Thursday, August 16, 2012

Celtic Woman - Believe


The Celtic Woman were in South Africa recently for a Promo Tour of their up and coming 'Believe Tour' to be held at Carnival City in Johannesburg on the 28th & 29th September and at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, Cape Town on the 2nd October.

As soon as they landed they were keen to see the sights of Table Mountain. They're fortunate with the weather and the sunset was just glorious. For them, there is nothing quite like an African sky and the vibrancy of the colours of the sunset was just incredible. They're loving to be in South Africa to promote their Album, DVD and Show. Chloë and Máiréad have been with the Celtic Woman from the beginning so they've done a lot of Promo Tours. This tour has been the most fun and they've had a lot of laughs. Even though their schedule has been hectic at times, the tour has been really relaxed and they've thoroughly enjoyed it. Along with Lisa and Susan this is a force to be reckoned with. Before the tour they spent some time at home. Home for the Celtic Woman is Dublin, Ireland and the surrounding towns of Wicklow known locally as the 'Garden of Ireland'. This is near to the fabulous Powercourt House where they've previously performed and a venue that is incredibly beautiful, just like the woman themselves.

'Believe' is their latest album and it came about almost a year ago when the DVD was filmed. The songs were chosen by David Downes who is their musical composer, director and arranger. He works with the woman to select the songs. After they worked through the album, the title became the positive and life affirming title that it is. With 'Believe', they've been on an amazing journey. They went to America which was the very first live concert of the tour at the fantastic Fox Theatre. The concert was the most electric two nights they've experienced. The energy was phenomenal. The audience was amazing and sometimes travelled thousand of miles to be there. The States was the first country to embrace the Celtic Woman back in 2005 and it literally became an overnight success there. In the last few years it has been their second home and they're always  been welcome with wide open arms. They've done some amazing DVD's over their time but 'Believe' is very close to their hearts as their fans have treated them so well in the past. They've even made journeys to Ireland specifically to see the Celtic Woman. As a thank you to the fans for being so loyal, it was the woman's way of coming to them. It was very special and the DVD captured that night so beautifully.

As they are modern woman, they love doing a mix of Celtic 'pronounced with a strong C', Traditional and Classical, with sounds of the 21st Century. With contemporary songs such as 'Bridge over Troubled Waters' you'll hear the traditional elements such as the pipe coming through. The whole show is woven together with a entrancing thread. It's a Celtic journey that makes people feel comfortable, because the diversity in the music appeals to so many different people. There are children, teenagers, their parents, grandparents who are in the audience. Just about every walk of life are at the shows and it has something for everyone. The whole family can come together and enjoy a broad spectrum of music with dancers, bagpipes, a choir and world-class band. This is the clearer vision of who the Celtic Women are and what is so beautiful about it. They aren't trying to fit into any box and that's what makes it magic.

'Awakening' is an original composition. What added to the magic was that it was so new and fresh. It's a very soothing song but also has a captivating drum beat behind it.  The song is a powerful opening to the show and the camera crew captured every angle on stage with a panoramic 360 degree lens.  They'll never forget the opening, while standing back stage, when Máiréad opened the show, with a single spotlight on her, her violin and bow silhouetted against the backdrop. With the violin opening the show it's like a key to a door, like the 'lion, witch and the wardrobe' just before the drummers explode onto the stage. Such contrasts and such beauty. Irish music is influenced by rhythmic and catchy melodies. Whilst being in South Africa they've listened to African music and see that everyone has a song inside of them. Through hardship songs were born about love, lament and loss, about land and leaving. Songs such as 'Sailing', 'The Parting Glass', 'A Women Heart' are so heart-felt and which South African audiences can relate to.

The woman's different personalities shine through in the show. Initially it was a huge appeal  to have pure music, but now they incorporate a bit of talking. They're comfortable in each others company, and have grown with their fans and audiences all over the world, so it's really nice to have a conversation and a bit of fun. It's a feel good show, and they themselves always feel great afterwards. If people can take two hours out of their lives and come enjoy themselves, it's the best feeling in the world. No matter what day they've had to see people up on their feet and dancing their way out of the theatre is phenomenal. That is the best part of their job. The solo songs they perform are chosen to express their personalities according to their vocal style and their individuality comes through transferring their energy to the audience and the audience to them.

