Cape Town Folk Festival at Kirstenbosch Gardens


I had the absolute pleasure to attend yet another Cape Town Folk Festival held on Sunday and this time it was held at Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is such a perfect setting for a night of music.

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The Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival bring to the stage the best of South Africa’s folk and acoustic talent in a unique concert setting.

ImageMichael Lowman kicked off the Festival with a bang.  Here was a voice that immediately warmed the heart and I could picture a cold winter’s night next to a fire, sipping on a lovely bottle of red listening to his CD.  Michael has a style that is so down to earth and music comes naturally to him.  His pop song ‘Girl Saves Boy’ is a popular tune and evokes a feeling of romance and fun.  Michael’s voice could ease your mind and lessen your woes.

ImageImageNext up was Joshua Grierson and Inge Beckmann.    The melodic harmonizing of their voices sent shivers down my spine.  Listening to Inge was a first for me, as I had never before heard her and when she started singing I was spellbound.

Inge’s vocals are ethereal, theatrical and poignant.  Joshua’s song ‘Fighter Plane’ was performed with such sincerity by both Joshua and Inge that I could picture the scene of a soldier in the time of war, reminiscing about his love for his mother.  This is a beautiful song with a deep heartfelt message that can only make you mindful of the pain felt by men at war.

I love that about Joshua’s music, as his lyrics tell stories and he brings his music alive by painting the scenario with such expression.  His music is deeply moving and compelling. Joshua is one of the greatest lyricists in SA.

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Inge then introduced her brand new song that she has just written – Inge shared that she is dedicating it to Kirstenbosch Gardens and the beauty of Africa.

ImageImageLaurie Levine and Josie Field decided to take their show ‘Side By Side’ on the road, bringing their music literally to your doorstep! Their acoustic set utilizes a variety of instruments including guitar, banjo, ukulele and more.  Laurie has an angelic sound to her voice and Josie has a deep powerful voice and together they bring a blend of folk, blues and a touch of country to their music.  Some old and some new  – which bring a feeling of unity and community. I was fortunate enough to watch them at Studio 7 on their last visit to the mother city and walked away with a feeling of peace and serenity.

The bond between Laurie and Josie is something beautiful to behold.  When love for music and skill are joined together, magic happens.

ImageImageImageImageManouche is a band with a definite gypsey/jazz feel to their music.  I loved every minute of their spunk and the jovial touch they bring to their performance.

Anneli Thandeka is a ball of fire and she sets your heart ablaze with her light.

The band comprises of Anneli Thandeka Kamfer-Vocals, Lize Dekker-Accordion/ keyboard and vocals, Renee Stander-Violin, Bernard Kotze-guitar/composer/arranger, Sarah Blake-double bass. They had the audience eating out of their hand so to speak and people were humming along and enjoying the spontaneity of the moment.

ALBERTAlbert Frost is a name that has been around for years and what a name he has become in our country.

It was the first time I was watching him and I was swept away by the pure brilliance of his guitar playing.

His music has a blues feel, but his voice has an unmistakable rock edge.  Albert works well with other artists and this is a great strength.  I could see his respect for his fellow artists and theirs in return.  No small wonder that Albert is so well known.  Albert has performed at almost every festival in SA.

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Next up was a man that made my heart melt with his guitar playing. Tony Cox is a winner of 3 South African ‘best instrumental’ SAMA awards. Tony was born in Zimbabwe but has lived in South Africa since 1969.

His music has a rich African feel to it and sitting there listening to him play I felt like this is where I belong– a feeling of home was felt.

Tony is a gentle, quiet and unassuming artist with a heart of gold.

ImageA little lady by the name of Natasha Meister walked onto the stage and all I can say is dynamite sure comes in small packages.  Natasha has a rich, powerful voice that has a true ‘bluesy’ feel to it. Together with her guitar playing and singing she dominated the stage with her presence.  Natasha’s music is eloquent and she left a deep impression with her soul performance.

