Hotstix celebrates musical journey

Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse's The Journey is a celebration as much as it's a masterclass in musicality.

The revered instrumentalist has a spring in his step as he juts from his fridge to serve us with his maroon-coloured veggie blend, one of the secrets to his youthful glow as we wait for him in his sitting room for our chat.

At 67, Mabuse looks great and shares that he does 50 laps in the swimming pool as part of his exercise.

That's more than the energy he will need later this month when he stages The Journey with Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani.

He brings an eclectic mix of instrumentalists and singers for what will be a production more than a presentation looking at some 56 years of his career.

"There comes a time when you feel like, 'I've done everything'.

"My music has been an experimental journey with no end. Now I want to share my experiences with people who made me who I am, the Sowetans."

He roped in musicians he had worked with or those who inspired him for the two-night fete.

"I've always liked challenging myself beyond the norm. Today, who thought they could hear Thaba Bosiu performed with an instrument not used in this genre - they call it jazz, but it's not."

He pushes the boundaries with a sitar, an Indian instrument that will be played by Poorvi Bhana, while Judy Hubster will be on the harp and young genius Neo Motsatse on violin. Ashish will be on tabla.

He traces his exotic musical inclinations to his band The Beaters, with which he gained international attention in the 1970s.

"The Beaters have always been experimental and that's why university students loved us so much, plus we also drove the black consciousness message."

Gloria Bosman will lend her magnificent vocals alongside Sama-nominated newcomer Tabia, who was groomed by Mabuse. Multi-instrumentalist Tony Cedras from Cape Town adds to the line-up.

"I had hoped to rope in Trompies, because the journey of Mandla 'Spikiri' Mofokeng with Chicco Twala was by extension through me. It's important that he comes to tell his story through music too."

Mabuse says The Journey is a treat to the discerning listener. "The idea is to introduce audiences to new ideas and show that there's more to music than what they hear on the radio."

Mabuse says he will also shine some spotlight on other musicians. "It's not about me anymore. It's about what it is I can share with the people. There are other musicians I have benefited greatly from interacting with their music and lives. "We have not fully embraced ourselves and musicality as the rainbow nation, we need to use our diversity collectively and equally as we weave this tapestry."

The Journey with Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuseis at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani on May 31 and June 1 from 7pm. Tickets start at R100

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