Recap: Kabza De Small & Ofentse Pitse’s Red Bull Symphonic Was An Extravagant Showcase Of Superb Musicianship

By @SabeloMkhabela_ on 06/10/2024 in Article

Kabza De Small has so many hits at many points during his and Ofentse Pitse’s Red Bull Symphonic concert at Gold Reef City felt like he was performing his set closer. ‘Imithandazo’, ‘eMcimbini’, ‘Izolo’ and ‘Adiwele’ could have all closed the show, but none of them did, they were just one of many multiple eargasms. 

For approximately two hours, the “King of Amapiano” slid through his extensive catalogue of hits and album cuts with the 33-piece Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Ofentse Pitse, a virtuoso of classical music who is the first black South African woman to own and lead an all-black orchestra. Ofentse peeled through sheets of music that dropped to her podium upon completion landing next to her gyrating feet.  

The horn and percussion sections dominated while the string section played along subtly. The whole orchestra shone during the instrumental B-sides and through the horn solos that concluded a number of the hits performed. 

Kabza, rocking a shiny black tuxedo, worked the wheels of steel and played those ominous keys that defined 2010s Amapiano together with the speed-hump kick roll you hear on ‘Vula Vala’ which infected the audience with pre-Covid-19 nostalgia. 

The Red Bull Symphonic show opened with Kabza’s newly-released ‘Kabza Chant’ led by Nokwazi and Mthunzi who would return for multiple songs such as one of the biggest songs of 2023 ‘Imithandazo’ which he performed with Young Stunna and Sizwe Alakine and ‘Amazwe’ with Mawhoo. 

A long list of Kabza frequent collaborators made appearances on the show. DJ Maphorisa spat his iconic verse on ‘Izolo’ while Njelic performed one of Kabza’s early hits ‘Eningi’ and ‘Nana Thula’. Young Stunna had the crowd singing along to his breakout hit ‘Adiwele’ and kept them engaged with his unequalled stage presence. Daliwonga performed a medley that included everything from ‘iLog Drum’ to ‘Gangnam Style’ and ‘Manzi Nte’. 

The show was expansive, combining masterful DJing, superb live instrumentation, sterling vocal performances, effortless dancing and heartwarming spoken word — renowned poet Nova Masango opened the show and came back halfway through to recite praises not only to Kabza and Ofentse but South African music and culture as a whole. She spoke of “that log drum that keeps us rooted in our beginning”, adding that “our beginning is the drum beat”.

Kabza De Small is one of the most talented and prolific music producers in South African music history. In just a little over five years he has managed to showcase an unmatched versatility, borrowing from Afro House, Jazz, Kwaito and other genres to create crossover hits that resonate with all demographics. 

His super producer status is unquestionable, which makes sense as to why his catalogue would receive the Red Bull Symphonic treatment alongside a select few contemporary artists such as Hip-Hop super producer Metro Boomin

The King of Amapiano is a once-in-a-generation artist and it’s beautiful to see him celebrated in real-time, a chance many GOATs in SA music history never got. 

The standing ovation the ensemble received was earned through the extravagant showcase of effortlessly superb musicianship. 




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