‘Drums mesmerised me’
ELF-TAUGHT drummer Monty Naidoo built his first percussion set using his mother’s old pots, lids, biscuit containers and a gallon oil drum.
At the age of 11, he did not know that this simple act would pave the way for a five-decade career in music, which resulted in him performing in many parts of the city and abroad.
“The sound of the drums left me mesmerised. When I watched bands play at weddings and parties, I was glued to the drummer’s movements and was taken aback by the beats they created,” said Naidoo.
Unable to pay for formal lessons, Naidoo, now 63, of North Beach in Durban, would spend time listening to records and cassettes, while practising on his makeshift drum set.
When he turned 18, Naidoo joined the eastern band, Oriental Limelite. His first performance was at a contest at the Durban City Hall.
“Although we did not come out in the top three, we came first in the best dressed outfit category for our colourful sequinned shirts,” laughed the married father of three and grandfather of one.
After two years, he joined Scorpio, which performed at various eateries and hotels in the city, including Regal Restaurant, Eden Rock Hotel, Luthando Hotel and Aquarius Nightclub.
Naidoo also freelanced for popular bands like Struggle, Caribbean Dance Band and Dukes Combo until he formed his own pop and disco group, The Legends, in 1987.
“We played at charity fairs from the north to the south of KwaZulu-Natal. Among the highlights was performing with the late Lucky Dube at a concert at the old Village Green site.”
After 14 years with The Legends, Naidoo joined El Remos, later renamed Kreme.
“While performing with them, I recorded two CDs – one with the Latino’s Band, and the second CD featured dance music with artists like Jona Harris, Sykes Maheeph, Derrick George and Lazarus Sigamoney.”
Naidoo is passionate about music and never misses an opportunity to perform.
“In 2000, I travelled to Bangkok and played with the resident band at the Indra Regent Hotel. In 2011, while on holiday in Mauritius, I performed with locals at the Casurina Hotel and Resort. I enjoyed performing with the locals and learnt so much from them.”
He currently plays with Tropical Heat.
Musician Monty Naidoo is passionate about his music.
A younger Naidoo during a performance.