Mango Groove rocks Oesfees - Times LIVE
Sat May 27 11:54:06 SAST 2017

Mango Groove rocks Oesfees

Andrea Nagel | 2013-03-26 08:53:42.0

When Claire Johnston of South African pop group Mango Groove took the stage at the Oesfees, the annual harvest festival held in Franschhoek, she wowed the crowd with her classic early hits, "Special Star", "Dance Some More", "Hometalk" and "Moments Away".

The group's special blend of South African marabi, kwela and pop influences, and the soaring voice of Johnston, backed by evocative penny whistle melodies elicited a response from the audience that suggested that the band is still as big a hit with South African audiences as they have ever been. The multi-platinum- selling band was the first and only group to remain at the top of the SA national sales charts for over a year and Johnston still has the stage-presence that made the group one of South Africa's favourites.

Mango Groove was one of the last acts to perform at the Oesfees on Saturday, ending a day-long program of diverse local bands that included Emo Adams, Valient Swart, Hot Water and Radio Kalahari Orkes fronted by well-known actor and musician Ian Roberts. Master blues guitarist Albert Frost performed with Oesfees favourite Hannes Coetzee, who received world renown when he appeared in David Kramer's documentary Karoo Kitaar Blues playing slide guitar by using a spoon in his mouth in a technique called 'optel and knyp'.

Now in it's sixth year, the ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees was started by Mark Solms of the Solms-Delta wine estate where the festival is held. "It all began as a simple 'thank you' to the farm workers after they brought in the harvest, but music has became a catalyst for uniting people of all backgrounds," he says. The festival is also a showcase for the Music van de Caab project run by Adriaan Brand of Springbok Nude Girls fame.

The project aims to give home-grown bands a chance to perform with the top talent. The female choir group, Soetstemme, Delta Valley Entertainers, Delta Vastrap Genootskap and Lekker Lekker Delta received cheers from the over five thousand people who visited the farm on Saturday. "Programs like this one are terribly important, especially in the Winelands with its legacy of slavery and alcoholism," says Brand. "Music is intrinsic to the construction of a positive identity, for really, music is us." 

The performance of the traditional Riel dance was another audience favourite. A line of women of all ages, wearing floor-length floral dresses and frontier bonnets, snaked onto the stage followed by men in blue workers pants and shirts.

The energetic, stamping, jelly-knee movements of the dance, descended from the Khoi and San fireside dance rituals, is undergoing a huge revival in the Western Cape. "Watching Oesfees audiences respond to the local farm talent is as gratifying as my performances with the Nudies, for no matter what the setting is, it's all about the music and the oneness it creates," says Brand.


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