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OVERSEAS ARTISTES AT NAF (article first published : 2003-06-16)

More than 25 foreign performers and musicians from eight different countries will take part in the 2003 National Arts Festival running in Grahamstown from June 27 to July 5.

France’s Eric de Sarria (of the renowned Philippe Genty Company) has created a street theatre piece with the feisty Kliptown Kids. His countryman Jean-Guy Lecat will give a Winter School lecture on the work of theatre magus Peter Brook with whom he worked for 25 years. French piano and percussion duo Ancuza Aprodu and Thierry Miroglio will present two New Music programmes exploring the many colours of their combined medium.

India has come up trumps for the third year in succession, bringing to the Festival stage Ms Shagun Butani, a maestro of the Orissi dance, and her troupe of four male musicians and dancers.

Israeli pianist Aviram Reichert is one of today’s most exciting young classical performers. His programme includes work by Beethoven, Skriabin and Chopin. Japanese teenage violin wunderkind Ryu Goto, a hero at home, has now taken the American concert scene by storm. He plays Sibelius in the Festival symphony concert with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

Mexico sends its hottest export since the chilli: internationally-fêted flute and recorder phenomenon Horacio Franco who is accompanied by double-bass player Victor Flores.

The Netherlands contingent is particularly strong, with The Lunatics street theatre group making whoopee with a giant 300kg sphere. Dutch Eric van der Western jams with Zimbabwean-born singer and guitarist Eric Mhlanga. Piano duo Nora Mulder and Pauline Post with Jan Panis providing electronics play Stockhausen’s Mantra and offer a second programme devoted to the repertoire that has been specially written for them with a good helping of recent Dutch compositions.

The USA’s Texan-born Beth Griffith is the reigning diva of the new Music Scene on both sides of the Atlantic. She sings in the Operaworks concert. Stefon Harris, the New York jazz scene’s leading exponent of the vibraphone and marimba will stoke the musical fires at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival within the Festival.

Zimbabwe’s Over the Edge Theatre Company has been showered with applause in London, Edinburgh and Boston, USA for their frighteningly topical, humour-filled engagement with what it means to have been Born African.

The national bodies that have assisted in bringing these performers to the Festival include the Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts, Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud (IFAS), Association Française d’Action Artistique (AFAA), MMINO, National Council for Culture and the Arts of Mexico (CONACULTA), Arts International USA and the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

This year’s National Arts Festival is sponsored by the Eastern Cape Government, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Standard Bank, the SABC and the National Arts Council.

Free booking Kits for the main and fringe programmes for the Festival are available at selected Standard Bank branches and major Computicket outlets, or posted on request. Booking is open at Computicket nationwide.




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