Cape Town-based Ottoman Slap will heal your wounds, allay your sorrows and
soothe your soul as they weave their music, originating in the soul of itinerant
folk musicians and travellers.
Their eclectic musical offering includes traditional pieces and adaptations of folk
songs from places such as Romania, Andalusia and Algeria, as well as original
compositions influenced by Balkan and Middle Eastern music, with mesmerising
Tribal Fusion bellydance as the highlight.
They strike a resonance between local and global music by weaving together
Middle Eastern and Cape rhythms along with vocals in Spanish, Roma and
Afrikaans. Instruments include saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, saw, mandolin,
guitar, accordion, double bass, darbuka, daf, riq, cajón, zils and castanets.
It is a fascinating fusion of world styles and, importantly, an integration of dance
and music, drawing on themes of cultural movement, rootlessness and
In the words of Ottoman Slap percussionist James van Minnen: “The band
formed around our passion for what is considered exotic music. Although it may
seem counter-intuitive to be playing Middle-Eastern, Balkan and Mediterranean inspired music in South of Africa, for some reason, there is something in these
cultures that we feel at home with and which feels like a very natural stylistic
form of expression for us. These artistic styles and culture are deeply embedded
in many things we in the Western world consider as ‘normal’, ‘domestic’ or
This unique blend of music and dance is a feast for the senses, simultaneously
shedding new light on traditional culture and finding common roots.
Ottoman Slap are Matthew Reid on saxophone and clarinet, Doug Armstrong on trumpet and guitar,
Marissa Cuenoud a Tribal Fusion bellydancer and on accordion and percussion, Callan Wolff on double bass and saw and James van Minnen on mandolin, percussion and hybrid drum kit.