Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Abakhaya at Mama Africa, Cape Town

African beats fused with jazz and an unbelievable vocalist who sings in an operatic tenor. It's a voice built for the opera crossed with African chutzpah. (bonus points for the rhyme?)

My mouth was agape with incredulity. Here was an African man in a sleeveless shirt hopping up and down a makeshift podium made of a pair of overturned plastic coke cases.

I wasn't surprised at the tourists hopping up and down with him and swaying rhythmically as if in a trance. I couldn't help myself either. The playful marimba complemented by the various percussions and jazz trumpeteer was just a rocking good time!

And such a familiar playlist! Sexual Healing, Don't Worry Be Happy, No Woman No Cry, Fallen; these songs were all performed African style with percussions, a killer marimba, trumpet solos topped with an opera-tenor voice and it just worked!

This is a mash-up to end all mash-ups!

I bought a CD from them but sad to say, it's just not the same. Abakhaya has played in many international venues and they are best experienced live.

Anyway let's talk about the food at Mama Africa. Surprise, surprise it is typically African. For starters, try the Snoek pate (ZAR32.5) which is similar to an open-faced tuna sandwich. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, order the wild game mixed grill (ZAR165) that has grilled kudu, ostrich, crocodile and springbok. You've seen them in the wild, now you can eat them.

For dessert, I recommend the banana flame (ZAR37) just for the theatrics. Finally, to top it all off-- order a double Amarula on crushed ice. Yum.

Rating: 0.5
Bonus points for the Michael Jackson-esque exclamations of "eeeheee!" (minus crotch grab) that punctuated some of the faster songs! This is a must-see if you're in Cape Town. Visit Mama Africa on Long St. Abakhaya performs during Wednesdays. The place gets packed really quick so make sure you call and reserve a seat.


Harry said...

Thanks for the review. Just letting you know that Abakhaya play Wednesdays and Fridays. See you soon,


Anonymous said...


You can check Abakhaya out on myspace.The url is http://www.myspace.com/abakhayamarimba


Anonymous said...

I'm from Ireland and saw these guys in Mama Africa in March 2008. Amazing. Best live performance I've ever heard!!! So talented.

Anonymous said...


categorygirl said...

Hi--A bunch of us from Canada and Turkey saw Abakhaya at Mama Africa two years ago (December 2007). I agree with the review. The recording does not capture the quality of the live show, and especially the musically range of the main vocalist. I do hope more people get to know them and of them, and love this particular energetic kind of "mash-up"!