Urban brandy rocks the night
On 27 November, for one exhilarating evening, The Blind Tiger Sessions served up a collaborative bounty of rhythms and sounds from the local legends of the SA music industry.
Some of the country’s brightest and most compelling artists, led by local music great, Arno Carstens, rocked out the night at Southern Sun Waterfront in an event that combined many of our collective passions: authentic music and artistic talent, memorable food and cocktails – all shared and enjoyed in great company!
Born of the 1940’s Prohibition phrase ‘I’m going to see a blind tiger’, street-code for visiting a pop-up venue that offered entertainment and alcohol; The Blind Tiger Sessions is an annual event hosted by Arno to present a fusion of music and art. This year, in partnership and celebration of Urban Brandy, the occasion’s powerful collaborative constituent pushed the boundaries with its combination of photography, jazz, afro- jazz, pop and rock.
A fitting way to celebrate the success of the Urban Brandy Cocktail Route, SA’s definitive national ‘cocktail movement’, the night – as with the cocktails themselves – revealed magical elements of experimentation, mixed with technical rigour and fine-tuned choreography.
A selection of delicious brandy cocktails flowed, with generous hosts Southern Sun Waterfront providing guests the opportunity to sample the venue’s signature Urban Brandy summer cocktail, the Cape Strawberry Daiquiri, along with other favourites; the Central Park, Ama-Lekkerlicious and Collison’s Cosmo.
Delivering an inventive and emotive experience since its kick-off in 2012, this year’s Blind Tiger Sessions proved no different. The evening kicked off with music from the two youngest performers of the night, Mikhail Jonesand jazz ensemble Little Giants, whose raw profusion of talent and inimitable voices provided the perfect entrée to the musical icons who then took the stage.
Laudo Liebenberg, frontman of SA rock outfit aKING played a mesmerising acoustic set, but it was his rendition of the band’s popular hit ‘Safe as Houses’ that left the audience entranced.
Portrait photographer Morné Van Zyl’s latest ‘video portrait’ works of the performers were projected onto the stage, creating a juxtaposition of the real artists and these recorded interpretations of themselves. The event also wouldn’t have been true to form without a surprise or two, as Laudo was joined, not only by Arno Carstens, but also Ard Matthews, of Just Jinger fame, who stopped by to show his support.
Sitting at keyboard, singer songwriter Toya Delazy gave little doubt of her sheer crazy talent with a stripped-down set that included a mix of original songs and covers, including a stunning interpretation of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’.
Naturally, one of the star attractions of the night was Blind Tiger Sessions headliner, Arno Carstens, who was joined by the gifted Lana Crowster, who will soon be releasing her debut album. Arno was then joined by Ard Matthews, Laudo Liebenberg and Toya Delazy for a number of jaw dropping collaborations.
Christelle Reade-Jahn, Director of The SA Brandy Foundation, adds, ‘We’re immensely proud to have partnered with Arno Carstens for this unique musical experience. It was a wonderful success. Of course, a special thank you has to go to Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun Waterfront for ‘pulling out all the stops’ and making this an unforgettable occasion. It was a true celebration of South African excellence in art, music, food and of course brandy!’
- SA Brandy Foundation: www.sabrandy.co.za
Words: Paul Reynell
Photographs: Supplied by Paddington Station PR