At 62, US Queen of Funk Chaka Khan was nothing short of amazing at the DStv Delicious International Food & Music Festival, where she headlined the music bill. On Saturday night, the former Rufus frontwoman oozed sultriness and showed off the powerful vocals that earned her the 10 Grammy awards she’s won in her more than three decades in the music business.
With a complementing band and starlit back-up singers, Khan performed a melody of her hits to a large crowd dressed in heavy coats and other winter wear to stave off the cold. Songs such as funk-soul hit Tell Me Something Good had the audience singing and dancing along, while her rendition of popular jazz standard My Funny Valentine saw Khan skatting and improvising. Khan, who has collaborated with musical giants like Stevie Wonder and Quincy, also churned out hits like Through the Fire, which rapper Kanye West famously sampled on his track Through the Wire, and Stay, which was later performed by Erykah Badu.
Dressed in black, Khan closed the show with I’m Every Woman, only to come back soon after to perform Rufus’s 1980s hit Ain’t Nobody, ending the festival on a high note.
Hosted at Huddle Park Golf and Recreation park in Linksfield, Jo’burg, the Delicious festival featured food markets and entertainment, and two music platforms – the main and a smaller Kaya FM stage, where acts like dance music star Louie Vega wowed crowds. Despite the good vibes, it was a surprise to see Kaya FM deejay Mo-G host the event (alongside rapper ProVerb) following a recent report of a transphobic statement he made.
According to Mambaonline, last Wednesday Mo-G said on Kaya of reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, who recently came out as transgender, “that if Jenner were his father, he’d ‘take a sjambok [a short leather whip] to him.’” In a response to Mambaonline, Kaya FM programmes manager Neil Johnson said the station does not condone the “reckless comment made by our drive time show host Mo-G and have dealt with him with regards to this matter”.
On a lighter note, the main stage UK band Shakatak took the audience, who were mainly camped out on the lawn under the sun, on a funk journey that broached genres such as jazz and soul. Following the 1980s hit-making band, acid jazz ensemble from Britain, Drizabone, hit the stage and kicked off with early 1990s chart topper Real Love.
(Jill Saward of Shakatak)
Local music acts included The Muffinz who, although good, performed to an almost empty field early in the day. Exploring genres like Afro-soul reggae, the five-piece band performed their latest hit Do What You Love and older tracks like Umsebenzi Wendoda. Singer Unathi had the crowd in a groove as she played out an upbeat set, which included a duet with rapper ProVerb. Towards the end of her show, Unathi sang her hit Run with topless dancers gyrating on stage alongside the radio and TV personality. Another South African musician, folk music legend Vusi Mahlasela, set the tone for the rest of the day at the main stage, which was chilled and relaxing – until Drizabone’s upbeat performance.
The food market was well set up, with more than 20 food stalls that ranged from cold meats to homemade ice-creams, and delicious bunny chows. Offsetting the high ticket prices (from R450 to R3500), food was affordable and catered to everyone. For those who preferred more of a formal restaurant set-up, celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood served his three-course meal at the Delicious Restaurant, which cost R550 per diner, with the menu including seafood ragout, fillet steak vigneron and camembert.
Celebrity chefs from TV channel Food Network including Reza Mahammad, Jenny Morris and Siba Mtongana cooked with audiences at the channel’s marquee. They shared some secrets of the trade and gave away hampers to lucky audience members. The kids’ entertainment section, which was not full, had impressive entertainment for children that included jumping castles and interactive games on stage.
(Chef Pete Goffe-Wood)
Overall the festival ran smoothly, and peaked perfectly with Khan’s performance – leaving us excited to see what next year’s installment holds.