Thursday, July 7, 2011

MUSIC makes the ppl

My first music pages were published in the British airways magazine this month (July issue – currently on planes). But for those of you who aren't flying this month, here's what I concocted.

Album Reviews

Global Grooves

British comedian and actor, Hugh Laurie, best known for his role as Dr Gregory House in TV’s House MD, has released his debut album. Let Them Talk (and we’re sure they will!) is a classic blues record featuring collaborations with guest artists such as Tom Jones, soul queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas and blues legend Dr John (recently inducted in the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of fame). Laurie plays piano and guitar on the album, as well as providing lead vocals for most of the 14 songs. Track one, the classic American folk song, Saint James Infirmary, has a three-minute piano intro that shows off Hugh’s keyboard chops before he breaks into song. It’s followed by the slightly more upbeat You Don’t Know My Mind. Vincent Henry displays his skills on the sax in Six Cold Feet In The Ground, while Kevin Breit impresses with his acoustic guitar work in After You’re Gone. Hugh seems to be having the most fun on Swanee River, in which he can be heard laughing in the background. The music is great, and he has a good voice, but an Englishman singing the blues? You decide.

Local Grooves

Following in the footsteps of iconic dance act Goldfish – said to have ‘reinvented the DJ’ – Goodluck have been setting stages alight with their charismatic performances, mixing dance tracks while playing instruments live, such as the saxophone and drums, to create their addictive electro-swing.
The Goodluck duo, Ben Peters and Juliet Harding, have ditched their alternative roots to release a double-disc album strongly influenced by jazzy Big Bands of the swing era. Tracks that may be familiar from radio play include the catchy Hop On Hop Off, which samples Louis Armstrong’s It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), and Taking It Easy. Juliet’s voice is both raw and melodic, drawing the listener in with witty lyrics. While there are mellower songs, London Sixteen66 and Jazzy Fizzle will sweep you onto the dance floor.

• See them at the Mr Price Pro surfing competition in Ballito (9 July) and Czar in Durban (18 July).

Gigs To Get To:

Mainstream Unplugged

Kirstenbosch is famous for its summer concerts but there’s music in winter too. The low-key acoustic gigs are smaller and indoors (with fireplace and soup at Silvertree Restaurant). See Ike Moriz (10 July), Bed on Bricks (24 July), Zebra & Giraffe (14 August), Hot Water (21 August) and the Gugulethu Tenors (28 August). Tickets are R100, including a welcome drink. 021-762-9585

Eclectic Mix

Music highlights at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown include ‘art pop’ pianist and singer Shannon Hope (7 and 9 July, Cuervo Club), acoustic guitar maestro Guy Buttery (8th and 9th, Graham Hotel), jazzy-soul songbird Auriol Hays (8 July, Great Hall), and Grammy-winning choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo (8th and 9th, Guy Butler Theatre). Two dedicated live-music venues, Equilibrium and The Urban Lounge, will host a variety of collaborations.

Classic Culture

Special guest soloists in the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s winter symphony season – from 20 July to 25 August at the Linder Auditorium in Joburg and Unisa Pretoria – include Donny Bouwer (trumpet), Wolfgang Schmid (cello), Gina Beukes (viola) and pianists Nina Schumann, Boris Giltburg and Ben Schoeman. See for details

Afrikaans Flavour

See top dance, rock and alternative bands at Vryfees in Bloemfontein: Kurt Darren (13 July), Dans Dans Lisa and Die Heuwels Fantasties (14th), Jack Parow (15th), Foto na Dans and Van Coke Kartel (16th). Tickets R60.

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