Tuesday, September 16, 2008

John Matshikiza, 1954-2008

With sadness we learn of the passing away of John Matshikiza, writer and actor. I first learned of him as the columnist in the weekly Mail &Guardian. For many years, his column was the first thing I would read every friday morning. South Africa has lost one of the most insightful observers of society and politics.

His writing is elegant and critical, and I learnt always something new about life and the country I had chosen to live in.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Joshua Polumo Mohapeloa and Paul Hamner

Another week-end filled with music! Spring is in the air and things are happening. Saturday night was great jazz with Paul Hamner (piano) and McCoy Mrubata (saxophone), and their excellent band. The House of Ntsako was jiving and all was well. Well, a bigger audience and a bigger revenue for the musicians would have been on order.

On sunday it was the Cantus Africana Chamber Choir singing Mohapeloa. It was a unique experience and the voices were beautiful. A truly uplifting and essentially humane exeperience.

Hamner is a true talent. Not only playing his terrific jazz, he also featured in the New Music Indaba's 2009 progragmme, playing Olivier Messiaen. We sure got talent in this country!

Monday, September 1, 2008

T. Musicman is doing it again!

The Anita Baker concert was a disaster and the promoter, a Mr Tladi, is trying to wiggle out of it by blaming her. Unfortunately, he was not addressing the issue why there were much more tickets sold than seats available and how he could claim the event was at a state-of-the-art venue when it was only in a dull Nasrec hangar, with atrocious accoustics. In all, a rather unconvincing apology. And the promoter is laughing all the way to the bank!

At this weekend's Joy of Jazz festival, T.Musicman was at it again! Unbelievable, that they provided the sound for the entire festival. What is going on here? They must have some good friends in high places. Or is there no competition when it comes to staging art events?

On friday, at the Dinaledi stage, the first show had the usual sound problems. When I say usual, I mean for T. Musicman, not for jazz concerts! When the Original All Stars of Jazz Fusion came on stage, to ensure proper sound was a constant problem - the artists' had to signal all the time and the technicians were spinning around the stage non-stop.

On saturday, at the Bassline, the quiet sounds of Thord Gustafson were overshadowed by a blaring sound system.

Unfortunately, we will not have seen and heard the last of T.Musicman. Given the contracts they had cornered, they seem to have too good connections to be booted out.

In South Africa, what matters first is your connections, delivery and accountability feature much later. While this story was concerned with frivolous entertainment for the well-heeled, this is a recurrent aspect of our society, what a pity!