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Summary Profile


UMPHAKATHI is a fusion of the African Experience with the glamour, glitz and feathers of an International Extravaganza. It combines the familiar and much loved African flavour with as many International styles as possible, thus appealing to just about anyone from anywhere. With African hits from world renowned superstar Miriam Makeba, our Mama Afrika - Jikele Maweni and Pata Pata, Special Star, Umqomboti, African Dream, Meadowlands and Circle of Life, all backed by the Umphakathi drummers, you are bound to have audience members dancing in the aisles.

UMPHAKATHI means "Community" which is exactly what this show is about: apart from the predominantly African influence, it includes as many different styles as possible, encouraging all to come together.

NEW YORK NEW YORK is performed in true Minnelli style, but with a difference: as our vocalist climaxes with "My Little Town Blues..." she is joined by a troup of gumboot dancers who thump out the final bars of this Ebb and Kander classic with all they can muster.

On vocals is the seasoned cabaret artiste Tonya Koenderman. She has been hailed by critics as “one of the hottest properties on the cabaret circuit” and “a pint sized dynamo”. She has worked extensively for Sun International in Extravaganzas. Tonya was the only South African to star in the Sun City sensation, Beyond Belief, which ran for 16 months at the Sun City Extravaganza. She has headlined dozens of shows throughout Southern Africa and abroad, including Morocco, Seychelles (where she had performed regulaly for Arabic royalty), Australia and Ethiopia (for the World Health Organisation).

Joining Tonya on stage is the vibrant and dynamic Chris Luke. A versatile and internationally acclaimed musician, Chris wows audiences with his incredible saxophone and penny whistling talents, showcasing the unforgettable Sophia Town years in South Africa.

The Umphakathi drummers are highly acclaimed performers. In the early 90’s they set off on an 18-nation worldwide tour with the African musical Sikulu. During this tour, Azumah had a long summer season in London and played several weeks in the USA. In 1995 they had the honour to be chosen as the main traditional group to perform at Nelson Mandela’s 77th birthday celebrations. They have completed 2 very successful tours of Japan, and more recently were seen in Montreal, Canada. A number of the Umphakathi drummers have appeared in the internationally acclaimed Ipi Tombi, both locally and in London’s West End.

The beauty of this show is that it can be made as big or as small as your budget allows. For the smaller tighter budget, one can include: the vocalist, the saxophonist, and four drummers (who double up as gumbooters.)

For the extensive budget, as many as eight drummers could be used, a praise singer, an African choir, who sings and ululates on the guests arrival, and for the ultimate african adventure, a genuine sangoma, who throws the bones for the couples, promising love and prosperity for all. Thus turning the whole evening into an experience to be remembered.

Umphakathi has already performed at numerous corporate events around the country, and promises to be sparkling entertainment from beginning to end.



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