The next great music thing today following on from The Soil:
Nearly 30 years ago, way before I became a black theatre icon, I had a different life as a musician. Much of it was as the leader of an incredibly unsuccessful band with the highly original name of Felix & the Cats. It was my band, I organized everything so I got all the guitar solos (this may explain our lack of any form of success). I was also teaching music at Goldsmiths college and one day a young man from Zimbabwe joined my class. It was clear from the first lesson that he was extremely good, way beyond this college, so I asked him to join my band. He did and from the first rehearsal I relegated myself to 2nd guitarist. His name was Louis Mhlanga and he stayed with us for about a year then disappeared, I think, back to Zimbabwe (this was in the days when Mugabe was still a good guy).
So why am I telling you all this? Because today I went to see Louis play at the Festival. For the first time in nearly 30 years and he hasn’t aged a day. His playing is even more superb as he graced his way through a 1 hour unplugged solo set. We met up after – two very happy people – and we’ll hook up more as the festival goes on: a very warm man with a mountain of music inside him.
And to end this music days to end all music days Pervaiz suggested we go to The Beauty of the Voice, a jazz gig featuring the Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez and the stunning scat voice of Sibongile Khumalo. More than abley backed by Victor Msondo on bass, Clement Benny on drums and Shannon Mowday on saxes. Everyone was at or near the top of their game but it was that voice that made the evening. Check her out on you tube or wherever, she’s a gymnast with that larynx.
So one of the more musically fulfilling days of my life – wish you could have all been there.
Posted by felix, Saturday 26th June, 2010