Music Alla Kaap 4 is a resounding success but where are the young people in the audience?

The cast of Music Alla Kaap 4 at the Grand West Arena

Spending the evening soaking in the sounds of local music

I woke up this morning with the R&B group, Denim's catchy refrain " We gonna rise as a people, going higher and higher" ringing in my head. This is what happens after you had celebrated the power of local music at the Music Alla Kaap 4 concert at the Grand West Arena on Saturday evening. Local is indeed lekker.

The theme of this year's concert was the celebration of our musical diversity and the rich talent of our emerging artists. The young artists and the seasoned artists performed side by side in an eclectic blend of opera, Jazz, R&B, hip hop and soul. An accomplished soprano dedicated the Ave Maria to the music greats who had shaped the path for the current and future generation of local musicians.

Highlights of the Music Alla Kaap 4 concert

The young artists dominated the first half of the show. The brilliance of the young, emerging musicians was skillfully placed between the opening performance of tenor, James Bhemgee and  R. J. Benjamin, the accomplished vocal coach, singer and renowned advocate and mentor of young emerging artists.  Emerging musicians, Jonathan Rubain ( bass guitarist), Donveno Prins (saxophonist) and London (singer) owned the stage artistically and physically. Their repertoires were slick and professional. We adored them!

During the second half, the maestros - Karin Kortje, Alistair Izobel and Denim took centre stage. Each of their performances was exquisite and this explains why they are such sought after musicians. Music Alla Kaap 4 successfully showcased the amazing talent we have right here in our backyard.  Kudus to Alistair Izobel and his creative production team for reminding us of the beauty and the power of our Proudly South African music.

Part of the audience enjoying Denim, the R&B group.

Pumped up during the finale... lol

Where are the young people at concerts such as Music Alla Kaap?

There is however, one nagging thought I have. Our youth, the generation we need to help us build our natural musical heritage, are sorely missing from these Music Alla Kaap concerts.  Our young people need to be exposed to these cultural experiences so that they can learn to appreciate and support the local music industry. Also, they may be inspired to explore their own talents and find creative alternatives to subvert those soul-destroying elements like drug abuse and gangsterism.

 As a regular Music Alla Kaap patron, I see a mainly middle-aged (ouch!) audience. This loyal audience sector will attend the concerts celebrating local music because we have already embraced our musicians' talents, regardless of the age of the musicians or the genre they ascribe to.  We, the faithful converts, merely need reminders via radio or the print media about such events. It is the youth sector that should be brought into the fold.

Music Alle Kaap should review their Youth Audience development strategy.

Perhaps the Music Alla Kaap producers should review their marketing strategy and include a youth audience development strategy to their current marketing repertoire. Our young people are the future vanguards of our local music industry. This untapped group that flocks to fill our stadia to see export groups and individuals like One Direction and Michael Buble should be wooed strategically and creatively to become avid, local supporters of our homegrown musical talent. They are the future influencers; the ones who possess the creative power and the income earners of tomorrow.

Given this context, it is logical therefore that Music Alle Kaap either introduces or strengthens their Youth Audience development strategy.  The Artscape Audience Development and Education (ADE) serves as a good model to promote the arts amongst young people. Schools and other educational institutions are actively embraced to participate in various ways as artists or as patrons. If Music Alle Kaap succeeds in building their audience profile that includes the niche youth group, I believe that Alistair Izobel's vision for the promotion of local music will be realized on a far larger sustainable scale than we can imagine.

There the refrain goes again: " We gonna rise as a people, we gonna rise as people... going higher and higher...

What are your ideas on promoting our local music? Do we have a role to play to help those who are already in the business of growing our local talent?


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