It’s not every day that you get to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon listening to the sounds of South Africa’s best musicians.
With an incredible, synergetic two-man outfit, musical veterans Steve Newman and Ashish Joshi are clear reminders of what music should be about – sincere, spirited and dynamic.
Lounging at The Castle guest house in Belmont Valley, we were far from the hubbub of town, packed to the brim with National Arts Festival goers. In this idyllic setting, Newman and Joshi put on an impromptu performance that had the audience quiet with admiration.
Although I’ve heard of the duo before, and their internationally successful career precedes them, watching them perform was something altogether.
Newman is a master manipulator of the guitar strings, drawing on intricate flamenco melodies with a remarkable ease.
Joshi, having joined him mid-performance, compliments his style perfectly with the beats of his tabla. Although they are both strong, accomplished musicians in their own right, the fusion of their skills made for an out-of-the-ordinary and memorable performance for all.
Treated to an unusually sunny day for the middle of a Grahamstown winter, the audience of guests and residents was completely transfixed.
While the festival is primarily made by the meticulously organised programme, which allows for 2000 shows to be put on in 11 days, its magic often lies in the moments in between the official programme.
There is no doubt that audiences should go and watch Newman and Joshi at their shows, but it certainly was a rare festival treat to have these musical legends all to ourselves.
» Steve Newman and Ashish Joshi will be performing from July 5 – 8 at The Graham Hotel. Tickets are available at www.nationalartsfestival.co.za.
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