African jazz band gets Stellies jamming to a new beat

Jazz band, African Rhythm Productions brought soul to Stellenbosch on Thursday night and announced their 2018 world tour.

The 11-piece band based in Pretoria, wowed concert-goers when they performed at the Gallery of the University of Stellenbosch (GUS).

Lead vocalist and lyricist Nthabiseng Sentso says that consistency is key for African Rhythm Production. PHOTO: Christina Pitt

Lead vocalist and lyricist Nthabiseng Sentso says that consistency is key for African Rhythm Production. PHOTO: Christina Pitt

The ensemble included bongo drums, traditional African instruments, marimbas, and stylistic vocals. The talented group also includes dancers, choreographers and fashion designers.

After the performance, the African Rhythm Productions manager, Eric Thoka, announced that the band will be performing in Boston, Chicago and Switzerland next year. However, he assured everyone that they wouldn’t forget to come home.

Audience members did not hesitate to get on their feet during the performance. Students in African-inspired outfits danced side-by-side with older jazz enthusiasts.


VIDEO: Welile Makena

“It was truly a great experience. You could feel their love for music and the amazing time they were having from the stage,” said BMus student, Chandry Windvogel (21).

Another concert-goer, BA student Apiwe Bomela (21) summed the performance up in three words: “It was lit.”

African Rhythm Productions began their Cape Town tour on 21 September.  The tour will include venues such as Iziko Museum, Gugulethu Square and V&A Waterfront. This is their first tour beyond Gauteng.

The group was born in Munsienville, a township in Krugersdorp, in 2011. Their performances on the streets of Johannesburg and Pretoria, led to their YouTube video going viral on social media. This has led to a number of opportunities and the band has since been featured in Elle Decoration Magazine, CNN and SABC.

Curator, Valeria Geselev (33) introduced the band and told the story of how she fell in love with their sound. She spoke of how she ran into the group by chance in Cape Town last year. “They gave us a mind blowing 16 minute set!” she exclaimed.

She then booked the band via Facebook and enlisted the help of Alliance Français Stellenbosch to fund the event.

This performance is part of GUS Stellies Jazz Experiment which aims to turn “this white cube into a multidisciplinary hub,” according to the GUS website. – Christina Pitt and Wellie Makena

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