national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, December 31, 2018


(iGrandi Tenori: Mlindi Pato & Timothy Sehau)

Final Friends of Music concert for the year featured the fine voices of tenors Mlindi Pato and Timothy Sehau. (Review by Caroline Smart)

For its last concert of the year, Friends of Music presented Christmas Music Extravaganza on December 18, 2018, at the Durban Jewish Centre. In a change from the normal row format, audiences were seated at tables and were permitted to bring in their own food. This made for an elegant supper theatre evening which was well received.

The concert was presented in association with the fast-growing and highly popular group, iGrandi Tenori, featuring the fine voices of tenors Mlindi Pato and Timothy Sehau who have won competitions national and internationally. The company is headed by its pro-active Executive Director, Kwazi Mhlongo, and Artistic Director Sanele Mkhize provided excellent piano accompaniment along with the Le Lounge Strings.

Guest artists were sopranos Nontobeko Bhengu and Dorh Mfayela; mezzo soprano Phindile Cele and baritones Philani Mdima and Sbani Mwelase. Well-known personality Thokozani MaMkhize-Ndlovu was the MC for the evening.

Pato and Sehau started the programme, beautifully matched in When Jesus Comes, to be following by Christmas-styled numbers with the other soloists. A clear audience favourite was Pie Jesu sung by Cele and Mfayela, the latter also impressing with a poignant Mary Did You Know? Mwelase gave Oh Danny Boy the emotion it required and Mdima handled Where e’er You Walk with sensitivity. Bhengu’s Ave Maria was clear-voiced and sincere.

Highlights from the whole group were The Lord’s Prayer and The Holy City.

The second half of the programme comprised well-known Christmas carols and, while they were musically well-presented, I would have preferred a little more joy and passion in pieces like Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Oh Come All Ye Faithful.

iGrandi Tenori is a non-profit making company aiming at igniting hope for all art practitioners through creating platforms that will foster opportunities to showcase skills. “We strongly believe that young people are the future and therefore investing in their development is of paramount. Hence, the company offers musical master-classes to all schools across the province of KwaZulu-Natal under the theme Let Me Sing,” explains Mhlongo. Thathunyawo Secondary Grade 12 pupil Philani Mdima and North West University music student Ntombikayise Zwane were both winners in the 2018 competition. For more information or to contact iGrandi Tenori, phone-+27 73 1938 032.

The first Friends of Music concert next year will be on February 26 featuring the exciting solo pianist, the Indian-American Pallavi Mahidhara who is on a return visit to South Africa to perform for the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. The Durban Jewish Centre will be undergoing renovations and this recital will take place on a brand new floor and stage. 

For more information on Friends of Music visit– Caroline Smart