Desert Rose to perform in PE

Lynne Holmes and Yusuf Ganief who make up the world music group  Desert   Rose Picture: Eugene Coetzee
Lynne Holmes and Yusuf Ganief who make up the world music group Desert Rose Picture: Eugene Coetzee

The South African leaders of world music are set to hit the windy city for the second time this year as part of their national tour on September 13 at the Athenaeum, in Central.

Desert Rose, a highly rated Cape Town-based music group, which has performed in various countries, such as France, Poland, Malaysia, Brazil and Peru, will not only be performing a concert at the Athenaeum, but will also host a one-day Sound to Silence music workshop on September 17 at Niyama School of Yoga in Circular Drive.

Founded in 1999 by world music composer and producer Lynne Holmes, the group (consisting of Holmes and manager and lead vocalist Yusuf Ganief) boasts 15 albums to date since coming together in 2005.

Holmes met up with Ganief in Cape Town in 2004 where she said he sang for her in Arabic while walking on the beach.

“At the time, he was working in the corporate world and I just loved his voice as I love indigenous languages and ancient sounds,” Holmes said.

Desert Rose share their journey on music, love and travelling the world with Weekend Post.

When did your journey as Desert Rose begin and how?

I was initially signed with a recording company based in London and chose Desert Rose as my pseudonym and through that name I continued to write and compose. I met Yusuf, who at the time was the chief executive of the Cape Town Festival, and then I discovered that he could sing. We recorded a song, Remembrance, and afterwards, requests for us to perform followed. We haven’t looked back since.

Yusuf, you left the corporate world to be part of Desert Rose. What influenced that decision?

I took on the job because through our music we promote cultural diversity and coming from a South Africa that was torn apart by racial segregation, unity was an internal passion of mine.

Music is the only tool that can get people together and promotes common humanity. Music has more power than politicians and even religious leaders.

What is it like performing with your husband? Do you often have creative differences?

We got married in 2006 and I must say it’s been a real blessing because we share the same vision and we work well together. It’s unusual to some people but, at the same time, we’re able to follow our dreams together whereas most of the time, you have couples doing things separately.

How has Desert Rose evolved from 1999 to now?

We’ve expanded from just using Arabic to now singing in Aramaic, Hebrew, French and even Spanish just to widen our audience. And depending on where we’re performing, we try and sing in that country or city’s language.

Last year you toured six countries. Why did you decide on a national tour only this year?

We wanted to focus on our own country and we’ve been travelling and performing in these small towns and the reception has just been amazing.

Since we started travelling, we can honestly say we’ve got the most beautiful country and we don’t always appreciate it.

What can people expect from your performance on September 13?

A multilingual experience. It’s an opportunity for people to explore within themselves, reflect on their emotions, psyche, body and for people to feel uplifted.

What will the workshop entail?

It’s basically the language of music, how it works, the impact it has on the brain, how to create a better inner world and change your mood and to have a better state. It’s to raise consciousness and giving an experience on how to use music for healing and creating a sense of inner well being.

Tickets for the Desert Rose show at the Athenaeum are R120 per person.

To get tickets, call Gail Voster on 083-399-4772 or send an e-mail to

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