Posts in "Music"

The bohemians of District Six

Another re-imagining of a classic opera? Hmm, I am not sure. “La Bohème with a South African twist”: Giacomo Puccini’s classic set in District Six … okay, I will be there … I am a gambling woman after all, and hope is always the last thing to go.

I am not ashamed to say that I always feel a little flush of nerves when I hear the words “opera … with a twist”. Not (only) because I am a crusty old traditionalist, but because I want so badly for it to work. And it never quite lives up to its promise, always feeling like a bit of a compromise.


Blowing those preconceived ideas away: Given Nkosi as Rodolfo and Amanda Osorio as Mimi

Before this, it always seemed that there was something about opera, whether tackling the most sinister of power games or even the sweetest of seductions, that demanded more than a nod to tradition.

Africa Arts’ production of La Bohème in District Six blows that apart quite spectacularly. What a perfect fit this beautiful, tragic story is for the bohemians of District Six. How lovely that nothing seems lost in translation. In fact, there is nothing at all missing in this show set among a community that is.

It seems very poignant that, like Jo’burg’s Sophiatown, District Six’s artistic legacy keeps on delivering 50 years after the bulldozers ploughed through it.


Wow, we have got some opera stars in our midst!

The show also confirmed the abundance of talent on these shores – there are at least six sensational opera singers in our little village!

Ululating in unison seemed a perfect response to this glorious storytelling.

One last performance is on Sunday May 1 at 3.30pm. Tickets available at Computicket.

A little birdie whispered in my ear that Africa Arts is going to wave their magic operatic wand over Nicholas Spagnoletti’s London Road next … Watch this space.

Killing it at the Jazz Fest

Manenbergs   The Elsies River High School band absolutely killed it on Saturday evening at the the 17th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival. When I say absolutely killed it I don’t mean that in a traditional Cape Flats kind of way. I mean they were sensational!

And these youngsters from the toughest of neighbourhoods, where gangsterism is a more popular choice than jazz, don’t have any formal training at all. They don’t even have a music department at their school. What they have is passion and truckloads of natural talent.

Listening to these youngsters absolutely “killing it”on the Menenbergs stage made me think, this is what makes South Africa great! You never have to look far for inspiration.
singersDoing covers of songs by a galaxy of local stars from Jonathan Butler and PJ Powers to Mafikizolo, who were due on stage later on Saturday evening, the Elsies River High School band provided the perfect start to day two of the Jazz Fest.
Expect to see the name Dehanre Kiewiets up in lights before too long! The 17-year-old lead vocalist brought a young Whitney Houston to mind. What a stunner!

Mafikizolo to melt the snow in Davos


Brand SA and some other less-well-known brands set out their stalls in Davos this week for the WEF16

mafikizolo - CopySouth Africa’s Mafikizolo will be melting the snow in the Swiss town of Davos on Saturday night when they appear at the closing ceremony of the 2016 World Economic Forum.

The South African duo, Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza, were asked to perform in Davos after their sizzling performance at the WEF Africa meeting in Cape Town in June 2015.  

The band, known for fusing afro pop, kwela and marabi with the occasional nod to trance and house, have included some elements of blues and swing in their latest album.

I hope they don’t cause an avalanche!