Vusi Mahlasela pictured here playing at the Lyric Theatre will soon play at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. Mahlasela is known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa. Tickets for the Oct. 20 concert are now on sale. (Courtesy Photo | For JAHC)

Vusi Mahlasela pictured here playing at the Lyric Theatre will soon play at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. Mahlasela is known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa. Tickets for the Oct. 20 concert are now on sale. (Courtesy Photo | For JAHC)

South African singer, guitarist starts concert series Season 45

Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela to perform Oct. 20

The Voice is going to kickoff the concert series.

South African artist Vusi “The Voice” Mahlasela will start Season 45 of the Performing Arts and Culture Series 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

“I love his stuff,” said Justin Smith, a Juneau musician and big fan of Mahlasela.“He’s one of those singers, much in my mind like Emmylou Harris, where they have an other-worldly quality to their voice. It just gives me chills. He’s got a magical voice.”

Smith first came into contact with Mahlasela’s music six years ago in the film “Peace Through Music” and was immediately blown away. He said he’d particularly recommend Mahlasela to fans of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.”

“His guitar playing is informed by that wonderful African guitar-playing tradition,” Smith said.

Until Smith saw a flier promoting Mahlasela’s upcoming concert at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, Smith said he figured he would likely never see the singer and guitarist who played at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.

“I was just shocked and amazed when I saw a poster in the foyer of the JACC that he was coming,” Smith said. “It’s crazy that he’s here. Just look at some of the live videos on YouTube, and you can see just what a world class talent he is. He’s got an incredible voice, incredible talent and history, and it’s amazing that he’s coming to Juneau,” Smith said. “It’s not derivative. It’s this pure soulfulness — just passion and heart.”

Those qualities are the major reason he’s the first performer in the upcoming concert series.

“I listened to his music, and I thought this is fabulous, and we need to bring him to Juneau,” said Nancy DeCherney, executive director of JAHC.

Tickets for the concert are currently available.

More shows to come

The rest of the Season 45’s schedule has been released as well.

Holiday Pops performances will be Dec. 15 and 16, Khu.Éex’ with Preston Singletary will perform Jan. 28, 2019; Gospel Celebration will be March 3, 2019, and D Dat will perform March 30, 2019.

Rehearsals for the 10th annual Holiday Pops will start Sunday, Oct. 28. Anyone interested in participating can call (907)586-2787.

Know & Go

What: Vusi Mahlasela

When: 7 p.m., Oct. 20

Where: Juneau Arts & Culture Center, 350 Whittier St.

Admission:$30 for reserved seats and $5-$24 for general admission.

• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or

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