Eastern Cape-bred musicians swept the boards at the Cape Town Fringe festival this past weekend, winning the gold, silver and bronze Fringe Fresh Awards in the Fresh Music category.
The Cape Town Fringe named the winners of the inaugural Fringe Fresh Awards on Saturday after 17 days of theatre, dance, illusion, performance and music.
East London’s Msaki and the Golden Circle Tribe took gold for their “soulful, folky, symphonic and African” sound.
Grahamstown talents Nombasa and the Fishwives – a four-piece band that moved from the City of Saints to Cape Town last year – took silver and bronze respectively.
Awards convener Tracey Saunders worked with a panel to choose the awards, noting that the winners stood out in a programme filled with new and edgy work.
Grahamstown-born singer and songwriter Nombasa fuses modern Afro Soul with a more traditional Xhosa sound, weaving music and lyrics together to give a “message of hope” along with comment on societal issues. She plans to release her EP before the end of this year.
The Fishwives are singer- songwriter guitarists Celery Burger and Lizzie-Lou Gaisford, who teamed up four years ago in Grahamstown.
Later, drummer Strato Copteros and bassist Cal Thompson joined to create a fresh and funky sound they call “Frock ’n Roll”.
The multi-instrumental band moved to Cape Town last year where they apparently are growing a cult-following for their four- part vocal harmonies and what critics describe as “addictive melodies and gloriously gorgeous groove”.
Msaki and the Golden Circle and Nombasa both won Standard Bank Ovation Awards in the contemporary music category at this year’s National Arts Festival.
For the Cape Town festival, Msaki and her group performed numbers from Zaneliza: How The Water Moves, her first album co-produced with Nduduzo Makhathini.
In other genres, Police Cops and Dangled won the Audience Award.
Ubuze Bam director Thando Doni took gold for Fresh Creative, and Sacre for One choreographer Alan Parker silver, with Stof Rooi director Jason Jacobs taking bronze.
Fabric of the Universe, #Ballet Must Fall and You Suck and Other Inescapable Truths won awards for production and experience.
David Viviers was voted Fresh Performer for The Finkelsteins are Coming to Dinner.