He is described as a gentle soul, quiet, soft and genuine, but, most importantly, Adil Dante from Woodstock is an authentic minstrel who has spent most of his life blowing crowds away with his angelic voice.
At the tender age of six, Adil stepped onto a stage and hasn’t been off it since. Now 26, he has won several titles along the way as well as the hearts of many of his followers.
“My life was based on music from a very young age, right up until today. I have always been involved with music, whether it be singing or coaching.
It’s something I am extremely passionate about,” he says.
His singing career started with the Cape Malay choirs, when he joined the Young Men Singkoor to perform in the junior solo category. He went on to perform in two District Six shows, as well as a show called Antigni, all of which were staged at the Baxter Theatre.
“During my Malay choirs days, I even went on to beat people like James Bhemgee, the SA’s Got Talent winner, who was also singing in the Malay choirs at the time,” says Adil.
He was about 10 years old when he joined the Beach Boys minstrel troupe and debuted at the Green Point Stadium, following in the footsteps of the famous Athlone singer-songwriter and guitarist, Jonathan Butler, who had last won the junior solo category for this troupe. But the fairytale ending Adil had hoped for was not to be, as he walked away trophyless. But he persevered, and his second stint with the Beach Boys saw him finally bag the junior solo category – his first major trophy at Green Point Stadium.
“It was amazing to win it, especially knowing that Jonathan was the last guy to win that title. I was never really a sportsman; singing was always my passion, so my titles would come through my singing.”
In 2009, he auditioned for Idols and got through the initial round. Then he turned his attention to the next generation of singers in the Malay choir and minstrel sections and started coaching various teams.
“I did loads of variety shows and gigs, so the music always kept me busy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to lose this passion, because it’s already so deeply embedded inside of me.”
But Adil’s musical talent goes a lot further than just having an amazing voice – he also learnt to the play the bass guitar without the use of his right forearm.
“I do not think of it as a disadvantage, because I’m alive and well. In fact, I don’t know what it’s like to have two arms and I have become so used to it.”
He now plays guitar and pitches in with a few harmonies in his band, the Woodstock Darlings.
The group is managed by Riyaad Peters, the playwright and director of Satin to Sequins, a show Adil also starred in last year.
Their first performance was at Micklefield Primary School on Friday March 4. For most of the crowd, it was the first time they were hearing minstrel tunes.
“Adil is multi talented. He is a very soft, genuine and generous person. He is always prepared to do things for others. He was a very authentic klops that’s why I cast him in Satin to Sequins,” says Riyaad.
Satin to Sequins is about to go on it’s second run, following the sold-out performance of the first edition and Adil will be doing what he does best – light up a stage.