Musical Melange

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Musical Melange is the name often given to an evening of mixed musical entertainment.

In at least one case it is the name given to a specific act in an evening of entertainment.

The term

The word mélange (or melange) became part of English in the 1600s and derives from the Middle French verb mesler, which means "to mix." In brief it tends to refer to a miscellaneous a mixture or medley of some kind, especially of a wide range or variety of items. Used in many fields of human endeavour, and in the case of entertainment and music, would refer to a mix of various styles, forms and renditions of musical and other entertainment forms.

While melange is often found in 19th century programmes, the alternative term medley was more popular in the mid-20h century South African popular music.

A Musical Melange, Cape Town, 1866

Described as a "Musical Melange", this particular act was created and performed by the Darkie Serenaders and "Mr Percy Howard", probably as an occasion specific item, when they participated in a benefit performance for the actor manager J.H. le Roy.

Performed by the Le Roy-Duret Company on 25 October, 1866, aided by "A Host of Amateur Voluntary Aid", in the Harrington Street Theatre, Cape Town, as part of a benefit for Le Roy. Also on offer were Who Killed Cock Robin? (Matthews), an "(a)musing sketch, arranged for the occasion", Left the Stage, or Thornton Worrying Le Roy, a dance ("La Cachuca") by Mrs Brazier and Mrs Luin, and a farewell address by Mrs Duret.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.213

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