See Pharrell Williams live in SA

Pharrell 2-2

So by now you know Pharrell Williams is collaborating with retailer, Woolworths for the “#AreYouWithUs” campaign, which aims to uplift education and environmental sustainability in SA: www.woolworths.co.za/areyouwithus. To celebrate this initiative Woolies and Big Concerts are putting on two concerts this September. The dates are as follows:

Cape Town: Monday 21st September at Grand Arena, GrandWest
Johannesburg: Thursday 24th September at Ticketpro Dome

Tickets go on sale this coming Friday and you can get these at the www.bigconcerts.com.

If you’re a Woolworths cardholder, you can get 2-day pre-sale access, starting from tomorrow at 9am through to Wednesday at 9pm.

Those tour details again:

Cape Town
Monday 21st September 2015
Grand Arena, GrandWest
Ticket Price: R450 – R735
Tickets go on sale Friday 29th May 2015 at 9am from www.bigconcerts.com.

Johannesburg
Thursday 24th September 2015
Ticketpro Dome
Ticket Price: R395 – R735
Tickets go on sale Friday 29th May 2015 at 9am from www.bigconcerts.com

All the 2015 Billboard Music Awards winners

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If you’re just waking up, you’ll be waking up to the pictures, news, reviews and more from this year’s Billboard Music Awards. The big winner of the night was none other than Taylor Swift, who scooped eight trophies at this year’s awards. Plus her new BF, Calvin Harris also won an award. So all in all it was a good night for the young star. Pharrell Williams and Iggy Azalea also won big. As dig newcomer Meghan Trainor who walked off with the Top 100 Award for her song All About That Bass.

Who else won big? Check out the winner’s list below:
TOP ARTIST
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP COUNTRY ARTIST
Florida Georgia Line — WINNER

BILLBOARD CHART ACHIEVEMENT AWARD PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG GALAXY (FAN-VOTED)
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP TOURING ARTIST
One Direction — WINNER

TOP FEMALE ARTIST
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP RADIO SONG
John Legend, “All of Me” — WINNER

TOP MALE ARTIST
Sam Smith — WINNER

TOP RAP SONG
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy” — WINNER

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ALBUM
Taylor Swift, 1989 — WINNER

TOP DUO/GROUP
One Direction — WINNER

TOP NEW ARTIST
Sam Smith — WINNER

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ARTIST
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP HOT 100 ARTIST
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP DIGITAL SONGS ARTIST
Taylor Swift — WINNER

TOP RADIO SONGS ARTIST
Sam Smith — WINNER

TOP SOCIAL ARTIST
Justin Bieber — WINNER

TOP STREAMING ARTIST
Iggy Azalea — WINNER

TOP R&B ARTIST
Pharrell Williams — WINNER

TOP RAP ARTIST
Iggy Azalea — WINNER

TOP ROCK ARTIST
Hozier — WINNER

TOP LATIN ARTIST
Romeo Santos — WINNER

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC ARTIST
Calvin Harris — WINNER

TOP CHRISTIAN ARTIST
Hillsong United — WINNER

TOP SOUNDTRACK
Frozen — WINNER

TOP R&B ALBUM
Pharrell Williams, G I R L — WINNER

TOP RAP ALBUM
J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive — WINNER

TOP COUNTRY ALBUM
Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt — WINNER

TOP ROCK ALBUM
Coldplay, Ghost Stories — WINNER

TOP LATIN ALBUM
Enrique Iglesias, Sex and Love — WINNER

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM
Lindsey Stirling, Shatter Me — WINNER

TOP CHRISTIAN ALBUM
Lecrae, Anomaly — WINNER

TOP HOT 100 SONG
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

TOP DIGITAL SONG
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass” — WINNER

TOP STREAMING SONG (AUDIO)
John Legend, “All of Me” — WINNER

TOP STREAMING SONG (VIDEO)
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off” — WINNER

TOP R&B SONG
Pharrell Williams, “Happy” — WINNER

TOP COUNTRY SONG
Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down” — WINNER

TOP ROCK SONG
Hozier, “Take Me to Church” — WINNER

TOP LATIN SONG
Enrique Iglesias feat. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona, “Bailando” — WINNER

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC SONG
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What” — WINNER

TOP CHRISTIAN SONG
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water” — WINNER

As far as performances go, the ever awesome Jussie Smollett and Yazz, as well as Estelle from FOX’s Empire performed two tracks from the show’s soundtrack. Check it out below:

Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea performed their Pretty Girls track. WOW, Britney is looking good and back to her old self as far as performing is concerned. Nice:

And of course, fresh off her multiple wins, Taylor debuted her new video Bad Blood. Check it out:

