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The joy of arts festivals is to be found in the diversity. This is one of the few times that you can cross genres as easily in a day or even find different styles of one genre.
Take music as an example.
A graduate of Tshwane University of Technology, Kelebogile Boikanyo, this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, is not only performing a grand gala concert in the Settler’s Monument Guy Butler Hall but also presented a Vocal Recital in the Rhodes Chapel.
I wanted to see this Opera Africa protégé perform and preferred to see her in a more intimate setting where I could perhaps experience a more vulnerable performance.
Musically I don’t have the expertise to give an opinion other than to say that she did well. But what really interested me was the performance, showmanship and confidence this fast rising star has acquired and how she owns a stage.
Dazzling her audience in a striking red dress, she was dressed for the part. But even more impressively, the way she brought her characters to life was fun to watch and added to the delight of the concert.
Opera can sometimes be a bit daunting for those of us who are less informed and it is the young singers who have to adapt their performances to attract new audiences. She’s doing it her way and it is most enchanting.
Moving from there to a Jitsvinger concert is a mind shift that might seem too adventurous, but in the spirit of the festival, it’s a perfect fit. Afrikaans rapper is how he is titled in the festival guide, but Jitsvinger is more than that.
He first entered my consciousness together with the sublime composer/jazz pianist Kyle Shepherd when they staged Afrikaaps, a show that tackled the roots and different applications of die taal.
What appealed this time round wasn’t only the mix of hip hop and jazz or the extraordinary talent of these two artists, but also the show, the way it was staged and the Jitsvinger lyrics. I’d love to give examples, but he’s much too quick off the mark, this skinny lad, and you have to pay very close attention to catch what he’s saying.
But when you do, it’s a blast. He has a poetic turn of phrase, a wonderful way with words and he plays with ideas and issues that concern his generation and those of us who want to share that future.
Sadly, the language barrier will prohibit many from catching this innovative showman, but the music that accompanies his thoughts, the Kyle Shepherd compositions, all of these point to serious contenders for future Young Artist awards.
From the classics to culture rap, it’s all out there, and it plays with our hearts and minds most brilliantly. The young know what they want to say and they’re willing to step out and make you listen.