The timing was perfect for their newest member, Susan, when she got a call to join the group. She was recommended by the woman as well as the producers of the show. So it came about that she got a really lovely phone call one day, and she was very surprised and delighted. The first thing she did was go on the 'Believe' tour to America, then toured to Europe. It has been a whirlwind tour and together they've performed at some dream places.

The woman have a close relationship and a few of them know each other as children. In Irish schools they teach Gaelic which is a huge influence in their upbringing. Some of the first songs they learn are Gaelic songs. Prays are all done in this language and is very much a part of their lives. In Ireland there is an all Gaelic television station. They have young, gorgeous presenters from the rest of Ireland with a beautiful native tongue of speaking. There is sense of being 'cool' by speaking the original language. In many way it is at the moment very trendy to treasure the old ways and in recent years has had an injection of youth into it. Summer camps are hugely popular and promote sports and music all through speaking Gaelic. The language and dialect lends itself to be very musical and there is a huge flourish to keep the language alive and develop beautiful musicians. When they step away from it a little and see if from a distance they realize that their heritage, although sitting quietly in the background, is what it is to be a Celtic Woman.

As the sun sets and is gradually getting darker, these songs birds are lighting up the night sky.  We're honoured and privileged to have these amazing woman in South Africa for a heavenly three nights'.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Conversations Over Time with Elan Lea



On a bustling Friday, I went into Cape Town to meet up with Elan Lea, talented singer and songwriter.
We met an avant-garde little cafe called Frieda's on Bree. It is a modest place that is pleasantly plain and functional with a twist. This is the ideal meeting spot for artists. The quality of food and conversation simply sets it apart.
Elan was casual-cool in jeans and a black shirt. Understated yet undeniably with a touch of class.  Not attempting to impress by showing off his phenomenal talent. This is what I like about Elan, he is unaffected, has good manners and is without airs and graces. He was thoroughly natural, straightforward and sincere as someone self-assured of his craft. He is an artist through and through.
We spoke about his album 'Conversations over Time' and his journey from his last album. He has drawn on the previous influences of Robin Gibb whom he had the privilege to gain inspiration from. The new album has a lot more of 'him' in it and is a mirrored reflection of himself. He has made this creation very much his own.
Part love story, part breakup and part taking on the world - this is where we see Elan's inner soul. The lyrics are a mix of feelings and emotions that make the singles real and the heartfelt nature is easy to relate to. Gorgeous tracks such as 'Broken Man', 'Butterfly Best Friend' and 'Different Stories' are beautifully composed and can be listened to time and time again. For me this is where he has done his best work so far. 
We spoke about his search for a leading lady that is gaining momentum in social media. The campaign is part of a drive to find his ideal lady to be in his next music video. Someone elegant, he is able to take home, with another facet to her personality that is uniquely her own but complimentary to Elan's style.

If this sounds like you remember to post your picture on Facebook and get your friends to 'like' it. Also follow Elan on Twitter, tag Elan in the post @elanlea with #ElanMusicVideoSearch.

The scripted video is to be filmed in early summer and the unveiling of the leading lady is to be combined with a media, event launch at one of his shows. Watch this space from September to November for details.
As an artist he has been compared internationally with the likes of Robbie Williams but personally admires local blues musician Dan Patlansky. His next stop is the US – Los Angeles and New York. He is on his way to give these cities the best of home grown talent so expect to see headlines in celebrity magazines. Spotted  ‘Elan on the Upper Eastside’.
His schedule will allow him to be back in South Africa to perform in Johannesburg and of course, Cape Town which I personally can't wait for. Fans here will be in for a treat with the announcement of his leading lady and a warm up summer concert alongside SA's best.
Join in the conversation. Enter and vote for your favourite 'elan girl'.

The search is on for the Hansa Pilsener Next Beeg Dreamer


Hansa is searching the country to reward consumers with big ideas, related to music, branding, community and the home, hoping to inspire thoughts of how to improve the lives of fellow South Africans.

A panel of judges include musician Zakes Bantwini will help unearth these “beeg dreamers”.