Gallery: Chris Forrest wins Celebrity MasterChef SA

In case you missed it, comedian Chris Forrest walked off victorious earlier when he was announced as the first celebrity winner of Celebrity MasterChef SA. Many of this year’s contestants, together with media, M-Net representatives and other stakeholders all turned up to La Toscana in Montecasino to find out who between Chris Forrest and Patricia Lewis would be crowned the winner. Either way, they’re both won. Together the two raised over R300,000.00 for their respective charities, adding to the R200,000 raised by their fellow celebrities and contestants. That is awesome news and big up to Chris, Patricia and the others. Check out some of the pictures from La Toscana below:

 

Win Child 44 merchandise

Child 44 pack shot

Releasing in cinemas today is the thriller, Child 44. The film tells the story about a disgraced member of the military police Leo Demidov (played by Tom Hardy). Demidov investigates a series of child murders during Stalinist Russia in the 1950s.

Having being exiled, he together with his wife (Noomi Rapace) team up with Mikhail Nesteroy (Gary Oldman) to track down the serial killer responsible for killing the young boys.

In celebration of this release, I’ve got three notebooks and three novels to give away. Simply name one of the three stars you’ll get to see in the film in the comment section or on Facebook. Everyone loves a notepad, so get involved :)

 

Check out the trailer for Child 44:

 

 

@monArkband ready to rock out at @OM_Concerts

Monark
Old Mutual Music at the lake series is back and this weekend they have a killer line up. The highly acclaimed, Gangs of Ballet together with SAMA nominated band Monark will take to the stare on the 10th of May. I caught up with the guys from Monark to find out what they have in store for us and also how the rest of 2015 is looking for the band:
1. You’re going to be out and about at Old Mutual Music at the Lake this weekend. What have you got in store for us?
Well, hopefully there is a certain standard of live show you have come to expect with bands such as Gangs of ballet and Monark so we will as always trying to deliver and maybe exceeding it with a touch of something new.
2. Sharing the stage with Gangs of Ballet is…? Tell us about touring and hanging out with them for such a concert
They are such an inspiration to all of us! SInce our first tour with them on their album launch they have inspired us to always work on our live show and make sure it is the best it can be. Hanging out with them is just a lot of random jokes and also some serious conversation about life!
3. If you could cover one of their songs it would be which one and why? 
   Their latest single…what’s it called again…oh yeah Love is on it’s way. Such a hot Rocking song!
4. It has been quite a busy year and a half for you guys, since you burst onto the scene in 2013. Tell us about the Monark ride so far. Highs, lows and everything in between.
   It is really difficult to describe the ride so far in words. Thankfully a lot more ups than downs. I think part of our success is the fact that we are never happy with where we are and trying to better in all areas of our band and business.
5. Did you ever imagine you’d crack a Best Pop Album nomination at the SAMAs?
   Secretly deep down we really hoped for one. But to get three nominations in the end was totally mind blowing!
6. Whenever I’m with friends or family in the car or near a radio and we hear one of your tracks, people always comment on how international your sound is. How does that make you feel?
  That is definitely a major compliment for us, but also in the South African market it creates a bit of a stumbling block when you really are Proudly South African. So we are working hard to get  people to realize that we are not in fact international but from SA and mostly Afrikaans for that matter…:)
7. Do you plan on branching out and taking your music to international shores?
  We have definitely talked about it, but for now we are happy to just work on our craft here in SA!
8. What else do you have on the cards for the rest of 2015?
   We can’t wait for the release of our next single called Hush. The music video is so hot and was done by the SAMA winning Ryan Kruger. Then we are also planning a re-release later in the year of our debut album with some extra content on there.
9. Your favourite track to play live is?
   Smiling! It’s the song that started it all for us

Gates open at 13h00 for pre-sold tickets (R140 through http://www.webtickets.co.za) and at 13h30 for on-the-day ticket sales (R160).  MonArk starts playing at 14h30, followed by Gangs of Ballet.

For more information, you can follow @OM_Concerts on Twitter, like the Old Mutual Music in the Gardens page on Facebook or visit www.dogreatthings.co.za.

Listen to Zahara ft Tressor

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SAMA-winning star Zahara has teamed up with DRC’s TRESOR Riziki for a new track called Limbisa. The song, which is off her platinum-selling album Phendula, was produced by legendary Robbie Malinga and Mjalefa ‘Mjakes” Thebe.

Limbisa is derived from the Congolese dialect, Lingala and it means “Forgive”. The message of the song is simple: to celebrate our imperfections and differences and how through that, we learn to celebrate and live alongside one another peacefully.  On the track you’ll hear Zahara singing in Swahili, which in itself is incredible. The video will be shot in three weeks at the SABC. Apparently they’re looking to have a whole heap of celebs featuring in the video. Can’t wait to see it.

