About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

09 July 2010

Hugh Masekela and Special Guests

Wow! There are only two shows (last night and tonight) at the Teatro at MonteCasino, and if you have an opportunity - go. Hugh Masekela is a legend in the jazz world; and last night's show proved everything on why he is such a legend.

To start of, there is obviously his music; his trumpet, his singing (he has an amazing voice range, with some amazing sound effects - the steam train on Stimela is particularly impressive) and various other small instruments that he plays. But it is also the improvisation within the music - whether it is to admonish a patron for taking a photo; or to tell a story, or a joke - and yet still maintain the overall song.

Then there is his stage performance and stage presence. For an old man, he dances exceptionally well, and it is an integral part of the show. And he manages to get the audience up on their feet and dancing and singing along with him. And like a school teacher, he was not afraid to admonish the audience when we did not meet his expectations in participating! Not many artists can take command of the stage like that!

And then there were the special guests. The standout guest for me was Tshepo Mngoma, an exceptional violinist (as well as a good singer). His "solo" performance with the backing band was very impressive - and I would love to see a solo show featuring him! His backing vocalists included a vocal band "Complete" - who also have their own story on how Hugh Masekela came to work with them. And they can sing well on their own - with some exceptional vocal ranges. The other guests included Tshepo Tshola (who I had not heard of before, but most of the audience clearly did) and Thadiswa Mazwai, who was introduced to do a tribute for Miriam Makeba, before doing one or two of her own songs.

At three and a half hours (including a break), it the longest "solo" concert I have been to and with Hugh Masekela's library of hits, he could have done a lot more. I found that his live show was a lot more entertaining than his CDs; and it's a lot easier to enjoy his show live when you don't understand Zulu.

Earlier this year, there was a show starring Hugh Masekela at the Market Theatre called "Songs of Migration" which I wanted to attend, but never did. It is coming back in November and I don't want to miss it then.

04 July 2010

"renew your justified lack of faith in our company"

Last month I rented a car from FirstCarRental, when my car went in for an unscheduled electrical check. I chose them simply because they were the closest to my office, hence easy to get to. The rental itself was painless; but after returning, I was charged for additional damages. Upon further investigation, I found that they had charged another client's damages to my account - and it took almost 4 weeks (!) to get my money refunded; and that was after a particularly nasty email was sent since polite emails, phone calls and even rocking up at the office twice didn't have any effect.

In the last email, which was very appologetic (though they didn't even pay me my interest on the overcharge), I came across the following line:
"I trust that you will allow us to be of service to you again in the future so that we may have the opportunity to renew your justified lack of faith in our company."

Really? I should try them again, so that they can renew my already low opinion of their services?