O Magazine – August 2013 – Interview

The Interview – Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse: A disco man’s jazz tribute | City Press

From City Press

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse blows a note on his alto sax at his home in Pimville, Soweto. Picture: Lerato Maduna

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse blows a note on his alto sax at his home in Pimville, Soweto. Picture: Lerato Maduna

As celebrities brush shoulders in a Joburg hotel lobby, Percy Mabandu speaks to Sipho Mabuse about his forthcoming tribute to his two favourite jazz giants

To attempt a sit-down with Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, the iconic producer and multi-instrumentalist whose genius helped shape South Africa’s musical identity since the 1970s, is to mimic a day at the proverbial lekgotla.

Each piece of insight gleaned from his chatter and every second sip of tea shared are punctuated by a notable well-wisher wanting to declare their admiration.

Mabuse is billed to headline this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Newtown, Joburg, next month. He has chosen to dedicate his set at the festival to the memory of two late South African greats, Zim Ngqawana and Bheki Mseleku.

We meet at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, which easily becomes a hive of activity and a site of what appears to be a day of important encounters.

First in line is radio presenter and CEO of Business Arts SA, Michelle Constant. Her departure is followed by a spell of focused conversation. It involves Mabuse explaining the thinking behind his chosen theme.

“For me, it’s more than just about profiling jazz or Zim Ngqawana. It’s actually about raising the consciousness and the psyche of our society about our musical wealth. I felt that this country has not yet paid homage to many of our musicians who’ve made tremendous contributions to who we are: the likes of Allen Kwela and Mackay Davashe, to mention a few,” says Mabuse.

He indicates that he chose Ngqawana and Mseleku because of his personal closeness to them and he felt strongly about them.

But the choice comes with a touch of controversy among the jazz police. Mabuse’s career as a musician places him outside of the popular perceptions of people who qualify to honour these two modern jazz masters.

Mabuse launched his walk along the musical path with an African soul group called The Beaters in the mid-70s. The group toured Zimbabwe and returned so inspired by the land and its people that the trio – Mabuse, Om Alec Khaoli and Selby Ntuli – renamed themselves Harari.

Mabuse and his band drew on funk, soul and pop musical styles, which they delivered in Sesotho and isiZulu. As far as his credentials as a producer go, the 62-year-old maestro counts the likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri of Stimela and Sibongile Khumalo among some of his those he’s worked with.

As a performer, his name resonates more with the jive experience of party music than the spiritual lift of Ngqawana’s songbook or the intellectual rigour of Mseleku’s repertoire.

1980s superhits like Burn Out and Shikisha are only two examples. But Mabuse understands where the chips are stacked. “I don’t consider myself a jazz musician, but I’m a lover of jazz music. I’m transcending section barriers,” he says.

Mabuse further offers a framework built around his understanding of Ngqawana’s.

He begins by describing the late composer’s music as being about building a consciousness of who we are as a people.

Further, he offers: “What was special for me about Ngqawana was that there were no boundaries to who he spoke to. He was gracious and open. He was kind and encouraging.”

Then we are interrupted by his phone. It belts out a ringtone of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing Ebony And Ivory. It’s a call from home, which he cuts short on account of our chat.

But it is only followed by another welcome interruption. This time it is Mamphela Ramphele, the academic and businesswoman turned leader of the newly launched political party, Agang.

She manages a steady stride towards our table, extends a hug and a set of warm platitudes about how we have a great country that we all need to work hard to build. She leaves and we take off on the subject of Mabuse’s credentials.

How will he answer the jazz police and those who make controversy of him climbing the jazz bandstand, with the legacy of two exceptional jazzmen in tow?

He shoots back: “The basis of my music is classical. I was trained as a classical flute player. I studied under Professor Khabi Mngoma when he was still at Dorkay House. I dropped out because I wanted to be a performer. I was impatient with it. Classical music is rigid. You can’t be studying and gigging at the same time.”

Mabuse is banking on the sincerity of his efforts and the importance of his project to carry the day.

He is yet to finalise his personnel, but is looking at working with people who can share his sentiment about honouring Ngqawana and Mseleku. The gig acquires an even more sacrosanct theme when one considers Mseleku’s tortured experience.

“He came back home ecstatic after independence (the 1994 elections), eager to plough back into the land of his birth. The country had no space for him. So he went back to exile to die,” says Mabuse, with measured emotion in his voice.

Mseleku died in London in 2008 after a struggle with diabetes, financial difficulties, politics and insufficient recognition of his prodigious gift.

Ngqawana passed away in 2011 after suffering a stroke during a rehearsal in Joburg. He, too, was notably appreciated more overseas than in South Africa.

This is part of the burning motivation for Mabuse’s tribute performance.

“I felt we owe it to them,” he says. It is with this sentiment that Mabuse hopes his disco fans will not expect to hear him play regular hits.

Hunching on to the table with his eyes slightly squinted, he says: “I wanted them to understand I’m going to be there paying tribute. I don’t want people coming there, screaming: ‘Come on, play Burn Out!’”

» Mabuse will perform on the Bassline stage on August 24 at 11.30pm

Mandela Rhodes Foundation 10th Anniversary 27 July 2013 – City Hall Cape Town

Photos by Andrew Brown

Chiefs hold on to beat Crusaders in a classic game. They host the 2013 Super Rugby final next week

The Chiefs will host their second Super Rugby final in as many years after somehow managing to turn the tables on the Crusaders in tonight’s semifinal in Hamilton.

Willed on by a crowd of about 22,000, the home side were on the back foot early in the second half, trailing 9-3 at halftime, only to score the next 17 points, including the first two tries of the match.

Having finished the regular season top of the table, the Chiefs now have the luxury of waiting at home in Hamilton for either the Bulls or Brumbies to travel from South Africa for the final, just as the Sharks had to do last year.

The Crusaders’ lineout proved a real weapon in the first spell, stealing four of the Chiefs’ throw-ins and losing just one of their own, and their scrum provided a solid platform.

But their points all came from the boot of Dan Carter, who kicked three out of four penalty shots at goal as the home side’s discipline let them down in key defensive situations.

And the Chiefs’ error rate was just too high for them to ram home some promising early attacks, while the bounce of the ball evaded fullback Gareth Anscombe when a chargedown promised to deliver a try.

The home side resorted to a disappointing early kicking game in the second quarter that was nowhere near as effective as their ball carrying and wide attacking tactics had been earlier on.

That followed one of the Crusaders’ best scoring chances, albeit from long range, when Tom Taylor broke out of his own 22 and put All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg into space. It took a clever piece of defence from Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai to intercept as Dagg tried to put winger Tom Marshall away down the right flank.

The Crusaders’ three penalty goals all came within an eight-minute period through the middle of the half and Aaron Cruden’s sole three-pointer also came during that time.

Carter had a crack at a dropped goal after the halftime hooter after a long and patient buildup but he hit it poorly and it skimmed away low and to the right.

The Chiefs dodged a bullet a couple of minutes after the break when, under penalty advantage, prop Wyatt Crockett picked and went through the middle of ruck and put skipper Kieran Read away only for defending winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma to knock the ball up in the air and regather.

To add insult to the Crusaders’ injury Carter hit an upright with his kick at goal and Cruden made no mistake with one of his own a minute later to make it 9-6.

That seemed to lift the home side and skipper Craig Clarke sparked a counterattack, the Crusaders were pinned back in their own corner, a penalty kick at goal was turned down in favour of a lineout and winger Lelia Masaga produced a piece of individual magic, smashing through George Whitelock and two other defenders to score handy to the posts.

The Cruden conversion for a 13-9 lead to the Chiefs was a formality but there was no time to reflect on that as the Crusaders immediately launched a dangerous attack, only to see it founder after immense home defence.

As if that wasn’t enough of a dagger blow to the TAB favourites, big defence by the Chiefs forced a passing error by the visitors and Cruden snatched the intercept and raced 40m to score by the posts and convert.

At 20-9 the Chiefs suddenly had the upper hand, but a piece of superb pace and swerve from Dagg to score in the corner two minutes later ensured the Crusaders stayed in the hunt and Carter converted from wide out to narrow the gap to 20-16.

Cruden had the chance to put the lead out to seven points with 10 minutes to play but his 34m kick from by the touchline just sailed wide of the righthand upright.

Carter didn’t make the same mistake four minutes later when replacement halfback August Pulu conceded a foolish penalty to close it to 20-19 and Cruden’s restart didn’t go 10m.

That meant field position again for the visitors and Carter had an early crack at a dropped goal from a lineout but it went wide and the Chiefs’ defence again proved the key at the end.

Chiefs 20 (Lelia Masaga, Aaron Cruden tries; Aaron Cruden 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals) Crusaders 19 (Israel Dagg try; Dan Carter conversion, 4 penalty goals). Halftime 9-3.

