South Africa's biggest arts and culture festival, offering music, dance, opera, and performance art. Check out the official site for other performances and how to book.
Janni Younge’s production of The Firebird is a re-imagining of the original ballet, set to the original Stravinsky score. With South African, contemporary choreographic style and giant puppets, Janni Younge’s The Firebird will be a visually extraordinary production.
Stravinsky’s The Firebird is marked for its elaborate orchestration, provocative uneven rhythmic writing and pungent harmonies, and is an exciting and dynamic musical work.
Set to this music, the performance of The Firebird is designed and directed by Janni Younge (previously of Handspring Puppet Company) and choreographed by Jay Pather, one of South Africa’s leading contemporary choreographers.
Working with the thematic and narrative structure of the original ballet, Younge’s The Firebird will be centred on a journey towards finding free and powerful expression. The attraction of inspiration, ideal and accumulation creates an illusion of freedom. However unacknowledged pain and suppressed fear destabilise fragile dreams and it is only with critical insight that balance between the forces can manifest and true vision and freedom be found.
The Firebird will use the evocative medium of puppetry and draw on contemporary and traditional South African dance forms. Set in the context of an emerging national and personal identity, Janni Younge’s The Firebird is a journey towards courage and ultimately, freedom.
Traditional African with contemporary soul
Simphiwe Dana is one of South Africa’s most soulful singers as well as being a leading socio-political musical activist, asserting a powerful African identity through her art form. She burst onto the South African scene in 2004 with her debut album, earning her a South African Music Award for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” and “Best Newcomer” and two years later she was named the “Best Female Artist”, with the song “The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street”, at the SAMAs. Dana blends traditional African music with contemporary soul and shows hints of gospel and blues. She is also increasingly a singing sensation in the World Music scene in Europe.
The Muffinz have unleashed their mysteriously beautiful world of eclectic soul to the South African public and they are now set for world domination.
The music of The Muffinz is so new, yet so soulful, so accessible, so honest and so innocent, that it appeals to all age groups, races, classes and genders.
The five young musicians make a refreshing change from the usual run of the mill rappers and house DJs in that they play real instruments, and they play them well. Plus all five musicians are great singers in their different genres of expertise.
Electric guitarist and vocalist, Atomza’s voice is best described as a young Michael Jackson meets Usher with a twist of rock. Drummer Keke then enters with his Senegalese meets rumba vocals. The band switch from a groovy R&B rhythm led by acoustic guitarist Mthae and bassist Skabz, to a classy jazz guitar sound introduced by electric guitarist and a capella singer, Simz. And that is just on one song!
The group began in 2010 when Mthae, Simz and Atomza met while singing in the UJ (University Of Johannesburg) Choir. In August 2011, the independent label, Just Music, were invited to see the band perform an impromptu private performance in a tiny rehearsal room at the University of Johannesburg. They were so blown away with The Muffinz that they immediately offered them a recording deal. In 2012 the band made their Festival debut, winning a Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award on the Fringe and, in 2013, they returned to the Arena, growing a new fan base along the way.
2016 is going to be a big year for The Muffinz – not only are they embarking on a tour of the USA, but they have been nominated for a South African Music Award (“Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album”) and they are making their debut on the Festival’s Main stage….catch them while you still can, these guys are going global!
Simphiwe ‘Simz’ Kulla – lead electric guitar/vocalist
Mthabisi ‘Mthae’ Sibanda – acoustic guitar and vocals
Gregory ‘Keke’ Mabusela – drumz and vocals
Karabo ‘Skabz’ Moeketsi – bass and vocals
Sifiso ‘Atomza’ Buthelezi – lead electric and vocals
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