I’ve got both of Zahara’s albums and I’ve had the privilege of meeting and interview TRESOR and I think the formidable duo can do something very special musically, culturally and socially with this track. If you want to have a listen, click here.

Zahara online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zahara/256375641064056?fref=ts

Twitter: @ZaharaSA

Instagram: @ZaharaSA

Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/umgsa/zahara-ft-tresor-limbisa-snippet.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCScc-EVq2x4n0Rj4RzwRL9Q

Gallery: #PovertyIsSexist video shoot with Waje, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and others

The ONE Campaign this week brought together some of the biggest female stars from the African continent for the #PovertyIsSexist drive. The campaign is calling for world leaders to put women’s empowerment at the front and centre of the new development goals this year and beyond.

Stars like Vanessa Mdee, Victoria Kimani, Waje, Judith Sephuma, Arielle T, Gabriela and Selomor Mtukudzi, together with Nollywood superstar actress Omotola were all out and about in Johannesburg on Thursday for the shoot of the music video. Check out some of the pictures below:

The song is expected to drop on the 13th of May. Stay tuned for more.

#VonVoyage to the Kruger National Park

Lions2_KrugerPark_April2015

I recently decided to leave my job of five years. It was never going to be an easy decision to make because of the nature of the company and the work I was doing, but after five years it was definitely the right time to move on. I leave with fond memories, but a new outlook on what growth, development, challenges and change await me. It’s very exciting, daunting too, but more positive.

I thought before I go straight into the new job, I’d take some time out and with us having so many public holidays in the month of April, it was the perfect opportunity. I looked at taking a trip to Thailand, a trip to Zanzibar… I spun the globe around and landed on South America, Chile to be precise, but after closer inspection, I really the costs attached to such weren’t favorable. So I decided a bush trip would be best. If you haven’t done the bush in a while or you’re from a different part of the globe, in which case you might be considering a “Safari”, do yourselves a favour and BOOK it. It is good for the soul, the mind. You will have no other choice but to enjoy the peace and quiet, the tranquility, reflect on what really matters and enjoy the beauty that you find yourself in.

I booked at two camps in the incredible Kruger National Park, two nights at Satara and two nights in Skukuza. Satara is pretty much in the middle of the park, while Skukuza is a little further south and the biggest camp in the park. I haven’t been here in years, but it’s just still as awesome. Satara is a small, well run camp. I booked into my bungalow, which is perfect for two people. It’s comfortable, fitted with AC and has all the utensils you need to enjoy your self catering unit. I also managed to see all five of the big five in one day… That is pretty much unheard of, but it can and clearly does happen. Check out the pics below.

Skukuza is about 96kms from Satara. Take into account that you will need to stick to the speed limit of 50km/h, so it will take you time to get there. In true Virgo style, I was worried that I wouldn’t make the gate closure times, so I set off early. Needless to say I made it with more than enough time. In fact I had six hours to mill around before the gates closed, so don’t be a nerd like me. I actually enjoyed seeing all five of the big five again, crazy and I had the most spectacular leopard spotting. Check out the leopard shrine below ;)

I used to come to Skukuza when I was younger. I remember it being big, but not this big. Airport, golf course, convention centre… What??? Yeah, it’s huge. Satara has a Mugg and Bean and a Debonairs, so I thought the biggest camp in the park would also have these chain restaurants. Apparently not, which isn’t a bad thing. It still is a little weird to me that they’re in the park in the first place. Again the facilities in each bungalow are perfect is suitable for a couple. The unit was also a quick walk to the river, which is great. You can grab a book and sit on the benches, chill and enjoy the peace and quiet. Apparently you should take your binoculars too because there’s a resident leopard nearby. If I had an extra day, I would’ve done that for sure.I also did another night drive, which was super quiet. There were impalas, impalas, ellies, impalas and then some more impalas. Not as rewarding as the first night drive, but it was pleasant none the less. The only thing I would prefer is if we went off road and the ranger did some spoor tracking. That is always fun and exciting. Next time.

