Fataar, friends reignite the Flames

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To NDR stevefataar INLSA Steve Fataar

One of South Africa’s living treasures, guitarist Steve Fataar (pictured) of The Flames fame, will be hosting a special show on Sunday at the BAT Centre with some of the legends of the local rock ’n’ roll scene.

Down Memory Lane with Steve Fataar and Friends will celebrate some of The Flames’ greatest music from the Fifties to the Seventies.

Other household names involved in the show are Cyril Francis, Ortel Singh of The Jets, fellow Flame Idries Fredericks, Sam Cooke and Bana George. Audiences will be able to enjoy some of their most-loved tunes, such as Tell it Like it is, Your Precious love, A Place in the Sun and many more.

Chatting about the upcoming gig, Fataar explained what the show entails and his reasons for hosting the event.

“It’s literally a dip into some early memories of my musical career,” he says. “There are people like Fredericks who are involved and he still sings beautifully. We had a good history together; we made our first recordings with him in 1963. Other people in the show are Bana George, he’s one of those fortunate musicians who doesn’t drink or smoke, and he still has this incredibly smooth voice.

“There’s also a surprise for the show. Sam ‘Blessy’ Draai, who’s part of the furniture, is turning 90. He’s part of the community where my music career started. Everyone knows him there and he has been involved in community projects. It’s going to be so nice to have him on the show.

“I’ve always talked about doing shows with my old mates. I did one called People’s Concert at City Hall and it was very successful, so I thought this project would be great; to get a show with all good songs that would bring back memories to people. So it’s going to be fun, the music is what holds it all together actually. It’s all happy music, so everyone will have a good time.”

Having experienced so much and with a plethora of highlights in his career, Fataar says he can’t really pick just one: “There have been so many. Being in a band and playing music, touring with the Beach Boys, hanging out with the Rolling Stones, living in Hollywood and touring more than 30 states in America, meeting people from all over who are well known are just some of my fondest memories as a musician.”

As one of Durban’s most-loved musicians, I asked Fataar what it feels like to be so appreciated: “Sometimes I can’t come to terms with it because it doesn’t seem fair to have a title for best, better or more loved than others.

“I can understand when people see me as legendary because I’ve experienced that when I met Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. I learnt Keith’s mix and guitar and to suddenly meet him… my legs were like rubber, I was speechless, and I understood what those people who admire me feel like.

“Eventually I could relax and talk to him, he told me that he came to England to watch The Flames, but he got there late,” he laughs.

As I chatted to the humble musician, I got the impression that for Fataar, music really is his passion and he is not driven by money or fame.

“I was a young boy when I started off and I guess when you’re young you have all these ambitions and you go for it. I look at young kids now and a lot of them are my friends and I encourage them too, because I remember having those ambitions.

“It’s important that you enjoy what you do. At the end of the day we all have a life. It’s the after grow that counts for me, that is priceless. It’s truly incredible, which is why at 69, I just want to play as much music as I can and I want to share it. It’s an incredible industry to be involved in, knowing that people are being moved by songs.”

• Catch Steve Fataar and Friends on Saturday at the BAT Centre. Tickets: R100 at Computicket and Shoprite. Also, catch him on November 25 at The Docklands Hotel from noon till 3pm. Fataar then heads to Emakhosini Hotel, Chicos, for a show titled Blast From the Past. Visit facebook.com/steve.fataar


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