Laka and Dana to wow fans

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Music lovers in Gauteng should brace themselves for a night of great entertainment as Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg, presents Ballantines Finest Jazz.

The event on May 2 promises to bring back memories of the olden days of jazz in Joburg when Bassline was based in Melville.

Kicking off the night is Don Laka and Simphiwe Dana. Laka is a seasoned singer, composer and producer whose hard work has earned him the title of the king of Kwaai Jazz.

Born in 1958 in Mamelodi, Pretoria, he formed his first band in 1969, which featured Ray Phiri. They recorded their first album in 1972.

He joined Afro-fusion group Sakhile in 1980, which was formed by Sipho Gumede and Khaya Mahlangu, revolutionising local music and setting the trend for groups such as Bayete.

Laka started writing big orchestral arrangements for Sibongile Khumalo, who performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa. In 1991, he collaborated with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Rebecca Malope.

Laka, who boasts 35 years in the music business with six albums under his belt, has produced music for Mango Groove, Sharon Dee and Johnny Clegg, among others.

Sharing the stage with Laka is Dana. Born in Transkei, Eastern Cape, Dana entered the music mainstream in 2004 with her debut album Zandisile.

With her earthy voice, her music draws strongly on her upbringing and she cites her mother's singing as an inspiration. Her debut album Zandisile went platinum and won two Sama's.

Tickets for this special event cost R60 at Computicket and R70 at the door.