to pursue her music.

Still talking music, note that the Rhumbelow Theatre in Umbilo, Durban, has started up again with strict lockdown protocols and a limit of 50 in the audience. It will be featuring The Reals and Marion Loudon in their popular, annual Woodstock tribute show on October 2, 3 and 4, followed by Mark Banks’ Mark Banks on Ice standup comedy on October 9, 10 and 11.

The Reals have lined up revivals of their Woodstock tribute show and Rock Guitar Legends.

On October 16, 17 and 18, the Umbilo venue will turn the spotlight on a one-man show by singer-guitarist Rob Warren of The Black Lapels, who will be followed on October 23, 24 and 25 by an eagerly awaited new show paying tribute to Sting and Billy Joel (featuring John Ellis, Andy Turrell and Evan Cullum).

On November 6, 7 and 8, the Umbilo venue is scheduled to present The Reals in another of their earlier successes, Rock Guitar Legends, before the return of The Gee Jays vocal trio on November 13, 14 and 15. Singer-guitarist Barry Thomson’s Learning to Fly slots in on November 20, 21 and 22, and Swinging Sixties, teaming Marion Loudon and Dave Monks, will be staged on November 27, 28 and 29.

At the Pietermaritzburg Rhumbelow Theatre, at the Allan Wilson shellhole, The Reals’ Woodstock will be performed on October 11, followed by The Gee Jays’ Unlocked on October 25, The Reals’ Rock Guitar Legends on November 15 and Barry Thomson’s Learning to Fly on November 29.

For more information on these productions, as well as plans for the Durban North Rhumbelow Theatre at Northlands Bowling Club, ring Roland Stansell at 082 499 8636. Or mail him at

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