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AARDKLOP 2003 (article first published : 2003-08-20)

The sixth Aardklop Arts Festival is bound to burst its seams this year if the exponential growth of attendance over the last couple of years is any indication. However, festival management will welcome all visitors with a staunch logistical force and one of the strongest programme line-ups ever.

Aardklop 2003 offers 90 productions, two less than last year. Close to 400 shows and more than 450 artists will have Potchefstroom abuzz from September 23 to 27 with Duruflé’s Requiem as well as the open air Jazz Fest in Ikageng taking place on September 28.

The KZN contingent is strong with prize-winning choreographer Sbonakaliso Ndaba with her When the outside comes in which will show Aardklop audiences why she deserved the 2003 DaimlerChrysler Award for dance. Other exciting dance productions include a new work by the energetic young dancers from the K.mad.com Company as well as Off Axis by the evergreen Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company.

The local communities of Ikageng and Promosa also have a full programme with productions that will showcase the best of local talent throughout the week. One of Aardklop and Transnet’s new projects is a street theatre troupe consisting of local artists under the tutelage of street muses Ellis Pearson en Bheki Mkhwane who will perform daily on Clover Park.

More than a third of the productions at this year’s festival are brand new, among others, a work by Hans Pienaar on Ché Guevara’s activities in Africa, entitled Ching Chong Che. The award-winning Saartjie Botha has also penned a couple of festival premieres, amongst them 1975, a nostalgic glance at the music and culture of the 70’s, as well as a cabaret production entitled Oënskynlik, with the combined efforts of singer/songwriter Lize Beekman and South Africa’s favourite soap star, Nina Swart.

With 13 international productions, Aardklop audiences will be able to expose themselves to some of the best from abroad, including the sensational Dutch Piano Trio from The Netherlands, the Aviv Quartet from Israel, folk icon Shawn Phillips from Texas, chansonneur Johan Verminnen from Belgium, a jazz ensemble from Sweden, Denmark, Trinidad and the USA, as well as the internationally acclaimed Klaas Hofstra in A Letter to Vincent, based on the correspondence of painter Vincent van Gogh.

World music lovers should not miss the Cape Town hit production World in a guitar, with eight guitarists, a percussionist, a violinist and a tabla-master in concert for more than two hours. The Aquarian Quartet forms part of this group.

The young British conductor, David Murphy, and the Aardklop Festival Orchestra will also perform the South African première of Shedrin’s rendition of Carmen’s ballet suites for strings – with no less than 25 percussionists and three professional dancers. Some magical organ and piano work by three of our top instrumental improvisationists Roelof and Zorada Temmingh with Nicol Viljoen will be featured in competition format. The world première of Roelof Temmingh’s new composition will also be preformed at this occasion.

Aardklop introduces two new genres this year: Culinary Art and the Book Oasis. The irresistible Nataniël is going to perform two cooking theatre productions in the Sanlam Auditorium, while the Book Oasis will celebrate books and writers with a wide variety of activities. This includes book launches, the ever-popular Poetry Slams, readings by writers and poets, Book Breakfasts and productions for children. Festival-goers will be able to visit the Book Oasis for some quiet and something to eat and drink – as well as a little bit of soul food.

This year’s big rock event, Castle Loud Oppiaarde, an Aardklop-Oppikoppi co-production, will be staged on the Saturday and will showcase a number of rockers and musicians in unusual collaborations. The event will host amongst others the kwaito sensation Mandoza and the street-smart rappers from the Cape Flats, Brasse Vannie Kaap.

A sensory smorgasbord awaits lovers of the visual arts with the commissioned work Doringdraad (‘Barbed wire’) by the official festival artist, Jan van der Merwe, and 14 other exhibitions on and around the university campus.

Aardklop has proved itself as an organisation that encourages contentious dialogue. This year’s Sol Plaatje Discourse Series – under the leadership of the new Aardklop chairperson, Dr Frederik van Zyl Slabbert – will pit leaders of the industry and politics against each other around the theme: South Africa in 2014, ten years after the first free election. What does the future hold?

Apart from an additional day, the festival offers a host of improvements this year, including the expansion of Clover Park, the central festival area. For the first time, the festival programme and website are available in both English and Afrikaans. Book through Computicket. See the website on www.aardklop.co.za for additional information.

For accommodation, contact: 018 294 7508 or 018 297 4459; fax 018 294 8477 or e-mail: verblyf@aardklop.co.za Office hours for telephonic bookings are 08h30 to 12h30.




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