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AWESOME AFRICA MUSIC FESTIVAL (article first published : 2000-09-19)

As anxious organisers keep an eye on the weather forecast for the coming weekend, the spirits of music lovers are unlikely to be dampened by rain to stop them attending The Awesome Africa Music Festival. This takes place at the Shongweni Resources Reserve, KZN from September 22 to 25.

Any one of the 7,000 people who attended the inaugural Festival of Living Treasures: Shongweni last year which formed part of the Durban Metro millennium celebrations will long remember the experience of listening to great music amid superb surroundings to the background of the water rushing over the Shonweni dam wall. Audiences at one of the stages nestling against the majestic wall could not fail to forget the sight of the moonlight dramatically etching the wall’s historic tower.

The 2001 event is once again set to present a multi-dimensional, international celebration of music, art, dance and theatre in this glorious natural environment. Musicians are flying in from all over the world to take part in what promises to be an exciting and informative display of musical styles.

Well-known percussionist Dan Chiorboli is responsible for the festival’s artistic content. Among the performers to look out for this year are global pop diva Angelique Kidjo who links African traditional rhythms to catchy pop songs; the exotic Cheikh Lo’ from Senegal; Samite from Uganda who performs a range of music from Central Africa, and acclaimed masters of the 24 stringed Hindustani slide guitar, Debashish and Subashish Bhattacharaya from India.

From closer to home the line-up includes respected legends Hugh Masekela and Busi Mhlongo. It also sees the reunion of veteran SA rock greats The Flames featuring Blondie Chaplin, Ricky and Steve Fataar, super-guitarist Jimmy Dludlu and a session of moonlit African Renassiance Poetry led by Prof Pitika Ntuli.

Last year, the festival was known for its innovative international cross-cultural collaborations. Again watershed musicians from all over the globe team up on stage for some awesome musical variations. Some of the interesting combinations this year feature Ohm with Australians Colin Offord and Matthew Doyle; high-energy Celtic rock (Italian-style) Modena City Ramblers with local New Age acoustic greats Landscape Prayers, and the Asian/Pacific/Indian Ocean Project featuring a myriad of respected artists from across the seas including Bob Brozman and Takashi Hirayasu. There will be a Kwaito Fusion Party featuring international guests and invited DJs. International musicians will perform with local choral groups and children’s choirs.

A special tribute to KZN musical legends will be presented by Mayor Obed Mlaba’s with his Musical Excellence Awards which will feature the likes of Blondie Chaplin, Ricky Fataar, Steve Fataar, Sipho Gumede, Roger Lucey, Madala Kunene, Vusi Ximba and Neill Solomon.

Tickets R45 per day from TicketWeb




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