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Hitting top notes at the Fringe

Published on 22 June 2016

Atiyyah Khan rounds up some of the most eagerly anticipated music acts on this year’s National Lottery Fringe

Around the world, fringe festivals exist as platforms for experimental, entertaining and edgy work – and the National Lottery Fringe at the National Arts Festival is no exception. Operating as an open-access event – that is, there’s no formal selection process or curation – the Fringe gives new artists a stage, as well as offering established musicians the opportunity to try something a little more alternative.

One such feature is Samthing Soweto, performed by singer Samkelo Mdolomba, known for being part of soulful bands such as The Soil. His performance is a “one-man experiment” that will see Mdolomba perform compositions written in Soweto in the form of a love letter.

A number of musicians who have launched albums this year will be at the Festival.  Singer-songwriter Chris Chameleon will perform music from his new solo album Firmament, while Matthew van der Want will showcase his new album, Terror and Love. Composer, vocalist and pianist Tarynne Swarts will perform tracks from her debut album Pachamama, which was recorded in Spain and features collaborations with musicians from Cuba, Spain and the US.

Following their award-winning Festival debut in 2015, Cape Town close-harmony folk group Hatchetman will be back this year, with a new album under their belt and legions of new fans.

For some healing sounds, check out Msaki and the Golden Circle Tribe, fusing soul, folk and African sounds. Her album was co-produced by Nduduzo Makhathini, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz last year, who will also perform with her. The Return of the Cypher creates a mini hip-hop festival on the National Lottery Fringe programme, seeking to revive the five elements of hip-hop in the form of music dialogues, workshops, live performances and b-boy battles.

Featuring on the line-up is Quallay, Yahkeem, Ndlulamthi , Slum Intellect, Luna Kill,  Tsviehloheem The Prince, Son Of Law, Cush Solomon and Adon Geel. Mozambiquan singer Exodus, who says he draws inspiration from Frank Ocean and Bob Marley, will visit Grahamstown to perform his unique blend of hip hop and R&B. He draws inspiration from artists like Frank Ocean and Bob Marley.

Thee Legacy is a Durban-based group that brings a new interpretation to contemporary isicathamiya without taking away from the tradition of Zulu a capella-style singing. The group were the inaugural winners of Sing Off South Africa 2015, which aired on SABC 1, and have since released an album with Sony Music.