The beer with the special ingredient is looking for four South Africans with special ideas, hoping to turn their dreams into reality.

Hansa Pilsener’s Next Beeg Dreamer campaign will reward winners in four different categories – Music, Hansa, Community, and the Home - with enough money to realise their respective dreams from the Hansa Dream Fund.

A panel of expert judges – musician and producer Zakes Bantwini (Music) entrepreneur and brand expert Thebe Ikalafeng (Hansa), former Miss South Africa Augustine Masilela (Community) and South African Breweries Marketing Manager Kelebogile Mashigo (Home) will whittle down the entries and decide on the top three ‘beeg dreamers’ in each category, with consumers then voting for the winners on the website, via SMS and through the interactive response voice line.

“The Music category looks for an invention that is music related, drawing its inspiration from Hansa’s previous advertising campaigns where the lead character Vuyo creates a musical instrument inspired by the vuvuzela,” said Mashigo.

“In the Hansa category people are invited to collaborate with the brand to come up with new ideas such as how to collect used bottles or enhance a celebratory occasion where a round of beers would be consumed, while the Community category looks for creative solutions to ease some of the struggles which affect our lives. It could be a mobile RDP house, solar powered lighting systems or community announcement networks. Through our communication we hope to encourage more thought and innovation around community development,” Mashigo said.

For the Home category, the judges are looking for an idea that will make tedious daily tasks simpler and more fun – a bar fridge that plays music, slippers which double as floor mops or a bicycle with a lawnmower attached.

The Dream Fund is a Hansa initiative that will be used to reward consumers who come up with exciting big ideas and, where practical, help them to realise it.  Hansa will donate 10c from every bottle sold to the Dream Fund and give away R10 000 in a weekly draw.

Beeg Dreamers over the age of 18 should enter their entrepreneurial ideas online at www.hansa.co.za  or toll free on 0800 200 000 before August 11.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Search is on for a leading lady!

The Search is on for a leading lady to star alongside multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician Elan Lea in his new video which will be filmed in South Africa in September. Elan has just completed his second album Conversations over Time”, due for worldwide release mid 2012. Are you the dazzling beauty who has the confidence, and talent to star in this coveted role? Take the chance and enter today!


HOW TO ENTER:

All interested females need to submit their picture via the following avenues:
FACEBOOK: You must be a fan of Elan's page, submit your picture and then get your friends to like it. The more likes, the better your chances of being in the semi-final search
TWITTER: You must follow Elan on Twitter, post the picture by tagging him in the post and use the following hashtag: #ElanMusicVideoSearch
 
The Search will run from 1 May 2012 until August














You Tube Video

Singer songwriter Elan Lea, in association with ZunguZ®, takes pleasure in announcing the launch of the “Pronounce My Name Game” competition. The aim of this competition is to help as many people as possible to get the pronunciation of Elan Lea’s name correct, spread the word and stand a chance to walk away with a whopping R50 000.00 prize money in cash!

It is all in the name of fun, and the competition rules are simple. All that is required is for fans, their friends, school mates, colleagues, team mates, parents, or anyone keen to get involved!, to upload their fun, original and creative short video onto Elan's Facebook fan page or via YouTube®. Of course the absolute correct pronunciation of the name is key to winning.

The contest begins on 1 July 2012 and ends 31 July 2012 and the judging panel will include music man Randall Abrahams, film director Shaun Pearce and Elan Lea himself!

How to Enter

1.Create a short video (no more than 30 seconds) pronouncing Elan Lea's name correctly— be creative, innovative and find an original way of saying/screaming/singing/shouting out the name Elan Lea. Call on friends, teammates or colleagues and make it a collective effort.
2.Upload your video to YouTube®, copy your video’s link (URL) and enter it in the Elan Lea Facebook Promotion Tab
3.Video entries must be received no later than 9 am Eastern time, 31 July, 2012. There is no fee for submitting your entry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Naturally 7 Opening Act for Michael Buble

American Music group, Naturally 7 has been confirmed as the opening act for Michael Buble’s South African tour in May. The tour begins in Cape Town on 1,2 and 3 May at Grand Arena (Grand West Casino and Entertainment World), and then Buble performs at Sun City on 5 and 6 May at the Superbowl.

