SUPPORT for South African music is alive and real, especially if The Tribute Concert -staged on Saturday at Moretele Park in Mamelodi Tshwane- is to be used as a measure.
Thousands that could be counted between twenty and twenty-five thousand attended the festival -with a strong picnic feel- and appeared to be more responsive to most of what was presented on stage. Early performers such as Mi Casa, Lira and Yvonne Chaka Chaka performed to a sparse crowd, but the numbers began to swell rapidly as the sun gathered her skirts and headed for a night’s rest in the west. Zonke Dikana and Johnny Clegg were among artists that arrest the spirit and soul of the crowd the most. Even the youngest in the crowd joyfully sang along to Clegg’s well known but old tunes such as Impi and Woza Friday.
Letta Mbulu seemed to struggle with her vocal delivery, a situation that has been creeping up at a few of her performances. Mafikizolo presented a meaningless performance, the kind to be forgotten the moment they departed the stage. If exhaustion is getting the better of them then they should rest. It’s harmful to want to please all the time or even worse to be greedy. Dr Thomas Chauke had arrived during the day as he was scheduled to perform when the sun was still shining but he was made to wait until just after midnight to do his thing. Together with his band they still delivered an electrifying and arresting music.
One of the low moments of the event came when the news reached one’s ears that the organizers were being made to run around by one artist who demanded to be supplied with a bottle of vodka. The shameless musician -lacking in self-respect and that of their craft- threatened not perform if the hot stuff was not brought to them. It’s absurd, childish and unprofessional – an employee demanding that the employer supply them with alcohol to drink during working hours or else they will not perform their duties. I mean really. It would seem there’s a need for a code of condut here.
While one finds it a bit tasteless for an artist to want to perform drunk, if they really wanted alcohol they should have bought it themselves – after all they were paid to perform. Even-though one is for the comfort and better treatment of artists, promoters should stand their ground to some of the ridiculous demands made by performers.
At three thirty in the morning when one left only the die-hard remained behind to enjoy the very last of performances. South African music is alive and kicking butt.