Cellist and composer brings unique sound to Cape Town

Dr Thokozani Mhlambi is excited to be performing in Cape Town again.

South African cellist and composer Dr Thokozani Mhlambi will perform at the South African College of Music in Rondebosch on Saturday September 16, at 6pm.

Mhlambi has just returned from an artistic fellowship at the University of Bayreuth, where he spent his time composing new music, performing in cities such as Munich and Berlin, and collaborating with international musicians.

“The Cape Town show presents an explosive blend of conventional and non-conventional musical elements through the use of an unusual combination of instruments, from China, Congo and Europe,” said Mhlambi.

The 37-year-old KwaZulu-Natal composer, who held an artistic residency at the prestigious Cite International des Arts in Paris, and had his music used as a soundtrack for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is known for thinking outside of the box when it comes to his performances, often incorporating art with music.

“This is a very different show. Firstly, this is my first show, where the underlying fears related to the pandemic have subsided. It offers audiences a chance again to explore, touch and sing together.

“This show is also unique because it seeks to encourage audience response. Audience members will be challenged to not only listen but use their bodies in motion and respond through singing of common tunes with the performers,” said Mhlambi.

He is returning to Cape Town after an intimate performance, entitled Thokozani Mhlambi in Concert, which took place at the same venue in October last year.

“I’m really excited about finally getting a chance to play in Cape Town for the first time this year. Cape audiences are great supporters of my art, so this concert is about giving back,” he said.

In addition to the performance, Mhlambi also has a music video due for release in the last week of September.

“The video was inspired by my stay in Bayreuth, which is a small university town in Germany. It is also the city where the great composer Richard Wagner lived. Some of the scenes in the music video are shot in his house,” said Mhlambi.

Mhlambi’s September concert precedes a North American tour, which he will be embarking on from October to November.

“I will be doing a series of concerts, workshops and interventions in the United States and Canada. One of the highlights is a workshop with community string players in Providence, Rhode Island, who I shall go on to do a performance with,” he said.

Tickets for the show on Saturday cost R150 through Webtickets.