There is much good music in Durban this week if you fancy a drive. For starters, Zimbabwean music legend Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, a human rights activist and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, is to perform a once-off Up, Close and Personal Concert at The Werehouse, 82 Hunter Street, near the Durban ICC, at 8.30pm on Friday, August 10.
Tickets cost R250 each at Computicket outlets for the event which, celebrating Women’s Day the day before, will have Tuku introducing tracks from his new album, his 67th, titled Hany`Ga (meaning ‘concern’).
In the picture: Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi.
Tuku has a doctorate from two universities and is a recipient of some of the most prestigious human rights awards, including The International Council for African Womanism Award (ICAW), recognising his role in the upliftment of African women through his artistic work. He is also the head and owner of an arts academy called Pakare Paye Arts Centre, that offers music and a diversity of art forms, platforming and building talent.
Accompanying him will be musicians from the academy, including Samantha Mtukudzi and Fiona Gwena on vocals, Keith Musena on drums, Charles Njekesa on bass and vocals, Prosper Mashipe on keyboards and Rodney Roda on guitar and vocals. Tickets for the August 10 performance cost R250 each at Computicket outlets.
Also note that, chalking up his seventh annual Elvis Presley tribute show at Durban’s newly renovated Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, Doug Weich keeps the customers satisfied with an outpouring of classic golden oldies associated with the lip-curling hip-swiveller.
This year he presents Viva Las Vegas, focusing on Presley’s Vegas years, when the superstar had grown in girth and stature, wore embarrassing rhinestoned jumpsuits and capes and sported massive sideburns.
Weich is backed by a fine five-piece band featuring talented Evan Cullum on musical direction and piano, Wade Wight on keyboards, ever-smiling David Knott on lead guitar, Glen Turrell on bass and Alec Mackay on drums.
Weich has also brought back the attractive backing vocalists he used in last year’s show, Claire Rowlett and Sandi da Cunha. Each also takes solo spotlights during Weich’s many costume changes.
Access my full review of the show, which had its first Durban performances last weekend, by clicking
Viva Las Vegas has final performances at the Umbilo venue at 8pm on Friday and Saturday (August 10 and 11) and 2pm on Sunday (August 12). Tickets cost R150 each (R130 for pensioners) and booking is at Computicket or by phoning Roland at 082 499 8636.
Still in Durban, note that The Reals, and singer-guitarist guest Shaun Dragt, present another week of their excellent British Invasion show at The Rhumbelow Theatre in Cunningham Road, Umbilo, from Friday to Sunday.
Access my full review by clicking
Meanwhile, The Clermont Community Choir will open the concert of the acclaimed American Minnesota Orchestra, for the Durban leg of the orchestra’s five-city tour of South Africa at the Durban City Hall at 5pm on Sunday. August 12.
Conducted by Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä, the tour marks the first visit to South Africa by a professional US orchestra.
A highlight of the tour will be a piece specially commissioned as a tribute to Nelson Mandela by Classical Movements. World-acclaimed composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen was commissioned to write a new work featuring soprano Goitsemang Lehobye, which premiered in Minneapolis a few days ago and was a great success.
To open the concert in Durban, the Clermont Community Choir will be performing a specially curated programme of local indigenous works as a counter-point to the pieces to be performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, and to continue the theme of celebrating Madiba during the centenary year commemorations.
The programme to be performed by the Minnesota Orchestra includes Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Bernstein’s Candide Overture and Sibelius’s En Saga.
There are still tickets available for The Minnesota Orchestra concert. Prices range from R100 to R600 and booking is at Computicket.
Closer to the home, note that, after having impressed in Durban recently with her acclaimed one-woman show, My Travelling Bag, Gcina Mhlophe takes to the stage at the Pietermaritzburg branch of the Rhumbelow Theatre, at the Allan Wilson Shellhole, at 2pm on Sunday, August 12.
This fine show sees Gcina relating tales of her 33 years of international travel as a master storyteller. She discusses, in a hugely entertaining way, amazing theatres, long hours at international airports, delayed flights, the many cultures she has come across, and frustrating times filled with fear and homesickness.
Tickets cost R150 (R130 for pensioners). Call Roland at 082 499 8636 to book.
Also worth noting is that the next Music in the Hills (MiTH) in Hilton features Serrotone as headliner, from 9pm on Wednesday, August 15. This fortnightly event is held in a barn in the Knoll Historic Guest Farm.
Peter Guthrie, vocalist and prolific songwriter with Spoonfeedas for 12 years, has teamed up with James Robertson and close friend, drummer Billy Kruger.
Robertson who sang and wrote material for Spoonfeedas in 2001, also went on to form Cubic Inch.
The August 15 gig will start with a 7pm performance by Howick High School Rock Band and an 8pm performance by a trio called Many More, specialising in “urban poetic soul”.
MiTH is a semi-open mic music club. Take along your own booze. Food and soft drinks are available for sale.
Musicians who want to play at the fortnightly gatherings should contact Charles Webster at 082 331 7271 or Doug Borain at 072 340 7034.
On the movie scene… new in cinemas countrywide this weekend is the animated romp Charming, starring Demi Lovato, Sia and Wilmer Valderrama. Directed by Ross Venokur, it tells of three fairy tale princesses who find themselves engaged to the same guy, Prince Charming.
Also new on screen is The Meg, about a guy who, after escaping an attack by what he claims was a 20m shark, must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible. Directed by Jon Turteltaub, it stars Ruby Rose, Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson.
SHOWBIZ TRIVIA: DO YOU KNOW?
What actress, nominated for her starring role in the movie Almost Famous, is the daughter of Oscar-winner Goldie Hawn? (Answer next week)
Last week’s question was: What hit 1972 song by a 14-year-old Michael Jackson lost the Oscar for Best Song to the Maureen McGovern hit, The Morning After, from The Poseidon Adventure? (Answer: Ben, from the film of the same name).