national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Durban is set to be taken by storm on October 28, when six of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed guitarists take to The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway’s stage in Riders From The Storm, after a sold-out performance at the venue in April this year.

Riders From The Storm is an initiative undertaken by rock guitarist Mel Botes (wearing his producer’s cap), who is renowned for his craftsmanship on the electric guitar, his interpretations of legendary rock classics, his original compositions and more recently his classical repertoire. It is directed by his collaborator on numerous other productions, Richard H Nosworthy.

The cracker line-up of guitarists for the show at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway has again been confirmed: Robin Auld, Piet Botha, Mel Botes, Albert Frost, Valiant Swart and Nathan Smith.

The brief to these musicians was simple - each should contribute three compositions to the group’s performance in which that particular musician plays the lead guitar to accompaniment from the band, and sometimes other members of the line-up. They were given a choice of doing two original or two classic rock tunes. Furthermore, all the guitarists contribute to four or five numbers where they all play together.

“The concept was born out of similar projects undertaken by international rock legends such as Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Locally, we have also had unprecedented success with the acoustic band 6 Snare, in which we have combined six of the most popular Afrikaans folk musicians into one group, roughly following the same recipe used by the international super-group The Travelling Wilburys. Joining six of the most prolific electric guitar players into one rock super group was a logical next step,” says Botes.

The show was first staged on February 20 2012 at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria. The band members were Mel Botes, Piet Botha, Albert Frost, Mauritz Lotz and Valiant Swart. Nathan Smith was the mystery guest and sixth member. The current line-up needs little introduction.

Botes himself is an accomplished guitarist, and popular shows featuring his talents have included the sell-out Crazy Diamond - A Tribute To Pink Floyd, Sultans Of Swing - A Tribute To Dire Straits, and his own original masterpiece David’s Confession - About Time, Chapter II.

Robin Auld is an award-winning artist with an international CV spanning 20 albums. He has performed and recorded in New York, London, Glasgow, Nashville, California; and has played events like Womad, the SA National Arts Festival, Belladrum Tartan Hearts, Gold Coast Oceanfest and Cambridge Folk Festival.

Piet Botha is acknowledged as one of the pioneers of South African rock and has become a legend in his own time as front man of the everlasting rock outfit Jack Hammer, as well as recording a host of solo Afrikaans and English rock works.

Nathan Smith is recognised as the top session guitarist in South Africa and has been the most productive guitarist in South African rock music for years, playing with all of the great musicians of our time.

Both Frost and Swart are legendary blues players who have built up fan bases that follow them religiously. The show is something seldom seen before on South African stages - a guitar super-group of earth-shattering proportions!

Tickets R150 pp. Bookings and enquiries through The Barnyard Theatre on 031 566 3045 or visit For further information e-mail or