Music musts: Playlists and Travel

Music musts: Playlists and Travel
By Jonathan Duguid

By Jonathan Duguid

Before I start my actual column for the week, I’d just like to offer up congratulations to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who scooped up their fourth Grammy Award this past Monday (Sunday night, USA time). The traditional South African choir tied with The Gipsy Kings at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, in the category of Best World Music Album for their album, ‘Singing for Peace Around the World’. Congrats LBM. You’ve done us proud.
For those of you who don’t know (basically those who don’t follow me on Twitter), this week I’m writing to you from the golden soils of Johannesburg.

To get to my family, who stay in the leafy suburb of Rivonia, I flew from Cape Town International to O.R. Tambo International, caught the Gautrain to Sandton, and then took a Gautrain bus from Sandton to Rivonia. It was my first time taking the Gautrain and I loved it so much, I’m planning on using it a bit more while I’m here. The trip in total, from flight to arrival and the home of my grandparents was just under three-and-a-half hours long, which is not shabby when you think of the alternatives. But still, it’s quite a long time to be sitting doing pretty much nothing, so what does one do? Jam to some good music (or at least that’s what I did!)

I put together a playlist on my phone, aptly called “Air Trip” (as opposed to “Road Trip”), and spent most of the flight and trip with my headphones on, bobbing my head, tapping my foot, occasionally throwing my hands in the air, and mouthing the words to some of my favourite songs. (The poor bloke who had to sit next to me in the tightly packed cabin…)
Something I realized about my playlist was that it was about half local music. Yes, I had the more traditional road trip songs from international artists, like AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, but I also had such a wonderful contingent of local talent, like Jarrad Ricketts, Loki, Die Heuwels Fantasties, and a whole whack more – something that just re-instilled the great pride that I have in being South African.

So, my question to you this week is: how much local music do you own? If you don’t have that much – get on it! There’s nothing quite as great as owning an album or single of a quality SA artist.
Now let’s get to the gigs to check out this weekend. Usually, I write an assortment, but this week I thought I’d go for a theme – classical. Why? Well, it’s rather rare to have so much lovely classical music happening during one weekend.
On Friday, January 31, the Benjamin Jephta Quartet will be performing at The Mahogany Room, 79 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town. The quartet features Jephta on bass, Marlon Clive Witbooi on drums, Buddy Wells on sax and this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Kyle Shepherd on piano. There’s a show at 8.30pm and 10.30pm. Tickets are R60 per show or R100 for both. Students pay R40 per show or R70 for both. To book, call 076 679 2697.

Enjoy a trip down memory lane with South Africa’s ambassadors of swing, The Jonny Cooper Orchestra on Saturday, February 1, from 7pm, on the lawn of the Greenways Hotel in Bishop’s Court. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy an evening of swing as the sun sets upon Cape Town from what has been described as one of the most successful professional Big Bands in the history of South Africa. Tickets are R300 and are available from Computicket.

On Sunday, February 2, there’s the annual Opera in a Convent Garden concert, which is held in the beautiful gardens of Springfield Convent in Wynberg. The evening will showcase wonderful opera performers with orchestral accompaniment. It all starts at 5.30pm and tickets are R120 for adults, R40 for scholars, and free for children under 10. Pack a picnic, or buy refreshments there. For more information, send an email to

Twitter: @JonathanDuguid