Phiri plays guitar

2009-12-11 00:00

A UNIQUE mini-festival, featuring the legendary Ray “Chikapa” Phiri from Stimela and Paul Simon of ­Graceland fame, the new version of Neill Solomon and The Uptown Rhythm Dogs, and the exciting Afro-Asian outfit Strings and Skins, takes place at Jus’ Jazzin’ in Umhlanga Rocks from December 15 to 17.

It was in the early nineties that ­Simon asked Phiri and Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join the Graceland project, which helped the South Africans make names for themselves abroad.

Phiri was to collaborate with the American singer and musician again on Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints ­album, which saw him perform in Central Park and Madison Square Garden. He has since released a solo album and has been active in education and cultural work, especially in his home province of Mpumalanga.

Neill Solomon and The Uptown Rhythm Dogs is a new version of the highly successful and influential South African eighties group, The Uptown Rhythm Dogs, which was one of the first outfits to mix world music elements with rock, jazz and folk. It had a string of hits including Roxy Lady, Voices, The Occupant, Disposable Ladies and Don’t Go Away.

Now percussionist Dan Chiorboli and singer and songwriter Solomon have teamed up to recreate the group with master guitarist Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades. Playing songs off its multi-award album The Occupant, the group also performs some of Solomon’s solo music.

Finally, Strings ‘n Skins, which consists of multi-instrumentalist Georgiades and Ashish Joshi, plays an Afro-Asian hybrid beat on traditional instruments.

This special jazz festival takes place at Jus’ Jazzin’ (ex Foxy’s), corner Umhlanga Rocks Drive and Northway. Tickets are R80, excluding supper, and the music begins at 8.30 pm.

Early booking is advised. Tickets can be booked at 031 563 4530.

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