Gareth Smith

The First Thursday Initiative has been growing in leaps and bounds in Cape Town. Gareth Pearson, who has also spearheaded TEDx Stellenbosch as well as Cape Town Bicycle Commuter and East City Alley, decided to introduce what is already a global phenomenon to Cape Town.

What it entails is all the art galleries in town, say, between Wale and Hout streets, staying open later than usual. So every first Thursday of the month (since November), galleries have been open until 9pm.

This Thursday is the first Thursday of the month, but this time around, the Youngblood Arts and Culture Development Gallery, which is inside the Beautiful Life Building, has a twist.

They will also be offering live music for your enjoyment in the form of The Gareth Smit Proj. It is lead by pianist and guitarist, Gareth Smit (who composed all the material that will be performed) and features Roger Bashew (bass), James van Minnen, aka The Steady Tiger, (percussion/drums), Jonny Blundell (electric guitar) and Gabrielle Demblon on vocals.

“They’re all experienced session musicians and everyone brings their expertise,” says Smit about choosing the members of the Proj. “I also just developed friendships with them through playing gigs together and Gabrielle and I went to high school together so we go way back.

“The others are quite established and more than anything I work really well with all of them.”

Smit, who is also a photographer for a newspaper house, sounds excited about finally being able to perform the material he has composed.

“The Youngblood Arts and Culture Development Gallery is really involved in developing art and music, drama and food,” comments Smit. “They’re going to start teaching people the culinary arts there. So my involvement with them is that I get to play their piano, once every two weeks.

“It’s just kind of grown and I just wanted to perform as a band. I started piano in about grade four and then I had this dream of playing the bass guitar. My dad is a guitarist and was trying to get me to play too, but I wasn’t interested.

“I spent time in the US and it was there that I got into classical composition for the piano.I came back to Cape Town and started writing songs driven by the piano.

“This is first time I’m going to play my original music.We’re just a well-structured collective trying to create something beautiful everyone can enjoy.”

• Catch The Gareth Smit Proj at the Youngblood Arts and Culture Development Gallery, Beautiful Life Building, 70-72 Bree Street, Thursday, from 7pm to 10pm. Entrance is free.