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Monday, March 21, 2016


(Ildo Ninja will be one of the performers)

Splashy Fenners can look forward to a dedicated Jazz line-up in the Rainbow Rhythm Sunday set in conjunction with Rainbow Restaurant at Splashy Fen this year; highlighting a significant development in the rebirth of the Splashy Fen Music Festival.

The Rainbow Restaurant, opened in 1981, has been staging music events since 1983. Seven years later, the first Splashy Fen came about as a platform for artists to share their melodic sounds with music-loving fans.

Huck Auben, de facto mayor of Underberg comments: “This Easter, two legends of KZN music meet as the Rainbow is finally welcomed to Splashy Fen. Longevity and culture deep, the proverbial pot of gold. Halala!”

“This collaboration was long overdue” says Neil Comfort, music programmer at the Rainbow for the past 15 years, “and with the appointment of Impi Concept Events as event managers of Splashy Fen 2016, the Rainbow has been welcomed with open arms”.

Historically, due to its client profile and geographic location in the Pinetown taxi rank, the Rainbow has always staged its high profile shows on a Sunday afternoon. Fitting into the natural ebb and flow of a multi-day event such as Splashy, it is almost a perfect fit to have the Rainbow Rhythms Sunday session added to this years' event.

The showcase, starting at 12h00 is opened by maskanda act, Umfulongashi from the Underberg area. They are followed by reggae band, The Meditators who have performed at the Rainbow on a number of occasions. Then it’s into the Rainbow showcase proper, curated by Comfort to give festival goers a taste of the rhythms that have sustained the people of the Rainbow for 35 years.

At 14h00 are the young guns, the Unity Band featuring bassist Ildo Nandja and guitarist Seb Goldswain, products of the excellent music program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. They epitomise the future promise of great music coming out of KZN.

Then it is the turn of maskanda giants, Shabalala Rhythm, fronted by Sibongiseni Shabalala who keeps this project going despite now also having to take the lead role in Ladysmith Black Mambazo, since the retirement of his father, Dr. Joseph Shabalala. Joining them for one song will be Zimbabwean legend, Oliver Mtukudzi whose self-styled brand of Tuku Music takes him on regular international tours.

This is followed by a solo set from the legend himself, Mtukudzi to give the audience a chance to catch their breath after the high energy dance moves of Shabalala Rhythm. Closing it all down from 17h30 will be the infectious guitar riffs of Louis Mhlanga and his quintet.

Comfort explains: “There were a couple of things that directed me to put together the programme like this. For Africa Day in 2014 we hosted a line-up that featured Ethiopique band Akale Wube from France, Mtukudzi and Shabalala Rhythm. The energy, passion and joy that afternoon was almost a tangible thing that you could touch and it whipped things into such a frenzy that the afternoon closed with all three acts on stage in an impromptu jam. With Mhlanga having worked with Mtukudzi on many occasions over the years and with Mtukudzi being a regular collaborator with Shabalala, I am hoping that a bit of that Rainbow magic finds its way to Splashy, to give Fenners something special, something different.”

Rainbow Rhythm Sunday takes place on March 27 at Splashy Fen. Doors open at 13h00. Tickets can be purchased tickets online at for R750 pp for the full four-day festival. There is also a day pass option for March 27 at R200.