To me, the second instalment of The Cape Town World Music Festival was a thorough lesson to the genre that has been lazily deemed world music. A diverse line-up of local and international acts gathered at the City Hall in the CBD for what played as a musical journey from Cape Town into the rest of the world. The equally diverse audience of the two-day event was treated to a roaster that boasted acts from as far as China, the US, Mali, and Mozambique among others.
The festival opened on Friday evening with a fantastic performance by local band Ottoman Slap who took us to Europe by performing a traditional Romanian love song in Spanish. They were innovative that at some point during their set, their saxophonist played a saw with a bow as a musical instrument.
I had to navigate between the Main Stage and a marquee that doubled as the Electronic and the Seated Stage to get a feel of most of the performances. So after enjoying Ottoman Slap’s mesmerizing percussion and accordion I made my way to the marquee which was filled to the brim, to hear the soothing croonings of Bongeziwe Mabandla. He wowed his fans as he treated them to music from his upcoming sophomore album.
He strummed his guitar creating an intimate aura to an attentive audience. After playing three songs from his upcoming album, the crowd obliged him to play something from his debut. He obeyed. And they sang along to “Isizathu”. Bongeziwe then did an impromptu performance with Malian vocalist Vieux Farka Toure on the main stage.
I am not sure whether the marquee was small or people were just keen on seeing Derek Gripper’s set. It was fully packed when he played. I was astonished when he pulled out a mbira (traditional Zimbabwean instrument) at some point during his set.
Miss H, a deejay from Durban who incorporates traditional Indian music with electro and dubstep, had the crowd on the Electronic Stage getting down. After being confused on what other weird move I could try, I proceeded to the main stage to hear Los Tacos – a band comprising of artists from Cape Town and Columbia with a rapper.
Although they were energetic on stage and interactive with the crowd I lost interest in their performance after the third song as the music and the raps sounded monotonous.
I made my way to the Electronic Stage to watch Okmalumkoolkat, whose performance was at the top of my must-see list. On the one’s and two’s was electronic music deejay Jakobsnake. Okmalume brought the house, or rather the marquee down with his animated dance moves. Throughout his entire set Bhut’yang’chaza had the crowd amped. He did his verse off JR’s “Bob Mabena” which he’s featured on alongside Spoek Mathambo. The crowd was in a frenzy when he did his verse off Cassper Nyovest’s hit “Gusheshe”. He finished his set with “Umswenko”. A solid performance from the Future mfana.
The Brother Moves On closed Friday night off with peculiar stage presence. They were, as usual, a marvel to watch. They were so wild on stage that at some point they even took off their trousers! A fitting performance to end off an awesome night.
Saturday’s performances lived up to the standards that were set on Friday night. First up on the Main Stage was Jam You a band from China who performed to an almost empty venue as people were still making their way into the venue at that time.
Fresh from winning an award at the Grahamstown Arts Festival, SAMA award-winner Guy Buttery played to a packed marquee. He wowed the crowd with his mellow guitar strings complemented by Gareth Gale’s lively drumming.
The Tulips, a 20-piece band graced the main stage with a dose of kaapse klopse music. They had the crowd singing along to “Daar Kom Die Alibama” (which the band’s conductor said was the oldest Afrikaans song ever).
Beatenberg took to the Main Stage and they had the crowd singing along to their hits such as “Chelsea Blakemore” , their new single “Rafael” and a cover of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”. Of course they concluded their set with their record-breaking DJ Clock-assisted single, “Pluto – Remember You”.
Speaking of DJ Clock, he played to a very energetic crowd at the Electronic Stage, which danced and sang along to most of his set.
Ras Haitrim, a Mozambican reggae artist rendered a solid performance on the Main Stage while Sannie Fox and Derek Gripper gave a stellar performance on the Seated Stage.
Closing the festival on the Main Stage was none other than King Tha – the mighty Thandiswa Mazwai. As per usual fashion, she was amazing. Throughout her set, she managed to captivate the crowd making sure they never left the stage’s vicinity. The organisers were not mistaken by placing her as the last act. Hers was definitely one of the highlight performances of the festival.
Overall, the second installment of the CTWMF was a great festival and the line up was a marvellous display of world music.
The sound was exceptional and I found the festival organised to a tee. The food was ridiculously priced but all in all an awesome lesson in music.
Images by Matthew Zients