If you’re not into the basics, you can upgrade to one of the more luxurious camps and on the contrary, if you’re into roughing it, then bring your tents or caravans and check into the camping the site. Just come. The bush is one of the most special experiences anyone can ever have. Trust me when I say this. I’ve traveled a lot and this, next to NYC of course, will also be one of the best getaways I’ve invested in and will continue to do so in the years to come. The Kruger National Park is a national gem and I highly recommend it… Go on and #VonVoyage

Would you like me to review or visit your resort, camp, tourist destination? Email me on jason.vonberg@gmail.com

All the 2015 SAMA XXI winners

Beatenberg win big at #SAMAXXIHere is the full list of this years’s South African Music Awards winners (#SAMAXXI):
• Album of the Year
Beatenberg The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg

• Duo or Group of the Year
Beatenberg The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg

• Female Artist of the Year
Bucie Princess of House (Easy to Love)

• Male Artist of the Year
AKA Levels

• Newcomer of the Year
Cassper Nyovest Tsholofelo

• Best Rock Album
aKing Morning After

• Best Pop Album
Beatenberg The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg

• Beste Pop Album (Afrikaans)
Riana Nel Die Regte Tyd

• Best Rap Album
K.O. Skhanda Republic

• Best Kwaito Album
Professor University of Kalawa Jazmee Since 1994

• Best Dance Album
Black Motion Fortune Teller

• Best Traditional Faith Music Album
S’fiso Ncwane Bayede Baba
KIA RECORD OF THE YEAR
Caracara – K.O. ft. Kid X

SPECIAL AWARDS
• Lifetime Achievement Awards
Zim Ngqawana
Mdu Masilela
Mandla “Spikiri” Mofokeng

• International Achievement Award
Wouter Kellerman

WINNERS: INDUSTRY AWARDS
• Best Adult Contemporary Album
Niemand Back Again

• Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album
Dewald Wasserfall #EkEnJy

• Best African Adult Album
Maleh You Make My Heart Go

• Best Alternative Album
Bittereinder Skerm

• Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album
Afrotraction For the Lovers

• Best Contemporary Faith Music Album
Loyiso Bala Power Love Sound

• Best Traditional Music Album
Botlhale Boikanyo Spoken Word & Music

• Best Maskandi Album
Thokozani Langa Igema Lami

• Best Jazz Album
McCoy Mrubata Brasskap Sessions Vol. 2

• Best Classical and/or Instrumental Album
Wouter Kellerman Winds of Samsara

• Best Live DVD
Lira First Decade (producer: Robin Kohl)

• Best Collaboration
K.O. ft. Kid X Caracara

• Remix of the Year
DJ Sbu, Robbie Malinga Indlela Yam by DJ Sbu
& Mojalefa Thebe

• Best Music Video of the Year
Ryan Kruger (director) Let the Night In by Prime Circle

• Best Producer of the Year
Wouter Kellerman & Winds of Samsara by Wouter Kellerman
Ricky Kej

• Best Engineer of the Year
Brian O’Shea, Crighton Johnny Apple by Johnny Apple
Goodwill & Marius Brouwer
BEST SELLING MOBILE MUSIC DOWNLOADS
• Best Selling Album
Die Regte Tyd – Riana Nel

• Best Selling DVD
Vol. 18 One Purpose – Joyous Celebration

• Best Selling Ring-Back Tone
Pluto (Remember You) – DJ Clock ft. Beatenberg

• Best Selling Full-Track Download
Pluto (Remember You) – DJ Clock ft. Beatenberg

SAMPRA AWARD
• Highest Airplay of the Year (2014)
Pluto (Remember You) – DJ Clock ft. Beatenberg

Minister Mthethwa condemns the xenophobic attacks

As many of you are aware, a small number of South Africans have decided to violently attack and harm some of the foreign nationals who have made our country their home too. I say a small number because the vast majority of us have condemned these attacks in the strongest of terms and have distanced ourselves from such malicious and quite frankly criminal activities. I’m not naive and I understand why citizens of our country are fed up, but there must be another way to voice your concerns and anger? March to the Union Buildings, share your opinions, your stories, your pain with the President, but for crying out loud don’t burn a fellow human being for also wanting to make a life for him/herself. It’s despicable, inhumane and it breaks my heart.

I’m not one to hate on my country. In fact I am a person who tries to shut the haters up, but damn it’s hard when there are issues like xenophobia, crime, the power crisis all happening simultaneously. Our president is supposedly going to make an address later today… Great, more words. How is that going to help? Honestly? He isn’t liked by many and this is certainly something where he could change that view. In doing so, he could help change the perceptions of how South Africans currently ‘welcome’, ’embrace’ and live with those who choose to make this place their home too.

I heard on the news earlier that artists like Kelly Khumalo and Cassper Nyovest have had their international gigs placed on ice or cancelled outright because of what is currently happening. I say good. The world must turn their backs on us until such behaviour is removed from our society. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but maybe tough love and the withdrawal of foreign investment in this country is the wake up call our government and we as a nation need in order to move forward. Those are my feelings right now! I pray for and keep my fellow human beings from this beautiful continent of mine in my thoughts. I hope you will be safe and I will do all I can to help make this as much a home for you, as it is for me.

I received a press release from the Arts and Culture Department, in which the minister himself has condemned the attacks: Continue reading