Kenny G in concert

One of the highest selling artists of all time, Kenny G has single-handedly made the saxophone a hit amongst music lovers. Perhaps it is the raspy mid-tones of the saxophone that lend it an air of intimacy, or maybe it’s Read more

Splashy Fen is the ultimate Easter concert

It’s been going since 1990, and Easter 2015 will be the 26th year for the Splashy Fen music festival. I have yet to learn why the music event is called Splashy Fen, though I do believe that the farm it Read more

Oppikoppi, a whole series of concerts rolled into one

The small town of Northam in Limpopo Province comes to life every August. Technically it’s spring if you calculate that you are halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and you don’t factor in seasonal lag, but Read more

Richard Clayderman in concert

No doubt the mysterious Frenchman’s greatest gift to the world musically has been “Ballad for Adeline.” Composed by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in 1976, the co-writers could never have imagined how big the song would become, because disco Read more

Albert Hammond in concert

This is not a name that rolls off the tongue like Madonna or Michael Jackson or Elvis, but Albert Hammond has had an amazing music career anyway. A native of the UK, he has done a considerable body of work Read more

Mamma Mia! heads back to Jozi in 2015

The smash hit musical based on the music of those 4 Swedes (well, actually 3 Swedes and a half-Norwegian) returns to the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, for a limited season run from Tuesday 24 March 2015 to Sunday Read more

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse is NOT too cool for school!

On 1 October the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City hosted Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in concert. It’s been 30 years since his hit “Burnout” tore up the charts, and, according to the write-up for his show, 50 years since Read more

Richard Branson’s engagement with music

Did you know that Richard Branson made his first million from the music industry?

As with Clive Calder, there is a strong South African connection here. First, it must be said that Richard Branson absolutely loved Nelson Mandela, and had huge respect for him. It was Nelson Mandela who asked Branson to help out an ailing gym company called Health & Racquet, which is why it eventually became Virgin Active. Read more

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Clive Calder: the silent music billionaire

Rumour has it he still loves watching cricket at The Wanderers Stadium, and that his mom still lives in Orange Grove. This is Clive Calder we are talking about, referred to as one of the ‘Big Clives’ in the music biz, the other being Clive Davis, over the years the head honcho of a number of record labels and arguably the man who turned both Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys into stars. Read more

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That’s MR Jay-Z to you!

So what’s up with Beyoncé’s hubby? You have to admire the man who came from nothing and built an empire in the Empire State.
Now in his 40s, with the musical world at his feet, Jay-Z is testimony to the power of hard work. He and the wife are musical royalty, and they have been instrumental in helping presidents come to power. It’s particularly interesting that Barack Obama’s strategy for becoming the head honcho of the United States cleverly and strategically involved invoking the power of America’s two largest and most important cities: New York and Los Angeles. Read more

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Madiba, music and the struggle

“Free-e-e-e-e-e Nelson Mandela,” belted Amy Winehouse a few years ago, long after he had been released from prison. She was singing at a 46664 concert, which Madiba had endorsed and wanted to have happen, for yet another wonderful philanthropic cause.

South Africa’s beloved leader, Nelson Mandela, never professed to be a musician of any sort. The country’s favourite father, who died in December 2013, was a great personal brand builder, but never showed an inclination for music. How is it then that his legacy is so inextricably linked to music? Read more

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Idols: is it still relevant?

Let’s pretend to be Dennis Hopper and Keanu Reeves from Speed: “Pop quiz, hot shot! How many Idols winners or finalists can you name from the last ten years?”
Chances are, not that many. Started in 2001 in South Africa, Idols is the local spin-off of the highly popular British TV show Idol, and its American spin-off American Idol. It promised fame and possibly a few riches for the many who took part. And so they flocked to the cities from far and wide, to audition, and become the next big thing. Read more

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The genius of Enoch Sontonga

If you take a drive along Enoch Sontonga Road, and pull into the Enoch Sontonga Park, you will find a small monument there to a man named… Enoch Sontonga!
Who was he? He was a musician who wrote Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika, the beautiful prayer and hymn that is forever part of the South African national anthem.
It’s actually hard to believe that the apartheid government banned this song, considering it to be far too political. It’s also hard to believe that at one stage it enjoyed prominent status in Tanzania and Zambia, and is the national anthem of both, so far from its South African origins. Read more

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How Psy broke all the rules with Gangnam Style

Gangnam is apparently a swishy area of Seoul not unlike Beverly Hills, and is to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, what Beverly Hills is to Los Angeles.
It was relatively unknown to the world until a South Korean artist named Psy wrote a song about it, which turned into a huge Internet smash, with over two billion views on YouTube – the most watched video of all time on the Internet TV station. Read more

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I am the one and only: one-hit wonders

Did Chesney Hawkes know, when he was singing his mega-hit song The One and Only, that it would be his one and only hit? Doubtful. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20 vision, or hindsight is an exact science.

What is it about some people that allows them to have a sustainable long-term career in music, and others a flash in the pan one? Is it luck? Is it circumstance? Is it the fact that some take advantage of a situation, while others take less advantage of it? Someone once said that the difference between Madonna and Cindy Lauper is that Madonna kept on evolving, whereas Cindy did not.
The world’s stage is littered with artists who have had one hit, and then faded. Read more

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The Foo Fighters are on their way south

Coffee and Boeing are not the only things that the Emerald City of Seattle have given the world. Its major contribution to the music scene is of course Grunge music, and Nirvana was the poster child of that music movement. Read more

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Solomon Linda and the biggest theft in musical history

In his controversial book Capitalist Nigger, Dr Chika Onyeani argues that one of the biggest problems with Africa is the fact that the continent gives the world raw materials that are taken overseas to the Northern Hemisphere, remade into something of value, and sold back to Africa at an enormous profit.
It seems though that this is not just the case with mineral resources, but also human ones – and the music industry is the perfect hotbed for it. Read more

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