Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

THOSE lucky enough to make it to this year's national arts festival in Grahamstown will be presented with an impressive arts menu.

The country's leading arts fest is from July 2 to July 11 and will host South Africa's finest musicians and other artists who will join forces with international guests in a celebration of the human spirit.

The vast tribe of performers ranges from the young and new to icons of jazz, contemporary and classical music.

Rock sensation Jesse Clegg and Young Artist award-winning baritone Jacques Imbrailo are listed alongside Afro-diva Busi Mhlongo, the hot pop-indie quartet The Parlotones and The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, to name but a few.

The Eastern Cape Indigenous Orchestra will present a concert performed on traditional instruments, taking audiences back to the source of inspiration for many of our contemporary composers.

The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra's symphony concert, conducted by Bernhard Gueller, features soloist Catherine Foxcroft (piano) and their programme includes Michael Moerane's great anthem Fatshe la heso (My Country), Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No 23 Opus 26 and Brahms' Symphony No 1 Opus 28.

The orchestra's gala concert, under the baton of Allan Stephenson, features Imbrailo as soloist.

The orchestra will also accompany the Cape Town City Ballet's double bill: Paquita and La Sylphide.

In a second appearance, Jacques Imbrailo is accompanied by Waldo Weyer (piano) for a programme that features Schumann's Dichterliebe and compositions by Grieg, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

A previous Young Artist award winner, Zanne Stapelberg joins forces with guitar maestro James Grace for Canciones en Español, providing a whirl of songs from Latin America.

More Latin rhythms pulse in the Trio Hemanay's programme, with tangos by Hendrik Hofmeyr and Astor Piazzolla. This celebrated trio also cleverly counterbalances works by Haydn, Muyanga, Rutter, Rachmaninoff and Damase in another programme.

Busi Mhlongo will fuse mbaqanga and marabi with elements as diverse as funk, opera and gospel.

Music talking to music across cultural differences sees traditional Xhosa musicians Madosini Latozi Mpahleni and Dizo Plaatjies in dialogue with avant-garde Swiss EnsemBle baBel.

In An African-American Celebration of Music, Marcus Eley (clarinette) and Lucerne DeSa (piano) pay tribute to the enduring spirit of the mother continent that informs contemporary compositions by African Americans.

Other visitors from the US include The Pacific Boychoir, a renowned ensemble from California.

The Voices of Cape Town choir, directed by Lungile Jacobs, will also pay tribute to the great local composer Moerane.

Apart from the great music, the city will also present dramatic performances and craft venues for all culture lovers.