The small town of Wakkerstroom is steeped in history, being the second oldest town in Mpumalanga, and the 6th oldest in the old Transvaal province. Far from being a relic of the past, however, this quaint “dorpie” is a bustling hub of activity for lovers of fine culture and nature alike.
Recently crowned the “Jewel of Mpumalanga”, Wakkerstroom is both a favourite destination for birding enthusiasts from around the country, due to its situation near a lush wetland environment, as well as the home of the renowned Wakkerstroom Music Festival, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, in conjunction with the town’s own 160th anniversary.
The WMF aims to provide a platform for classical music of the highest quality, where both established performers and up-and-coming young performers are able to present their work for an enthusiastic audience of concert-goers who travel from all over the country to soak up four days of superb music while imbibing the fresh country air, great coffee and a glass of wine or three.
Cherry Pill were honoured to be able to participate in the festival this year, performing “Si Tu Savais: foot-tapping gyspy jazz for violin and guitar” in two sold-out performances at Wakkerstroom’s historic bioscope, built in 1880 and beautifully preserved in the original style in which it was first constructed. Festival-goers were treated to a range of works inspired by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, as well as the tender strains of “O Mio Babbino Caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini. A couple of familiar favourites such as “Summertime” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” also made an appearance, and the performance finished off with an decidedly gypsy-flavoured renditon of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black”.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to Linette van der Merwe and the other members of the festival board for the opportunity to perform, and of course to the music-loving attendees, who bring the sparkle to this cultural gem in the heart of the platteland.