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Thursday, July 6, 2017


All in all, this was an experience to be savoured and remembered. (Review by Keith Millar)

South Africa has a long list of exceptional acoustic guitarists – and standing tall among them is the sublime Steve Newman. This veteran finger-style guitarist has been performing a series of concerts alongside virtuoso tabla player and percussionist, Ashish Joshi, at the Graham Hotel venue at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, this year.

These two veteran maestro musicians create music of exquisite beauty together. Certainly, not mainstream but with strength, spirit, drama and dynamism all of its own. They are perfectly in sync from a creative point of view, and their music seems to flow from their souls.

Steve Newman’s musical career spans almost 40 years. He has produced 17 albums in that time and has won many awards.

Newman has worked in collaboration with many great artists both locally and abroad, including the likes of Paul Simon, Sting and Youssou N’dour. In South Africa, he would be best remembered for his long-term collaboration with acoustic guitarist Tony Cox and for his group, the Tananas which he formed in 1987.

Ashish Joshi is a multi-disciplined percussionist who regularly astonishes audiences around the country with his extraordinary skills and percussive expression on instruments such as tabla, djembe, darbuka and dhol.

However, it is the South Asian Tabla which he primarily uses for his performances with Newman. Joshi is a master at extracting beautifully refined rhythms and tones from this versatile instrument.

The Newman/Joshi concerts take place at the Graham Hotel venue at the Festival. It is an intimate and tastefully decorated room, ideal for a two-man acoustic show. The artists and audience in close proximity to each other, and the stage is nicely decorated with a few quirky antiques and bathed in soft lighting.

All in all, this was an experience to be savoured and remembered. Music played as it should be – from the heart and from the soul.

Steve Newman and Ashish Joshi will be appearing at the Graham Hotel until July 8 with shows as follows: July 6 at 11h00; July 7 at 21h00, and July 8 at 17h00.

If you love good music this is one not to be missed. – Keith Millar

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