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Monday, June 22, 2015


The Dukes Combo – Founder of the band Dee Sharma, extreme right, with, from left, Tyrell Subramoney (bass), Gabriel Joseph (band leader, trumpet), Don John (guitar), Selwyn Appalsamy (drums) and Anthony Joseph (band manager, keyboards). In front is Ashleigh Joseph (vocals)

Durban dance music admirers will be blown away at the end of this month when a mega tribute performance is hosted to honour the living legend of musical harmony, Dee Sharma, for his contribution to the local entertainment scene.

The Dukes Combo, the band Dee founded almost six decades ago, will headline the dance music spectacular which has been aptly titled Thank You For The Music, Dee.

On the evening of June 27 at the DLI Hall in Durban, homage will be paid to Dee for keeping alive the tradition of ballroom music through the Dukes Combo, one of South Africa’s most popular and longest-running working bands. The group has played at various venues such as the Ocean Terminal, Imperial Hotel, Pelican Hotel, Isipingo Island Hotel, Starlite Hotel, Greencat Restaurant, Himalaya Hotel, Asoka Hotel, Butterworth Hotel, Athlone Hotel and Belgica Hotel. Presently the band is resident at the Blue Lagoon Conference Centre in Durban.

Extremely popular across the board with a loyal following, the Dukes’ vast repertoire caters for every taste in music. However, the band’s roots lie firmly in the Latin American ballroom tradition and it is in this vein that they will portray old standards as well as current chart influenced songs.

Anthony Joseph, manager of the Dukes Combo, said it was decided to mark the admiration and respect of all music-loving people for Dee’s contribution over many decades by saying “thank you” to him in the best way they know - on the dance floor with hip-swinging music.

“How better to show our appreciation to an icon of the South African ballroom music scene than to do so at a gala dance event where fans of Dee and the Dukes Combo can gather in an atmosphere of music and merriment to celebrate the talented saxophonist,” Joseph explains. “Dee is not actively playing nowadays as he is recovering from back surgery caused by decades of carrying the heavy instrument. However, we cannot forget that it is because of the solid foundation laid by music stalwarts such as him that the dance music scene is still flourishing today.” Joseph added that Dee would play some of his favourite melodies on June 27.

Dee Sharma says: “I will be watching the band from the sidelines. Having spent the better part of my life with the band, it will not be easy to cut off completely. However, I will now concentrate on researching Indian classical and popular music and would also like to play Indian tunes on the saxophone.”

The DLI dance event will see 500 ticketholders treated to nearly 60 years of nostalgia as they are serenaded on a trip down memory lane by the Dukes Combo and supporting group Backline.

Thank You For The Music, Dee has one performance on June 27, 2015, at the DLI Hall. Tickets R175 available from Computicket and Shoprite Checkers. Patrons may bring their own snacks and drinks.