Nianell set to blow Bay fans away

Hendrick Mphande

POPULAR South African musician, pianist and composer Nianell will join the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (ECPO) this weekend at the Concert in Victoria Park for two days of beautiful R&B, pop and jazzy tunes.

Nianell, real name Sonia Alletta Nell, said she was excited to be back in Port Elizabeth, where a few years ago she was almost "blown off the stage" by the wind while performing at the Boardwalk.

"I am thrilled to perform with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic. It's every singer's dream to perform alongside the orchestra," the multi-platinum selling artist said.

Jazz legend Prince Lengoasa will also perform at the concert, which will start at 5pm tomorrow and 10am on Sunday.

The orchestra will be conducted by Richard Cock.

Nianell, a mother of triplets, said the audience could expect to dance to her award-winning songs such as Who Painted the Moon and We'll Find A Way.

The musician has six solo albums under her belt, of which three went platinum and two gold. She also has two gold duet albums for the work she did with Dozi.

"It is a huge thrill to perform in the park close to nature. I am looking forward to the concerts," she said.

The talented Nianell has shared the stage with international artists including Christina Aguilera, Andrea Bocelli, Westlife, Diana Ross, Shakira, freshlyground and the Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir.

ECPO manager Gill Barnett urged the public to bring out their folding chairs, pack picnic baskets and relax as they listened to the beautiful renditions of some great music.

"We are very fortunate. We must be one of the very few orchestras that can boast our audience numbers have been increasing each year – by 38% over the last two years," she said.

"I think one of the reasons for the popularity of the Concerts in the Park is that it is where families can enjoy orchestral music in a relaxed way and realise that it is not as 'threatening' as perhaps they thought it was. And so they decide to come to our other concerts at the Feather Market Centre as well."

Tickets are R90 for adults, R60 for pensioners and R40 for scholars, and entrance is free for pre-preschoolers. Tickets will be available at the Victoria Park gate from two hours before each event.