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AWESOME AFRICA MUSIC FESTIVAL #4 (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 #4: INTERNATIONAL “WORLD MUSIC” FOCUS (See separate stories for other attractions): Over the years, the Festival has featured 86 groups from all over the globe from the “world music” genre. This year the focus is even more diverse, with Cuba, Brazil, Mozambique, Australia and Namibia being represented.

MOZAMBIQUE: Ze’ ManueI (Jomalu) has just released his debut album "Life Without Orgasm" to rave reviews. Ze’ started his career at the age of 12 as singer of the teenage vocal quartet "Ndzuti" (shadow), and in 1989 began developing his distinctive style by combining traditional Mozambican rhythms and Afro Jazz. In 1994, as part of the renowned "Majaschoral" project under the guidance of Professor Faustino Antonio, he enriched his vocal technique by singing classical, folk, spiritual and traditional songs. Thereafter his long collaboration with Jose Mucavel enabled him to discover his other talent - playing percussion. As a duo with Mucavel he embarked on a pilgrimage to learn everything he could about traditional rhythms, travelling from the north to the south of Mozambique. This great effort was rewarded with the "Francophonie Prize” in 1999, and in 2003 with the highest recognition of all – the "Fundac".

AUSTRALIA : Both Veeva Feeva and Gyroscope are great examples of Australia’s exciting and innovative rock scene. Veeva Feeva from Margaret River in West Australia are fuelled by the members’ mutual love of groovy funk, reggae, acid jazz, rock and roots. Led by ex THC founder Lee Cummings, the group have created a fresh dynamic distinctively Aussie sound a little reminiscent of both Midnight Oil and INX. Personnel: Lee Cummings (drums); Kim Lumsdaine (bass); Eddie Donato (guitar); Elise Adlam (vocals).

RHYTHMS OF THE KALAHARI: In a historic occasion, this is the first time ever that a group from Namibia has appeared at the festival, and what a group it is too! Elemotho’s music is described as “rhythms from the Kalahari desert mixed with ethnic and global sounds … the calling of the rain, interspersed with messages for our modern times”. Composer, instrumentalist, vocalist and leader "Elemotho" Mosimane sings in his native Setswane and other Namibian languages. His new CD The System is a Joke is laden with real life stories and social commentary, songs celebrating local Namibian and African reality and a certain degree of spirituality.

Personnel: Gaalelekwe Richardo "Elemotho" Mosimane (lead vocals & guitar); Manda Saize (percussion); Rodriguez Nksika (lead guitar); Emelinda Thataone (backing vocals); Jeremiah Tayo Kasinda (bass guitar); Paulina Laubnina (flute); Lebohang Mothabeng (drums).

AWESOME DJ STREET PARTY: Durban has always been at the forefront of the nation’s cutting edge sounds, and right now it is the DJ’s who are holding the flag high. The Festival proudly presents the Durban DJ’s of the moment which will be arguably the broadest cross section of DJ’s thus featured on one stage. And as a special guest, the big daddy of them all - DJ Ready D gets the whole party moving!

ROCK AND HIP HOP: Big Idea started as a collaboration of artists from backgrounds representing the mixed masala of cultures that make up KwaZulu Natal. They have managed to infiltrate the vanguard of Durban's hip hop music scene to become one of its boldest champions. Through their music they cross cultural bridges and build new ones where no - one had thought they could exist. Farryl Purkiss - champion surfer and scintillating singer-songwriter, combines inventive guitar play with introspective wordplay in a typically Durban laid back mode. His debut album Chapter One is an absolute stunner and delves deep into the heart’s emotions. Veeva Feeva and Gyroscope are both great examples of Australia’s exciting and innovative rock scene. From Brazil come Napalma, whose outrageous blend of turntables, samba, hip hop, jazz and rap made a huge impression in Durban’s clubs last year – and they’re back for more fun!

DURBAN ARTS SHOWCASE: Durban Arts has been successfully running an Area Based Management talent search in all 100 Wards around eThekwini. The winners of five main musical categories will be showcased at Awesome Africa, thus exposing this untapped talent to a wider audience. This is the ideal setting for these highly talented but unknown groups to be discovered by international and local talent scouts.

EDUCATIONAL MUSIC WORKSHOPS: An important and very popular element of the Awesome Africa Festival, these free workshops attract aspirant students and music lovers hungry for knowledge. All international and some local artists who perform at the festival contribute to these workshops, thus ensuring that long after the festival has taken place, these skills are passed on and remain indelibly stamped in the minds of our youth and public. There is no doubt that the culturally minded and artistic community benefit greatly from participating in these open forum and interactive workshops, and youngsters from the workshops held in outlying areas are bussed in so that they can experience the festival atmosphere first hand. This year’s workshops are sponsored by MMINO.

100 year Celebration of Satyagraha




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