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GRAHAMASTOWN – MUSIC (article first published : 1999-06-27)

In 1998 Mahube - an innovative and exciting musical event - was the toast of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival. This year Steve Dyer returns to Grahamstown with another experimental group - New Directions in South African Music.

The idea behind New Directions is what Dyer describes as the 'improvised tradition'. Drawn from a wide variety of styles and disciplines, the musicians involved have not had much contact with or influence over each other. They will all contribute their own tunes that will be re-arranged by the group as a whole.

New Directions consists of six talented entertainers whose backgrounds are as rich and diverse as their musical styles. Among them is Steve Dyer who is not only the inspiration behind the concept of the show but also the musical director and woodwind instrumentalist. Pianist Paul Hanmer's playing appeals to all sectors of South African society and University of Natal music lecturer George Mari’s style of play brings a dose of 'ubuntu' to the project.

Tendai Mataure is a drummer with a distinct and mature style who plays in Oliver Mtukudzi's band, Menyatso Mathole (Sakhile) is one of South Africa's finest guitarists and Cape Town bassist Marc Duby has a love of jazz that runs deep and true.

New Directions is as important for South African music as it is exciting. Although there are many great performers and players in this country, Dyer believes there is a dearth of truly innovative composers. This show will focus on young composers who are familiar but also open to exploring and incorporating other sounds into their work. Dyer states "We will at all times be challenged and guided by the title of the show."


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