ImageImageMark Fransman and Jeremy Olivier teamed up to perform some songs.  Mark is a multi-award winning producer and artist that hails from South Africa. He has worked with artists such as Pharaoh Sanders, Finley Quaye, Soweto Kinch, Louis Moholo, René McLean, Hein van de Geyn, Zim Nqwana, Sibongile Khumalo, Winston Mankunku, Jimmy Dlu Dlu and Dave Young to mention a few.  For all the jazz lovers present Mark certainly was the cherry on the cake. Jeremy performed his song ‘Beautiful’ and I don’t think there was a dry eye after his performance.

Jeremy has a charming stage personality.  He has worked with several international artists, such as George Benson, Katherine Jenkins, Jonathan Butler and more recently, Daniel Bedingfield.

ImageImageImageBeatenberg are a group of three young men who have wowed and charmed young people across SA.  Their music has a pop/electro feel and there is a definite quirky style to their music.

Totally versatile, young and different – this is the sound they bring.  I think this is what captivates the heart, as there is no sound that can be compared to Beatenberg – they are totally original and one of a kind.

A special mention must be made to the drummer who caught every eye present with his enthusiasm and expression.

ImageLuna Paige, Guy Collins and Gerald Clark are names that are well known throughout the country.

It was the first time I was to hear Luna sing and her voice has a haunting presence that lingers long after and at the same time has a lilting ‘honey like’ quality that soothes the soul.

I have been listening avidly to her songs this week and am deeply moved by her beautiful sound. No wonder Luna was teamed up with Guy and Gerald.  Luna’s 5th album will be released sometime in May.

ImageI had the pleasure of watching Guy Collins perform at the Folk Festival held at the Baxter Theatre last year and he certainly was the highlight of the evening.

From the moment he walks onto a stage you feel a stillness enter your heart and your ears become deaf to everything else around you.  It is almost like your soul has ears.

Guy has a certain presence that cannot be denied and seeing him holding a banjo in his hands brought instant exhilaration.  His love for music is written all over his face and you walk away enriched for the experience of who Guy Collins is.

ImageGerald Clark is an artist that has been around for more then a decade and has a strong blues/country sound.  The Afrikaans community love his album ‘Sweepslag’, which received three Tempo nominations, two Vonk nominations and even a SAMA nomination for Best Alternative Afrikaans Album. Over the years, Gerald has also collaborated with many big-name artists in the SA music industry from Albert Frost to Bok van Blerk and Van Coke Kartel. Here is an artist that works as a team player alongside his fellow artists in the industry.

ImageLead singer for the rock band Springbok Nude Girls, Arno Carstens has released 7 albums and had 18 top ten singles. He has won 5 SA music awards.  Arno together with Albert  Frost wooed the audience with their catchy sound.  ‘The Another Universe’, Arno’s debut solo album, was released in 2003 and as one of the most anticipated solo projects in South African music history, did not disappoint, becoming the biggest selling South African English rock album this side of the millennium. The platinum selling album won a SAMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2004. Arno has a strong rock/pop sound and I could tell the crowd knew his music.

ImageImageA big thank you goes out to Gavin Minter who organized this event and who did a superb job as MC for the evening. Gavin truly outdid himself with yet another mind blowing experience.  He is a musician in his own right and a very accomplished one at that. Gavin Minter is a South African singer, saxophonist, percussionist, writer, composer, producer, promoter and music agent. South Africa is rich in many talented artists and what a delight it was to sit on African soil listening to music that is truly South African.

Kirstenbosch Gardens is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world and what a picture perfect setting for a music event such as this.  Looking around at the view of the majestic mountain and gardens I felt that nature had touched everyone present, just as music had touched and stirred the nature of mankind.

To experience the joy of music, is to experience a spiritual connection.

To find out when the next Cape Town Folk Festival is happening, check out their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cape-Town-Folk-n-Acoustic-Music-Festival/113231878787427

Be sure not to miss out on this experience, it may just change your life.

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