Festival fever

Edward Tsumele

Those lucky enough to be going to the Umhlanga Festival Street Party will be entertained by among other groups the country's entertainment export, Umoja.

The festival takes place on December 28, and will also host the Miss Umhlanga Bonaqua finalists.

The pedestrian-friendly area of Chartwell Drive will be closed off to traffic, enabling guests to walk around freely on the evening.

Though vastly different, the Caribbean and African musical offerings have similar origins - both were used by the singers as alternative methods of communication, and also as a way of instilling hope.

Calypso music originated in Trinidad and included African, Indian and European influences. It actually began as a type of protest music when African-Trinidadian slaves were not allowed to speak while they worked but only to sing. Eventually, they began playing drums made of animal skins, bamboo and finally steel pans - such as the bottoms of metal shipping containers and paint cans. Pan drums became so sophisticated that eventually, they could be used to play an entire scale.

Today, Calypso Caribbean music is played all over the world, and for the first time a six-piece steel drum band will be performing in Umhlanga.

The Umoja show, now on at Sibaya Casino, is a short showcase of African music and how it has developed over several decades - from tribal and township music to that of gumboot dancers.