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Tribute to radio gets fine-tuning for return

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TO SW ClarenceAlistair ETCH

Last year’s Radio Classics with Alistair Izobell and Clarence Ford turned out to be such a success that the pair are doing it again.

David Kramer was in the audience for the last iteration and liked what he saw, so this year they have a director and a more elaborate stage design.

“You get a sense that we are celebrating the role of music in our lives,” explained Heart 104.9FM DJ Clarence Ford.

Ford said there wasn’t much of a storyline to the show, “except us hankering after the time when music dominated our lives, when there was only radio and print, when radio was the centrepiece for entertainment and information purposes in the home.

“I represent probably the last generation that can identify with that and how we reference music because of that.

“It was an aural experience. Now people say: ‘That was ’n kwaai song, did you see the video?’

“We may also reflect on the quality of music and how the imaging thereof has come to bear on the musicality and lyrics.

“It’s now made for commercial purposes rather than the emotional messages.”

In addition to making the performance more of an elaborately staged show, Kramer has also helped to refine the repertoire.

For Ford and Izobell there are only two types of music – good and bad – so they have chosen an eclectic mix of everything from Danny Boy to music by Bread, all influenced by their Cape Flats working-class background.

While there are a few songs that made the transition from last year’s show, there are also new ones, but for the most part they have gone for powerful lyrics and simple, haunting melodies: “The ones that travel with you for a while,” said Ford.

He felt compelled to mention that songs by Nat King Cole and Don McLean would also be used, and he would even be singing one.

Ford will step out of his radio booth on stage to try his hand at the actual singing: “That’s the comic relief,” he joked (or not).

The stage is fairly interactive in that the musicians will move through a giant wireless, back and forth with their instruments, depending on their contribution.

Luckily, Ford is not the only singer, with Izobell leading the pack of Nur Abrahams, Edith Plaatjies, Aleshia Solomons and a seven-piece band led by Don-Veno Prins.

lAlistair Izobell and Clarence Ford’s Radio Classics will take place at the Baxter Theatre from Friday to January 5. Performances are Tuesdays to Fridays at 8pm and Saturdays at 5pm and 8.30pm. Special New Year’s performance at 9pm on December 31. Tickets: R125 to R150 at Computicket.


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