MACfest is going to be a cracker

Gugu Sibiya

The Mpumalanga Arts and Cultural Festival, which lights up Secunda like a Christmas tree, takes place at 2pm on Saturday, November 29, and at 4pm on Sunday, November 30, at the eMalahleni stadium.

Ready to set the stage ablaze with their fiery sounds are the US's Spyro Gyra, Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi, Mzansi's super guitarists Jimmy Dludlu and Madala Kunene, and Grammy award winners Take 6 from the US.

Spyro Gyra are no strangers to this country. A solid jazz outfit since their inception in 1977, they are famous for their fusion of jazz with popular idioms like R&B, pop, funk and Latin music. If one listens to their early hits, Morning Dance and Shaker Song, there is no doubt that the band is a forerunner of what is known as smooth jazz today.

Riding high on the coat tails of his stunning offering Portraits, Dludlu will take music lovers through his smooth and captivating repertoire. He will again use his unique way to bring the audience on board, enslaving them to his melodic guitar while his haunting vocals will leave a lasting impression.

Seasoned guitarist Mtukudzi will thrill fans with his homegrown sounds which are melded to lively Afro-pop.

Take 6 is not only the heirs to the rich tradition of the doo-wop and gospel groups of the 1950s, but also leaders in the second wave of jazz and pop vocal groups that emerged in the 1990s. The group continues to move forward.

Kunene, who has travelled all over Europe, scored and composed the music for the film Yesterday.

MACfest's format is split between youthful sounds and soothing adult contemporary music. On the young side is Port Elizabeth-born vocalist MXO and the vocal-guitar-bass-drum quartet 340ml. On the adult side are Simphiwe Dana and Lira.

The festival is sponsored by the Mpumalanga government as a strategy to position the province as a number one cultural and heritage destination.

Tickets at Computicket and Shoprite-Checkers stores.