national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, October 13, 2018


(Richard Haslop, Will Wallace & Mike Raftery)

Highly entertaining and filled with interesting music which is performed with skill and fervour. (Review by Keith Millar)

Sub-titled Songs Of Protest, Persuasion & Politics this show, which is playing at the Rhumbelow Theatre at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof, is a little bit different from usual fare seen at this venue, which are usually tributes to the giants of the rock music world.

While there is definitely plenty of merit to the music and the performance, the content of the songs goes beyond that. They are much more lyric-bound and offer fascinating insights into the world of protest music and the influence this genre has had over many years.

The music ranges from a song from the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland in the 1700’s with words by poet Robbie Burns right up to date to the delightfully titled Full English Brexit by Billy Bragg.

On stage, performing with enthusiasm and aplomb, are three very experienced Durban musicians.

Multi-Instrumentalist, music journalist, lecturer and radio presenter Richard Haslop, is a leading expert in blues and roots music as well as modern African music. He plays a variety of stringed instruments, including the dobro, mandolin, resonator, weissenborn and bouzouki and adds to the vocals with his rasping voice.

With his roots in folk music, the golden-voiced Mike Raftery plays acoustic guitar and provides most of the vocals. His unique baritone voice with its rich and clear resonance must be one of the best around.

Completing the trio is veteran blues guitarist Will Wallace of Wills Blues Band and Bobby and the Dynamites fame. He contributes as lead guitarist and on vocals.

Included in programme are a few songs from well-known artists such as Bob Dylan whose Chimes Of Freedom provides the title of the production and Paul Simon with American Tune, which he wrote after Richard Nixon was re-elected as American President. Also included are Joni Mitchel’s For Free which is about a busker playing brilliant music in a New York park, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Ohio composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State University shootings of 1970 and Jackson Brown’s The Rebel Jesus.

However, much of the music is by lesser-known and even obscure songwriters. Much of it American folk/blues from the earlier years of the last century.

Most of the songs come along with an explanation putting them in historical and geographical context.

As mentioned, Chimes Of Freedom is a little different to the usual Rhumbelow fare. It is more cerebral and offers the audience plenty of food for thought about a world in constant conflict.

However it is highly entertaining and is filled with interesting music which is performed with skill and fervour.

Chimes Of Freedom: songs of Protest, Persuasion & Politics has two shows left at the Rhumbelow Theatre, Tina’s Hotel in Beryldene Road, Kloof. Today at 20h00 and tomorrow (October 14) at 14h00. Venue opens 60 minutes before show for drinks.

Tickets are R150 pp (various discounts are available) and can be booked at Computicket or from Roland on 082 499 8636 or email - Keith Millar