Naturally 7 incorporates a range of styles from R&B to pop, gospel and jazz, and they are known for their distinct a cappella style they call "Vocal Play". With the unique ability to blend their rich harmonies and replicate the sound of instruments, Naturally 7 have gone from quiet success in Europe to the world stage. The groundbreaking "Ready II Fly" CD, featuring the now famous Paris subway YouTube hit, "Feel It (In the Air Tonight)", led to the much coveted opening slot for Michael Bublé for the past 3 years and their most recent CD/DVD-release 'VocalPlay' also includes a duet with Buble.

The group have been invited to perform at the prestigious Princes Trust in the UK, the TED conference, BET Honours where they received a standing ovation for "Rockit", their Herbie Hancock tribute song, and at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Week celebrations, as well as other TV-shows like Jay Leno's 'Tonight-Show', 'Ellen De Generes' and Germany's 'Wetten Dass...'. Naturally 7 has also teamed up with Quincy Jones and Ludacris for Quincy's CD, "Soul Bossa Nostra".  -The group has released 6 CD's including "Ready II Fly", "Wall of Sound", "Vocal Play" and "Christmas: A Love Story".

Tour Itinerary

Cape Town, GrandWest Casino
1,2 and 3 May 2012

Sun City, Superbowl
5 and 6 May 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

LUNAR POKER

New game will even make a poker face smile!

An exciting new progressive game of poker has been introduced to the casino floor at Carnival City.  Known as Lunar Poker, the game offers increased options, improving the odds and giving players a greater advantage over the house.

Although the game is new to South Africa there is already a pot of R4.373.943 to be won and the accumulated total grows each day.

Quick to learn and simple to play, Lunar Poker is played at a table with a total of four players.

The Game

  • After placing an opening Ante bet, each player and the dealer are dealt five cards, with the dealer’s fifth card placed face up on the table. However, before any cards are dealt, each player may place an additional progressive bet, settled only on these first five cards.
  • While deciding to play or fold against the dealer, players have two options available to them, namely changing any of the cards in their hand for a fee of one Ante, or buying a sixth card, also for a fee of one Ante.
  • A player who holds two different combinations, one of which beats the dealer, will receive payment on both combinations.  However, this is dependent on the first combination beating the dealer’s qualified hand, and having at least one card in the second combination that is not included in the first one.
  • The player has the option of placing an insurance wager on a hand with a combination of trips or higher, against the dealer not qualifying.
  • The dealer needs a combination of Ace-King or higher to play.  If the dealer doesn’t qualify, the player has an option to ‘Buy the Game’ at a fee of one Ante.  For this sum, the dealer will remove the highest valued card from their own hand, replacing it with a new card from the top of the deck.  Should the dealer qualify at this point, any player with a higher winning combination wins.

Regular poker players will agree that Lunar Poker raises the odds on their beating the house.  With so many options available, the player always feels that they are in with a chance of winning the hand.

For more information about Lunar Poker, or for an introduction to the game, please contact the Tables Department at Carnival City on 7523/7528 and 7287

Friday, March 30, 2012

Community Heroes Acclaimed

Police honoured at Carnival City-Afrisun Trust’s SAPs 2011 Merit Awards

Special award for policemen who arrested the Facebook Rapist

Among the SAPs personnel honoured at the Carnival City and Afrisun Trust’s 2011 SAPs Awards dinner on Tuesday 27 March was the late Constable Bongani Dhlamini who, together with Sergeant Maurice Moloi, was instrumental in the capture of the notorious Facebook rapist.

Representatives from each Ekurhuleni police station packed the Carnival City Big Top Arena to enthusiastically applaud each nominee and the winners were invited up onto the stage to collect their awards from the trustees of the Afrisun Trust.

The four nominees in each of the nine contested categories included permanent SAPS members, civilians, reservists, volunteers and community police forum members from throughout the Ekurhuleni district. The Awards attracted 170 entries this year.

Constable Dhlamini and Sergeant Moloi from Brackendowns SAPs were both nominated for Top Cop for the role they played in apprehending the man dubbed the Facebook rapist.  He taunted police for months before he was finally arrested in Alberton in October last year.  He is currently in prison on several charges of kidnap and rape and one of murder.  Constable Dhlamini sadly passed away on the 5th March, however his memory was honoured with a special merit award presented to him posthumously. Sergeant Moloi was similarly awarded.

