Years of listening to Knysna’s gazebo musicians in Woodmill Lane runs the risk of us locals taking the music for granted. After all, we’re a small town and those singers, guitarists etc. are more likely to be our neighbours than heroes and heroines beneath our spotlight.
Although the talent of people such as Brent Kozak (who i’ve mentioned many times previously) sometimes seem a waste if confined to our town, i also find it comforting and suited to the idyllic life i sought besides the Knysna Estuary and beneath our loerie bird sky.
Whilst i sipped tea and tapped this keyboard this morning at Chaplin’s Bistro, those mixed emotions were triumphed by a new voice that had several people, including me, asking, “Who is that?”
Her name is Shaza and it’s one that you will remember after her pretty voice has swum through your ears… and decided to swim back again and again for the sheer pleasure of it. Her portfolio is a symphony of oldies and newbie covers with the extra delight found in the fact that most of them are not being sung by her local contemporaries. She swung from opera (she taught herself!) and pop (the Killers) to rock ballads (Extreme). Even Fairground Attractions’ ‘Perfect’ from the Eighties found a place in her set.
Her greatest moments lay in oldies like languid rivers. When she sang ‘Happy Birthday’ at request, it was nearer the sexiness of the Marilyn Monroe version that anything to be found at a kid’s party. The cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ was my favourite but she’d do herself justice by using a simpler backing track so that her beautiful voice takes full stage.
I grabbed a quick chat with her afterwards. She’s 20-years young, living in Sedgefield and working as a receptionist at a travel agency. Unfortunately, music cannot take precedence but she’s been singing since she was 4 and loving it. Her favourite artists include Ellie Goulding, Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, Michael Buble and George Ezra.
You’ll love Shaza too.