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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

AWESOME AFRICA MUSIC FESTIVAL #3 (article first published : 2006-09-5)

Central Durban is set to rumba, samba and salsa for the eight annual Awesome Africa Music Festival from September 30 to October 1.

Durban will play host to a Street Party for the first time in and around the City Hall precinct which serves to reinforce the eThekwini Municipality’s drive to develop a Cultural Precinct within Durban’s Inner City district in readiness for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. For those who want to sip on Havana cocktails, smoke Cuban cigars, dance the salsa with legends and feel the spirit of Brazil, then head down to Awesome Africa. The festival again forms the grand finale and anchor for the Celebrate Durban season. The venues will be the City Hall and the Zulu Lounge (previous Cellar) at the Playhouse.

Included in this unique festival is a Cuban invasion of Havana-based legends; a Jazz explosion of twelve top groups comprising some of the biggest names in South African jazz including Jimmy Dludlu; an international “world music” focus on Cuba, Brazil, Mozambique and Namibia; Indie rock from Australia; an Indian legend celebrating the centenary of the passive resistance movement of Satyagraha; and all mixed together with some of the very best and diverse music that Durban has to offer.

PART #3: SAMBA FROM BRAZIL (See separate stories for other attractions): In what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime treat and a real festival highlight, the power of the samba and the fragile beauty of bossa nova comes to Durban in full force. Projeto Pixinguinha is an ambitious travelling roadshow honouring the musical legacy of Pixinguinha, a legendary figure in Brazilian popular music whose artistry on the flute and saxophone spanned several genres and generations. Known as the forefather of samba in the early 1900’s, this descendant from slavery was an extraordinarily gifted composer, arranger, virtuoso instrumentalist, conductor, band leader, and teacher. MPB Historian Ary Vasconcelos writes; “Pixinguinha became known as Brazilian Music personified. If you have 15 volumes to talk about all Brazilian popular music it is certainly too few”.

Personally championed and endorsed by the legendary “Tropicalista” and current Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, and sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture - these high profile exponents of the samba have been chosen specifically to promote Pixinguinha’s and Brazil’s rich musical heritage to the world. Definitely not to be missed!

Personnel: Marcela Lobo (lead vocals); Marcos Sacramento (vocals & percussion); Zé da Velha e Silvério Pontes (saxophones & flutes); Netinho (pandeiro); Charles da Costa & Cecitônio Coelho (guitars); Alessandro Cardozo (cavaquinho); João Hermeto & Rodrigo Jesus (percussion); William Fernandes (producer FUNARTE); Jamil Chevitarese (sound); Luiz Miguel (lighting); Victor Brandão (technician); Luciano Guirelli (stage manager). Creusa Borges (Exchange Producer); Vitor Ortiz (Special Projects Director).

Napalma from Vitoria in Espirito Santo, Brazil were initially conceived as a seminal carnival percussion group back in 1994 but after extensive experimentation with electronic music and the addition of a programmer and a lead singer, their sound has evolved to such a degree that they defy the more obvious musical classifications. An outrageous blend of turntables, sexy samba, hip hop, jazz, rap, eclectic electronic programming, vocals from East Africa and hypnotic drums have created a completely unique new sound.

Born in Mozambique, Ivo Maia is a non official ambassador to his homeland and brings with him Jamaican influences, traditional songs and dialects from East Africa. Cid Travaglia e Rafael Jabah at the djembés, respectively drummer and percussionist for the band Pé do Lixo, are the initial founders of Napalma and their job is to ensure everyone is shaking it. Paulo Bolzan, aka Carranca, is responsible for the electronic programming. A previous rock 'n roll background leads him to a healthy disrespect for the electronic music rules. He borrows from drum´n´ bass, house, hip hop, electro, techno, ragga, dub and whatever comes his way. Their energetic live shows ensure that Napalma are not only an electronic music live act or a world music band. It's all that and more. The group made a huge impression in Durban’s underground clubs last year, and in an amazing response for Durban, word of mouth spread so fast that the “house full” signs were going up long before they hit the stage. They promised to return to conquer once more – and here they are for a unique performance in the Luthuli Hall at the City Hall as part of the “Latino Evening”.




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