Durban music picks: February 3 2012

Durban offers everything from folk to reggae and classical this week.

? “Terrific, all of it!” raved the ­London Times about a recent performance by celebrated Swedish sensation The Real Group. The acclaimed a capella group this week performs their first show in South Africa in the tranquil Midlands. The group is famous for arrangements of well-known pop and jazz numbers. They have recorded more than 15 albums over the past 15 years and have racked up astonishing sales figures around the globe.

All the members of the quintet are blessed with perfect pitch and the remarkable ability to imitate the sound of any instrument with their voices: tuba, flute, guitar and all manner of percussion. The programme for this concert includes arrangements of songs by Michael Jackson, Count Basie, Mozart, ­Britney Spears and Bach. Kearsney College Choir will open the show, previewing its overseas tour.

City Hill Church, Hillcrest, February 9 at 7pm. Tickets R130 (reserved) and R70 (unreserved) from Computicket. Visit therealgroup.se.

? Although Cristina Ortiz, one of the most acclaimed classical pianists in the world, has lived in the United Kingdom for many years, it is the passion, spontaneity and allure so characteristic of her Brazilian roots that are central to her music.

Her commitment to Brazilian music is reflected in the five Villa Lobos piano concertos she recorded for Decca and the hugely successful American premiere of Guarnieri’s Choro at ­Carnegie Hall. She has also enjoyed public and critical acclaim for her interpretation of piano works of masters, from Beethoven to Bernstein, and she has brought to a wide audience a number of important but lesser-known works, including a remarkable series of recordings for Carlton Classics in 1997 of solo pieces by Clara Schumann.

This week Ortiz performs a solo concert in Durban hosted by Friends of Music, with a repertoire consisting of work by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Brahms and Villa-Lobos.

Durban Jewish Centre, 44 Old Fort Road, February 7 at 7.45pm. Tickets R70 from Computicket. Tel: 031 201 0711 or 083 253 7387.

? Internationally renowned Durban guitarists Nibs van der Spuy and Guy Buttery began testing each other’s musical waters in 2000, but it is now, 12 years later, that their paths have crossed with a tangible result. In a two-day recording ­session as brief as it was intense, Buttery — the acclaimed finger-picker, sitar virtuoso and keen ­experimentalist — and Van der Spuy — the folk impresario and spiritual minstrel — produced a body of work that apparently exceeded both musicians’ ­expectations. The fruit of their labour is In the Shade of the Wild Fig, an album that showcases their deep love of world music and folk movements.

Numerous instruments are featured, such as the cuatro, mbira, tampura, sitar and various acoustic guitars. The album is launched in Durban this week and will be followed by an extensive tour of KwaZulu-Natal.

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, February 3 at 7.30pm. Tickets are R90 from Computicket. Tel: 031 260 2296. This is followed by concerts in Westbrook, Mtunzini, Florida Road, Ballito and at Michaelhouse. For full tour details visit guybuttery.co.za or nibs.co.za

? Platform Jazz is a seasoned, dyed-in-the-deep-South Dixie band that has proudly carried the New Orleans Basin Street banner for 17 years. The seven-piece ensemble is made up of trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, trombone, double bass, drums and piano, and its musicians deliver authentic 1920s toe-tapping jazz. Included in the repertoire are famous numbers such as Fats Waller’s I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and ­Honeysuckle Rose, as well as traditional favourites Sweet Georgia Brown, Chicago and When the Saints Go Marching In.

The band also throws in some souped-up jazz standards and a few Latin numbers such as Volare, Quando Quando, Girl from Ipanema and Sway.

Rhumbelow Theatre, 22 Cunningham Avenue. On February 3 and 4 at 8pm and on February 5 at 6.30pm. The venue opens 90 minutes before the show, so bring a picnic supper. Cash bar and braai fires are available. Tickets R100 and booking is essential. Tickets available through Computicket. Tel: 031 205 7602.

? Bob Marley Earth Day Reggae Music Festival is a worldwide ­celebration of the reggae legend’s birthday. Born on February 6 1945, the global icon of peace, love and understanding would have turned 67 this year, if his religious beliefs had not prevented him from accepting the treatment that might have stemmed the cancer that took his life when he was 36.

The Meditators, an eight-piece Durban reggae band, are among South Africa’s most dedicated disciples of Marley. Their sound is traditional, authentic and entirely true to reggae’s roots. They celebrate the life and legacy of ­Marley with a live performance this weekend and are joined on the bill by other adherents of the genre, including Rasta Rhythm, Undivided Roots, the David Yaso Band, Tuff Masters and Queen Tshepi.

uShaka Marine World, Bell Avenue, February 5 from 10am to 6pm. Entrance is free. Tel: 031 328 8000.

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Alex Sudheim
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