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Live Music at the Alma Cafe

The Alma Cafe has been a humble institution for live music in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, having featured popular local and international musicians, some of whom kick-started their careers at the unassuming venue in Rosebank.

Run by locals Retha and Richard Tait, who transformed a beloved corner shop into a live music venue, The Alma Cafe resonates with many music lovers across the country.

Still holding its corner shop appeal, the Alma cafe is a homely little place where good food, good music and good people are the order of the day.

Check out the December Line-up

NALEDI MASILO

Naledi Masilo left SA after graduating in jazz singing at UCT. Receiving a bursary and being enrolled at the prestigious New England Conservatory, she was the only student from the African Continent.

Naledi has subsequently made a name for herself in her current hometown Boston and has performed in several states across the USA, collaborating with top musicians. She also conducts workshops, has tutored 1500 Masterclass students and formed “The Dreaming Girls Arts Foundation” to help disadvantaged and talented youth to reach their dreams.

Her much-awaited first album will be released in 2023. Described as “submerging audiences in spirited and deeply rooted encounters,” a superb show is on the cards.

The locally based band is Bratthew Van Schalkwyk (keys), Grant Van Rooyen (bass), Ndumiso Nxele (drums) and Sabu Bele Jiyah (percussion) – familiar faces to the Cape Town audience.

When: Wednesday 7 December | Cost: R160 per person

OLD TOWN BAND AND TALESWAPPER

Old Town‘s genre is country/folk with bluegrass undertones and the material consists of well-known and loved covers as well as original compositions penned and workshopped by the band. Honey-voiced Grace Newton is accompanied by well-known Cape Town guitarist/singer Jono Tait, banjo man, Arno Van Zyl and Sonia “Sukey” Antonia filling the gaps on violin.

The band has been in hibernation since 2019, but re-entered the music scene with a spirited performance at The Daisy Jones Bar’s summer country festival last weekend.

Taleswapper is made up of Donny Truter (songwriter, guitarist/singer) and Jacques Du Plessis ( Mr. Cat & The Jackal frontman and multi-instrumentalist). They have a cult following due to a most interesting genre of swampy blues style fused with folk and music dream scaping which backs the most fascinating lyrics and tales.

Reminiscent of old-time bluesy songwriting performed in smoky downtown bars and dark hole-in-the-wall venues old New York style, this music is gripping – simultaneously very simple and hugely complex. One of the more interesting and original acts at The Alma Café over the last few years.

When: Friday 9 December | Cost: R160 per person

ARNO CARSTENS SOLO

Superstar Arno’s career has spanned 30 years as a songwriter and dynamic singer and frontman for one of SA’s most successful and influential bands. Famous and legendary locally and making a huge impact abroad, The Springbok Nude Girls has been a cornerstone of South Africa’s rock history since the nineties.

After a few years of hiatus, the band has reformed and released yet another outstanding album – once again music that has their middle-aged followers and a new generation of supporters pack out venues. Embarking on a solo career over the past 10 years opened different avenues for Arno in the way of more gentle songwriting and sharing life stories with his audiences. He is a most charismatic performer and has perfected stagecraft to fine art. His emotional honesty and being prepared to show vulnerability on stage is probably the biggest drawcard of his incarnation as the tender singer-songwriter.

When: Saturday 10 December | Cost: R395 per person including dinner

LUNA PAIGE, JAMIE JUPITER & NIC TURNER TRIO

Each of these musicians is very talented and has pursued successful solo careers for countless years on the Cape Town music scene. They have the key factors in common: excellent songwriters, above-average multi-instrumentalists, very strong singing talent, sharply honed stagecraft and lastly, a formidable passion for music and performance thereof.

5/6 years ago they joined forces to create and produce a wonderful tribute show based on the archival correspondence between the late Ingrid Jonker and Andre P Brink, titled Korreltjie Kantel. Using the written word to create corresponding songs and narration, they toured this show all over SA and to the Netherlands.

They released an album and formed a very strong musical bond and friendship. These factors brought them back together and the current trio’s offering will consist of some work off their album, but will also feature original songwriting, collaboration, and performances by each individual.

When: Sunday 11 December | Cost: R160 per person

BUHLE ASHANTI TRIBE ALBUM LAUNCH

Nobuhle Ashanti is widely recognised as a very gifted piano player. She graduated from UCT Jazz School some 6 years ago and was already a force to be reckoned with on the local jazz scene, fronting various bands and collaborating with the cream of the older jazz generation.

Buhle is extremely hard-working, loves challenges and is most diligent and innovative as a band leader. Her seemingly effortless command of her instrument whilst conducting a free-flowing style of improvised music, tells the story of confidence born from sheer raw talent and being free to immerse herself in the journey on stage. She is a regular and favourite performer at Alma Cafe, and it has been a privilege to observe her steady development from student days to becoming a true star in the future of SA jazz.

When: Thursday 15 December | Cost: R120 per person

HATCHETMAN

Eleven years ago Jono Tait heard the brothers Catto (Nick & Matt ) performing as backup rhythm section and harmony singers at The Alma Café. He recognised their genetic voice blend as ideal for a long envisaged band with three-part harmony singing as their focus.

He approached them to test drive a bunch of his original songs written as a vehicle for harmony singing and acoustic instruments, and Hatchetman formed the second their voices chimed together. Reaching a decade down the line, the trio fills a very specific gap on the local folk and acoustic scene, having built up an extensive fanbase of folks who stayed in love with the seventies revolution of harmony singing-driven music.

Rehearsing to perfection levels, and actively workshopping Jono’s lyrics and basic tunes, the band became in demand at important festivals and venues. Performing at City Hall, Kirstenbosch Summer Festivals, The Baxter, Festivals including STRAB and Up the Creek, countless corporates, and every music venue in town, they have also won also winning three Ovation awards in four appearances at the National Arts Fest.

Returning to their first-ever performance venue shows at Alma café has always been highlight for the band and their capacity audiences. Ending off 2022’s music calendar at Alma seems fitting for this “homegrown” and treasured band.

When: Wednesday 21 December | Cost: R160 per person

Address: 20 Alma Rd, Rosebank, Cape Town
Facebook: The Alma Cafe
Instagram: @the.alma.cafe