Back with a blast

TWOTONE Music – headed by Port Elizabeth's hugely talented Ulagh and Gareth Williams – is bracing itself for a another hectic year, starting with tomorrow's "lunch-hour concert" at the NMMU South Campus Auditorium.

This free concert at 1pm is hosted by the NMMU music department and will see alumni and current music students performing jazz standards and well-known South African popular music alongside Ulagh on piano and vocals.

"Gareth has been lecturing at NMMU on and off since 2001, with a few years of 'world travel' in between," Ulagh said. "He is lecturing in saxophone and clarinet studies and I've just been appointed on contract as NMMU's jazz vocal lecturer.

"We're also still managing our music company, so this is going to be a busy year for TwoTone," said Ulagh, who began lecturing this week. The company has been providing a performance platform for local musicians, mostly NMMU students and alumni, since 2008, when Gareth and Ulagh returned to the Bay following a three-year stint in countries like Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Japan.

The TwoTone Band would kick off the music department's popular lunch-hour concert series for the year with tunes aimed at pleasing a diverse audience, Ulagh said. "Included will be music by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Caro Emerald and, closer to home, Zahara and Judith Sephuma. Even contemporary artist Bruno Mars makes an appearance."

The band will feature David Houghton on guitar, Grant Allison on bass, Bevin Maschaka on drums, Kyle du Preez on trombone and Joash Soobramoney on sax. Other vocalists besides Ulagh include Francis Pratt, Miranda Ncwane and Aston Wylie. Gareth is not performing this time, but will be behind the sound desk.

TwoTone has produced several well-received concerts and shows over the years and manages, among others, the Mandela Bay Symphonic Wind Orchestra and the Mandela Bay Big Band, as well as running its own music outreach programme, Sound of Learning (SouL).

"In 2012 and 2013 we were mostly busy performing according to our popular Tuxedo Club concept," Ulagh said. "This year we've added some new blood to our line-up and are excited about re-launching the TwoTone Band, which will feature various guest artists and some of the city's finest musos.

"We also have a few classical projects in the pipeline – including continuing our chamber-music concert series from last year – along with a few bigger concerts."

The two took a break from public shows last year because of the birth of their daughter, but were kept very busy with corporate work. And, with baby Myla about to turn one next month, they intend returning to the stage with guns blazing.

"It's great to be back in the saddle with some fabulous musos," Ulagh said. "It's time to dust off the cobwebs and get busy again."