Listening to…

Shebeen.

Shebeen front-1

Playing this month at Augusta’s African Cafe is a little gem we found in our ongoing search for South African sounds that are largely unknown and yet familiar as they reflected the times and trends. Like its more famous contemporary ‘King Kong’, the recording of ‘Shebeen’ gives the listener well crafted stand-alone songs that do not succumb to the “group-sing” tendency of some musicals. Set in Cape Town’s District Six (before the apartheid government tore it down) ‘Shebeen’ fuses African jazz, kwela, marabi, and some great vocal performances from Ben Satch Masinga and,...

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High Flyers alert

Hi-Flyers Magazine Sept 2011

Hot off the press. We were interviewed by the wonderful Katherine Graham for High Flyers magazine. It is always nice to read about Augusta in the news. A SHORT EXTRACT FROM THE ARTICLE When it comes to preserving historical buildings, you won’t find anyone as passionate as Henk Klijn. The co-owner of Augusta de Mist Country Estate in Swellendam is familiar with the joys and challenges of living in a home with a history – the oldest part of the guest house dates back to 1802 and is a national monument. ‘A heritage homestead is not cheap and easy; the whole structure needs constant...

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Monteverdi Jazz

front

If you were to read the sleeve notes for this Monteverdi disc from the early music group L'Arpeggiata, then you might be forgiven for being scared off. Director, Christina Pluhar, devotes much of the space to discussing Monteverdi's use of ostinato and walking basses, which is fine if you have a music degree, but scholarly gobbledygook to most. Don't be put off. Don't be. The packaging is a red herring, and this disc has to be one of the most exciting Baroque performances to hit the record shelves this year. The group's aim is to show off the variety of Claudio Monteverdi's secular compositions,...

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Boulanger delights

Book 01

  . . his "intensity and solemnity" (Arnold Whittall's words) also pointing up their remarkable originality. Record Review / Michael Oliver, Gramophone (London) / 01. December 2002 John Eliot Gardiner is ... one of the supreme choral conductors, and it's been good to hear him in more recent masterworks of the choral repertoire. The balance of clarity and fervor he brings to Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms emphasizes its original blend of instrumental and choral color; this is its finest recording since Maazel's, and one of the best ever. The music of Lili Boulanger is an apt complement...

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A week on the Garden Route

Feeding cheese to a Drongo

Being in Swellendam at a really special guesthouse is desirable. Actually calling it your home is reason enough to never want to leave. But leave we must, once a year, to attend the annual AGM for Cape Country Routes of which we are a proud member and the Swellendam Accommodation offering for the group. This was a bittersweet event because our very close friend Kitty Snyman ended her long and very personal relationship with CCR by stepping down from the group. The sweet bit was that Michel has been voted on as a director and will be doing his best to get the most out of CCR and its presence...

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Pretty Good

Pretty in the news

South African soprano Pretty Yende has been announced as the overall winner of the International Operalia singing competition. Yende was one of ten soloists chosen from a group of 40 to take part in the final round of the competition in Moscow. She also won the Zarzuela – as well as the Audience Choice Award. Yende said that her triumph is a message that even the wildest dreams can come true, "through perseverance, hard work, patience and focus, to always strive for what you believe in". "I spent five years applying for admission and was never accepted. I however did not part with my dream...

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bachCage. Inspirational listening.

Tristano_bachCage_Front.indd

A young musician and composer causing a stir, not only on the club scene, but also in classical concert venues is probably a world-first. It may also be the first time that purists from the classical and techno camps actually agree on something – That they don’t know quite what to make of this young musician who refuses to stick to the rules. For Francesco Tristano this kind of reaction is nothing new. When he and his trio, Aufgang, begin to play techno from sheets, his puzzled audience shuffle in their seats. Experienced concert audiences and classical music lovers may feel equally baffled...

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Basement Jaxx takes ORFF

bj

Progressive rock bands in the Seventies regularly proposed that their music was so complex and important it deserved nothing less than orchestral interpretation. Punk then arrived and vehemently suggested otherwise. Even now, when artists from Metallica to techno DJ Jeff Mills push their music into classical auditoriums, they’re seen as flirting with pretentiousness – often with good reason. No one, however, would have expected Basement Jaxx to start barking up this particular tree. The south London duo are renowned for happily assimilating global sounds, R & B and dance-floor...

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Republic

Flyinghorse VIEW

This weekend sees the launchand proclamation of the most concerted marketing effort yet in this region. The Republic of Greater Swellendam will be launched with a number of events and with some fanfare, Starting at SwellenMark, on Saturday morning a number of performers will be strutting their stuff and keeping the crowds entertained while over at the Country Market on Church Square, the biggest market yet will take place, again with live performers and the kind of excellent produce you would expect from a country fair. Watch out for resident superband 'The Republicans' who have been...

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