Ottomans Section One were the winners at City Hall.
The first two choral competitions of the Cape Malay Choir Board took place at City Hall over the weekend.

Many people were unhappy with the venue and the organising of the event - and rightfully so!

The CMCB need to find people who understand the logistics and planning of such events.

Today though, I choose to rather write about the highs of the weekend as opposed to the lows.

I think the teams who delivered singing of an exceptional quality deserve that.

The level of performance at the Cape Malay Choir Board is far superior to the singing at any other board of a similar nature.

Though it still irks me that the type of singing is not as traditional as I would personally prefer it to be, I would have to be very selfish to not acknowledge the stellar performances of the nagtroepe who took to the stage this weekend.

These are my highlights of Section 1 and Section 2:

  • Ottomans : I was blown away by how polished and professional this team sounded. It is obvious that they put in endless hours of hard work and practice, and they were justly rewarded with the highest points of the night.
  • Villagers: Shuaib Ryklief, the Nederlands voorsinger of Villagers had the City Hall on their feet with his passionate, traditional rendition of their liedjie. To me, that is how a liedjie should be sung. I did not expect Villagers to get a good prize, as the judging criteria is not in line with the way that he and his team delivered their liedjie.

They only got a fourth prize, but as that old saying goes: “Hy het die hall gewen.”

Enthusiastic performances like these, that bring joy and lift the spirits, make me feel that we haven’t entirely lost the essence of Cape Malay choir singing to secular criteria and judging.

We still know what we like.

  • Modern Boys: Ismail Ryklief, brother of the above-mentioned Shuaib Ryklief, was the voorsinger for Modern Boys, and though his style was as traditional, he and his pak seemed to find that elusive balance between the old and the new style. They deservedly won the first prize Nederlandsliedjie on the night.
  • Parkdales: Monox and his pak killed it! By far, the best comic of the weekend for me.

I liked seeing how the nagtroepe are finding the middle ground, and how comic songs are actually becoming funny again.

I was concerned about the lack of junior soloists, though. It should be mandatory for each team to have a junior who should be developed and nurtured into senior soloists.

Allowing them to perform as junior soloists and then hiring outside, operatic senior soloists makes no sense.

The highlight was on Sunday night when members and supporters from all five competing teams jolled down Darling Street!

There was no ugliness or animosity. There was just joy at being part of the community and culture.

Like many, I do not always agree with the Cape Malay Choir Board. However, I acknowledge the good that this organisation does.

The CMCB must be doing something right to be the custodians of teams who produce the exceptional calibre of performances I witnessed this weekend.

The teams of the Cape Malay Choir Board have my full support as they work hard to preserve this art for generations to come.

Our Cape Town Culture ROCKS!