Africa and India unite this weekend as Newtown Junction in downtown Johannesburg plays host to the exciting collaborative project The Millennium Experience, featuring living legends Pops Mohamed and Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse along with the equally talented Ashish Joshi and Poorvi Barna.
Music lovers can expect a fusion of cultures, with the blending of classical Indian music on tabla and sitar (performed by Joshi and Barna respectively), traditional African instruments such as the Kora, San bow, mbira and a variety of whistles (performed by Mohamed) and wind instruments such as the saxophone and flute (performed by Hotstix).
Pops Mohamed, South Africa’s leading indigenous-contemporary-crossover artist, is a master of a large number of instruments. Through his long and diverse career he has released 37 albums, won multiple awards, recorded with the Khoisan people in the Kalahari and toured globally with the likes of Baaba Maal and Andreas Vollenweider. A firm traditionalist, Mohamed actively encourages young South African musicians and teaches them how to play traditional instruments. His advice to them is, "seek your inspiration from your roots".
"We are proud to be hosting another legend, musical maestro Pops Mohamed, at Newtown Junction", said Michael Clampett, asset manager at Attacq Limited. "This association with Pops is gratifying, as it consolidates that element of our vision which is to actively support arts, culture and heritage."
Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse is one of the country's best-loved and most respected musicians. During an illustrious career spanning more than three decades, Hotstix has become an integral part of the entertainment industry, making numerous vital contributions to the musical landscape of South Africa, including hits like ‘Burnout’, ‘Shikisha’ and ‘Jive Soweto’ that are appreciated by music lovers the world over.
Ashish Joshi began his musical training under the respected South African teacher Jeram Bhana. He underwent four years of training in classical percussion while performing at religious gatherings for his spiritual group Rishi (Ramakrishna Institute of Spirituality and Hinduism). Since his teens he has been part of numerous groups, including Avaaz and Strings & Skins, peforming with celebrated artists such as Madala Kunene, Tony Cox, electronic duo Krushed & Sorted, Steve Newman, the late Gito Baloi, Neo Muyanga and many others. He continues to dazzle audiences around southern Africa with his ever-growing percussive expression on the tabla, djembe, darbuka and dhol.
Poorvi Barna has been influenced by her Indian roots and African upbringing, as well as a passionate interest in art, classical music, dance and Zen teachings and philosophies. She has travelled extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia and the USA and currently lives in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Millennium Experience takes place at Newtown Junction mall in Johannesburg on Sunday 8 November between midday and 2pm. Entrance is free.
More on the history of Indian music in South Africa here.