Review from The Herald, Port Elisabeth, South Africa, July 19th, 2005.
Concert 'a unique, marvellous event'
GROWING COMPOSERS PREMIERES, co-ordinated by the POW Ensemble and Dawn Padmore.
TO say that the Growing Composers Premieres concert was a unique musical event would be an understatement. Earlier in the week the POW Ensemble, which is based in the Netherlands, had held workshops with a number of South African musicians. The ensemble had then picked five musicians to join them in this concert, each playing an instrument they were familiar with, which would be mixed, manipulated and altered by the Dutch artists using computers and turntables.
None of the pieces were titled, but in the first, mbira player Farai Chonimew and bow player Sazi Dlamini played their instruments while Guy Harries worked wonders on his computer and Marije Nie tap-danced to the results. The second piece saw DJ Donotask mixing and scratching a recording of a learning English as a foreign language tape, while Luc Houtkamp played saxophone and South African Braam du Toit sang. In the third piece, again featuring Dlamini and Chonimew, Houtkamp and Harries distorted their music to the point that it sounded like the audience was listening to the sounds of a rain forest rather than African traditional instrumentation.
While all that had gone before had been fascinating, the most enjoyable was the fourth piece in which Dlamini was joined by harmonica player Han Buhrs while Nie's tap dancing provided the percussion, resulting in a fascinating instrumental blues song.
Du Toit played a "mouth harp" and was joined by Jamie Jupiter blowing on a rubber pipe, the sounds of which were manipulated by computer, with comical results. But the final piece was the weirdest as DJ Donotask mixed a recording of F W de Klerk's speech unbanning the ANC, while Buhrs rubbed his thumb over his mouth, sounding like someone trying to sing while brushing his teeth.
- LEON MUSTON