Hugh and Riley Masekela.
Hugh and Riley Masekela.
Hugh and Riley Masekela.
Hugh and Riley Masekela.
Hugh and Riley Masekela.
Hugh and Riley Masekela.

DURBAN: TALENTED Queensburgh drummer Riley Giandhari is able to flow with all music genres, but tapping jazz beats on a drum kit is his favoured groove mode.
The 21-year-old, who was selected to perform with the Standard Bank National Youth Band at the Grahamstown Youth Festival last year, is a sought-after drummer on the local music scene.

His other notable gig in 2016 was a trip to Norway as part of a music exchange ensemble that performed at the Oslo Jazz Festival.

While there, he also got to jam with Grammy Award-winning jazz artist, Michael League from the group Snarky Puppy.

Some of Giandhari’s 2017 highs included collaborating with jazz legend Hugh Masekela and performances with the International Youth Jazz Band in Grahamstown.

Giandhari’s latest musical feat, A Night Down in New Orleans at Egyptian Ella’s, a creative jazzy musical production that had Durban audiences swinging to its compelling storyline during recent showings, has also excited him.

While Giandhari has drummed other styles, he favours the “festive” jazz drum beats, especially the New Orleans style jazz because he finds it “groovy and enjoyable”.

A Night Down in New Orleans at Egyptian Ella’s has given him the platform to indulge in the “swinging” way of jazzing.

Giandhari connected with the band Jazz Minkeys for the production, where music tells the bulk of story.

The Jazz Minkeys next showing will be at the Point Yacht Club’s Islander Room on August 26 and 27.

Jazz Minkeys, led by Daniel Sheldon, is an eight-piece jazz ensemble, comprising former University of KZN music students.

“Daniel (Sheldon) came up with the story ideas for the song. The arrangement of music for this show is catchy, the story draws you in and gets audience’s feet tapping,” enthused Giandhari.

He said the musical was a depiction of how an exotic dancing girl (Ella) who performed in New Orleans clubs, but moved back to her homeland Egypt to find herself as she gained weight.

Ella dances near the Nile, gets back to peak condition and returns to New Orleans with more verve and starts her own club.

“We’re expecting good attendances for our next performances,” said Giandhari, who was inspired musically by his father, Pravin, a Durban drum legend.

Giandhari is presently completing his honours degree in music and conducts drum lessons, in between practice and playing on big stages.

He said he hoped to travel the world to play music in the future.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE