Meet Hilton Schilder, Musician and “Jazz Safari Guide”

Who never hummed « Asimbonanga » or « Pata Pata »? These hits put famous south-africans great singers like Johnny Clegg or Miriam Makeba on the world stage. Other artists, maybe less known from the general public, are also international stars, in particular on the jazz scene, like Abdullah Ibrahim or Hugh Masekela. But South Africa is full of talented musicians who are worth highlighting. I had the pleasure interviewing one of them: Hilton Schilder.

Hilton Schilder - No turning back

What type of Music / Genre do you play?

To put it into 1 box, I “ Play World Music” a mixture of Jazz, Classical, Folk music from a South Africa, Carnival Music, Indigenous music which includes Africa and Cultures from the rest of the World

Where do you live?

I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. I was born in Wynberg and then moved to Lotus River where I grew up from the age of 3 years old. I am now living with my family in Grassy Park

For how long have you been playing music?

I have been playing from the age of 3 years old. I started playing “drums and piano”. From a young age I was very passionate about music and art. My Dad was a Musician and my Mom an Artist. I have been in the music industry for 34 years now

What Instruments do you play and why did you choose it?

I play the Keyboard, Piano, Electric Piano, Guitar (with which I share a special relationship), Percussion and Drums to name just a few. My favourite instrument is the “Mouth-Bow “


What made you go into the music industry?

It really started in Matric, when I wanted to start earning money. I joined a band “The Four Sounds” then moved on to the band “Big Daddy”, also played with the band “Soft Landing” where I played some of my own music, then I met up with Mac McKenzie and joined the band “The Genuines”. I wanted to play music. Through music and art, you can express what has happened in the past and in the present and also the future.

Tell us what your greatest memory as a musician?

Waking up in hospital and then picturing a piano in a shadow and writing my best single/song “Rebirth”

What is your favourite place/city in SA OR Southern Africa?

I love the Garden Route, Knysna, George right up to Durban. I love mountain hiking, staying on the mountain overnight and returning the next day is fond memories of when I was younger.
I love the island Zanzibar, all other island I love as well, I just love the serenity that the island offer.
Coffee Bay along the Eastern Cape is also another favourite.
Closer to home would be Tokai Forest, Silvermines, taking a train to these locations made it a day outing of note, I often took my girlfriend, which is now my wife on these train journeys in Cape Town.

How do you see music and tourism inter-linked and what more can be done to link the two?

I am involved with Jazz Safari Tours, I have been doing this for 11 years. We invite guests to our house and serve them a lovely dinner that my wife (Tesna Schilder) prepares. I then have a small concert for the guests at my home, I can take from 2-20 pax at a time and the experience is from 19h30-21h00, this can be booked with a local operator Coffee Beans. After my experience the guest move on around the mother city and beyond to more jazz venues to enjoy.

By Bronwyn Mentor

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