Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Keiskamma Music Academy at the National Arts Festival 2010

The Keiskamma Music Academy had an incredible experience at the National Arts Festival (NAF), performing three concerts on the Fringe entitled "Keiskamma Songbook".

The NAF is South Africa’s largest arts festival, and one of the largest in the world (

It was amazing for us to be part of the Keiskamma Art Project’s participation in the same festival by association with the incredible “African Guernica” exhibition at the Thomas Pringle Hall. Visitors to the exhibition were invited to our concerts and we performed at the closing ceremony held in the exhibition space as a celebration of the Hamburg community and as a memorial for those who have passed away.

Throughout the festival, the music academy students grew in confidence, taking audiences by surprise with their unique vibe and music. The review in the festival newspaper (CUE) sums up the audience response: “This up-and-coming ensemble brings you the most beautiful pieces played on their recorders. It feels like you are drifting away to nature surrounded by the sounds that come out of their instruments. Through the creative use of the recorder they give a new meaning to it”.

Courtesy of the NAF’s outreach programme, the students were also privileged to attend 8 diverse shows, varying from Spanish dancing to acapella singing from Soweto to afro-jazz and finally a full scale symphony concert. They had an opportunity to formulate their own views on all that they experienced and what the festival meant to them by writing their own comments in a group journal.

Of all the festivals I have been involved in to date, I found this to be the most enjoyable and the students were exceptionally well behaved, receiving high praise from the staff of the dormitory where they stayed.

We also had excellent publicity material designed by Robbie Hofmeyr (Odd Digital Media), which raised the standard of our overall presentation tremendously. The concerts have already led to two further performance opportunities and our attractive programmes, posters and flyers have potential to further spread the word about the work of the academy.

Click here to view some photos from our first concert at the Commemoration Church on the 22nd of June 2010. (Photos by Stephane Meintjies. Used by permission).

Click here to view some photos from our third concert at the Rhodes Chapel on the 24th of July 2010. (Photos by Daniel Hutchinson).
Lastly, heartfelt thanks to the sponsors of our National Arts Festival experience, the German Development Service (DED) and Business Arts South Africa (BASA).

Post by Daniel Hutshinson