The Artsvark Guide to the Arts Festival – Day 5

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The Afrika Mkhize Big Band who played Tribute to Bheki Mseleku over the weekend.
The Afrika Mkhize Big Band who played Tribute to Bheki Mseleku over the weekend. Photo: Thato Tsotetsi of Artsvark

It’s Monday morning, and Grahamstown is waking up to day 5 of this year’s National Arts Festival, the weekend saw town fill up with festival goers after a fairly quiet start last week. Out at the Jazz Town precinct at DSG, the Standard Bank National Jazz Festival has been a hot bed of amazing talent, local and international. A highlight over the weekend was the Bheki Mseleku tribute by the Afrika Mkhize big band. Afrika Mkhize is a very talented arranger as demonstrated by the big band when they performed his big band arrangements of Bheki Mseleku classics. This afternoon, and later tonight, we will see the results of some of the work being done at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival. At 17:00 the Standard Bank National Schools Jazz Band takes to the stage, always a highlight of festival for lovers of the big band sound. Later this evening the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band takes to the stage under the direction of Carlo Mombelli.

One of the highlights of Think!Fest every year, outside of the panel discussions which are always thought provoking and often heated, is the novel script reading. Every year a novel is chosen, and participants in the novel script project work on developing short scripts based on the selected book. This year’s selection is: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. The script readings are to be brought to life by directors from Zimbabwe, The Netherlands and South Africa.

Nox Donyeli and Sisonke Yafele looking through a window during the production of Langa Yanta- Monster Hunter on 30 June 2016, in the National Arts Festival, in The Oatlands School Hall in Grahamstown, South Africa. The production was directed by Kyla Davis. (Photo: CuePix/Megan Moore)
Nox Donyeli and Sisonke Yafele looking through a window during the production of Langa Yanta- Monster Hunter on 30 June 2016, in the National Arts Festival, in The Oatlands School Hall in Grahamstown, South Africa. The production was directed by Kyla Davis. (Photo: CuePix/Megan Moore)

If you are in Grahamstown with children, ASSITEJ always has a programme of delightful works for children at the Oatlands School Hall. Today we suggest you try Langa Yanta – Monster Hunter at 14:00. Langa Yanta – Monster Hunter is described as “the story of one brave youngster’s quest to defeat the nameless fears that many children suffer”.  For more family fare see the festival programme pages 233 – 238.

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Former Standard Bank Ovation Award winner Stuart Lightbody brings us ‘Stuart Lightbody’s Sleepless Dreams’ a true story of obsession. Judging by the success of his previous festival and Ovation Award winning offerings ‘Illusive’ and ‘Devillish’ this is a show that comes highly recommended and runs daily at 16:00 at Princess Alice Hall.

Mera embraces experimentation and his music draws on influences from rock, folk, classical Indian (he will be playing the sitar in the NAF performances) through to indie and country.
Mera embraces experimentation and his music draws on influences from rock, folk, classical Indian (he will be playing the sitar in the NAF performances) through to indie and country.

This evening the Artsvark team will make their way to Thomas Pringle Hall at the monument to see a performance by almost completely self-taught multi-instrumentalist Mateo Mera and his band from Uruguay. This performance has been declared as being of cultural interest by the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education and Culture. Catch our review of this gig on Artsvark tomorrow.

Enjoy this first Monday of festival, and drop us a line if you want to share your views, reviews and festival news. Email our team: editor@artsvark.co.za

 

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