Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse is more than just a legendary musician; he’s one of South Africa’s musical treasures and a great inspiration to many. After more than 45 years in the music industry, this 63 year old still has the commanding stage presence and vibrancy to make many younger musicians green with envy.
It was a happy crowd, then, who watched this stalwart doing what he does best; giving a sterling performance at Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert series last Sunday, accompanied by his young and talented band members, Bongani and Toto on keyboards, Mashaba on guitar, David on bass, Siphiwo on drums, Mpho on trombone as well Thembeka and Nhlanhla on vocals. And to top it off, he also featured some of the Mother city’s rising musicians.
As soon as he stepped onto the stage, Bra Hotstix received a warm Mother City welcome, shot through with a rush of nostalgia as he launched into ‘Welcome Home’, a typical South African jazz track which has elements of Mbaqanga. The song featured Derrick Schippers on vocals and electric guitar, with Bra Hotstix giving an impressive solo with his tenor saxophone. Concert goers were already tapping along in appreciation.
The next song was an interesting rendition of a South African gospel standard, ‘Nkosi Sihlangene’, delivered in sublime style. This uplifting song – popular during the liberation struggle – was highlighted by the soul-piercing voices of the singers and the haunting saxophone of Bra Hostix. Definitely one of my most memorable moments.
Then Mabuse gave the stage over to his two singing sensations, Thembeka and Nhlanhla, to mesmerise us with the popular song, ‘Just Us’. Now the audience was up on its feet and dancing. And there was no time to sit down as Bra Hotstix rocked the gardens with the one of his biggest hits from the 80s, ‘Shikisha’. ‘We’ve come here to perform not to play’, grinned Bra Hostix as the concert got hotter.
True to his passion for giving opportunity for young talented musicians to shine, he introduced the young and vivacious singer/songwriter Kalo Canterbury, who entertained us with her composition and her guitar skills. Bra Hotstix also collaborated with Mark Haze from Idols and also gave the stage to an acapella group from Gugs for their own rendition of Hugh Masekela’s ‘Nomalungelo’.
Bra Hotstix rounded off his performance with one of his classic hits, ‘Burn Out’ and, backed by a majestic sunset, proved beyond doubt that he still has the burning power to electrify the stage.
Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse performed at the Old Mutual Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens on 17 February 2013.
For images of this concert see here. Please feel free to tag yourself!