– © Fairfax NZ News

Simple Minds – Live in South Africa in Nov

Simple Minds – Live in South Africa

Simple Minds are arguably one of the best live bands in the world and over a thirty year career have been responsible for some of the most innovative and enduring anthems in rock music. The band scored a string of hit singles, and are best known for their 1985 hit “Don`t You (Forget About Me)” (UK #7, US #1), from the soundtrack of the John Hughes film The Breakfast Club. Their other more prominent hits include “Alive and Kicking” (UK #7, US #3) and “Belfast Child” (UK #1).

Simple Minds is Scotland`s most successful rock group to date. Having topped America`s Billboard chart, the Glasgow band have achieved six No.1 albums in the UK as well hitting the top spot in countless other territories including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Simple Minds are live in South Africa in:

Johannesburg

Friday 1st November -20:00 at The Big Top Arena, Carnival City

Saturday 2nd November – 20:00 at The Big Top Arena, Carnival City

Cape Town

Sunday 3rd November – 19:00 at The Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino

Tickets available through Computicket

Crusaders coach has a go at the Chiefs

Todd Blackadder has drawn first blood.

Having alleged the Chiefs’ tactics of using support runners to knock over opposition defenders is illegal, Crusaders coach Blackadder has fired the opening shot ahead of tomorrow night’s Super Rugby semi-final at Waikato Stadium.

After sifting through footage of the Chiefs’ past performances, Blackadder believes some referees and their assistants have been too lenient in allowing the defending champions to wipe-out tacklers and profit by generating quick ruck ball.

When the Crusaders beat the Chiefs 43-15 in their most recent meeting on July 5, referee Jonathon White penalised the Waikato-based side six times in the first 20 minutes – many for ruck infringements.

But it is the obstructions that appear to be worrying Blackadder.

“I thought he (White) had a great game because he picked-up all the obstruction past the ball carrier which made a big difference,” Blackadder said.

“And I thought they did the same thing against the Blues (the following weekend).

“In the very first game when we played them there was a lot of obstruction – we got taken out well and truly past their ball carrier, which makes it very easy for them to get really quick ball.”

Blackadder no doubt wants referee Steve Walsh and his assistants Glen Jackson and Chris Pollock to keep their eyes peeled for the Chiefs’ tactics at Waikato Stadium.

Walsh controlled the first derby match between the Chiefs and Crusaders at Waikato Stadium on May 24 – won 28-19 by the home side who went on to claim the New Zealand conference title and win the minor premiership.

The penalty count that night was 8-all. White favoured the Chiefs 10-9 in Christchurch.

While the Crusaders were forced to play the qualifying final against the Reds last weekend, beating them 38-9, the Chiefs had the weekend off and have been preparing a frosty welcome in Hamilton.

This week the Crusaders have worked on ways to negate the Chiefs’ support runners and slowing their breakdown delivery without earning the wrath of Walsh.

“We have just targeted that to make sure we are really disciplined in that area,” Blackadder added.

“That our tackles are dominant and we are putting the right amount of pressure on.”

The Chiefs were missing All Blacks No 6 Liam Messam on July 5 because of a back complaint but coach Dave Rennie offered no excuses following that 28-point walloping.

“We were outmuscled, out-thought, outplayed and probably out-coached as well.”

When asked what positives he could take from defeat, Rennie paused and said with a wry smile: “There’s some nice chicken in the changing shed.”

Having again listed no specialist lock in the reserves – Tom Donnelly hasn’t been required to suit-up – Blackadder will rely on Richie McCaw and Luke Whitelock to add some sting in the second spell.

“That could possibly be the winning and the losing of the game – the guys that come off the bench and can do the job under pressure.”

George Whitelock is again expected to move into the second row if either younger brother Sam or Luke Romano are subbed off.

Blackadder said he had no regrets about keeping All Blacks captain McCaw on the bench.

“Mentally, he could have (started). There is no doubt about that but maybe his form might not quite be where it is meant to be in these really high-intensity games.

“That would be putting him under a lot of pressure.”

– © Fairfax NZ News

My MTN8 – Video Please vote on 083 123 6868

South Africa’s oldest football cup competition is around the corner. MTN8 is coming your way in August and what better to way to kick-start the festivities than with choosing a song that will be chanted during this year’s MTN8 Wafa Wafa football tournament.

Please vote on 083 123 6868

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