Best Visible Police Member and Top Cop
The award for Best Visible Police Member as well as Top Cop went to Constable Pillay from the North East Rand Dog Unit.  Constable Pillay’s zealous and determined efforts to rid the area of the scourge of drugs and drug dealers earned him this honour.  During 2011 he variously assisted would-be suicide victims, closed down illegal shebeens and taverns, apprehended shoplifters and murders, solved four cases of cable theft amounting to over R30 000 and arrested a number of drug dealers in possession of cat, rock, dagga and cocaine.

Best reservist Actonville Cst A.M. Latif
Actonville Constable Latif was named the Best Reservist for outstanding work in the community and for his involvement in the arrest of criminals for, murder, ATM-bombings and police killings.  Together with his team he successfully tracked down a murder suspect to Ladysmith where he was apprehended in connection with the murder of a local 16-year old boy. Latif also tracked down and arrested the suspect who shot and killed his partner, recovering the firearm too.

Best Volunteer
Oupla Thobejane from Vosloorus was named Best Volunteer. He has actively encouraged people to join local community patrols, assisted in 63 arrests covering common assault, armed robbery, drug dealing, domestic violence and rape. He helped to place 11 abused women in places of safety, even using his own home for this purpose.  He also initiated a Stop Xenophobia Group.

Best Community Police Forum
Mr Selvan Naidoo, Chairperson of the Actonville-Wattville Community Police Forum accepted the Best Community Police Forum Award on behalf of them.  Since being set up, SAPs has noted a dramatic drop in crime in the area and the Forum has been commended for its hard work, good organisation and dedication to the task.  And the proof lies in the positive feedback received from the community.

Best Crime and or Communication Member
Captain Maome from Primrose was named Best Crime and/or Communication Member. He started a relief program to help victims of fires after their shacks are burnt down, built up relationships with stakeholders who assist with feeding and building materials whenever a natural  disaster occurs and oversees the delivery of food parcels and blankets for all the victims, young and old. Toys and clothes for the less fortunate children are also distributed in the settlements. The Captain was particularly applauded for his engagement with communities and the time and effort he puts into teaching youngsters about the dangers of drugs and other social crimes and working closely with the patrollers in this regard.

Best Detective
Detective Warrant Officer Seema from Boksburg North walked off with the Award for Best Detective.  This year his convictions include robbery, rape, murder and fraud.  He relieved the residents of Impala Park from criminals, who terrorised them at night, he recovered stolen goods, and apprehended the suspects in the fatal shooting of a motorist at a local petrol station where he was filling up with fuel.  The suspects are currently on trial.

Best Support Service Member and/or Civilian
Brakpan Administration Clerk Shaun Hansen received the Award for Best Support Service Member and/or Civilian.  In addition to performing his own duties diligently, Hansen has unselfishly given up his own time to give members of the team computer training and is always available to assist with the computers or scanner.  He does all this after hours, over weekends and on public holidays. He has also conducted one-on-one sessions with staff members to build morale and identify challenges they’re having.

Best Team – Tembisa Detectives – Five members  Cst, Ndlovu, Mashaita, Rapaledi, Ramallo, Rakgogo and Detective Cst, Mohlalogany)
And for dedication to duty, five detectives from Tembisa were named the Best Team.  Working closely with informants, and despite having just finished a long shift, the team were tipped off about a high-jacking syndicate.  They immediately returned to work and with meticulous planning briefed back up and secured the area, blocking off all escape routes.  After observing the area in plain clothes they waited until they had arrested five heavily armed suspects who exchanged fire until they were overpowered.  The suspects, all from Limpopo, are currently in court on charges of robbery, stolen fire arms and high-jacking.

Entertainment at the Award evening was provided by songstress Tarryn Lamb, lead singer of La Vuvuzela, popular hip hop performer ‘Skillz’ and Penelope Jane Dunlop, better known to her legion of fans as the legendary PJ Powers.

The Afrisun Trustees were thanked for making the Awards possible and for arranging an evening packed with entertainment.