Soul of Fire


“Their art drowns their audiences in deluges of sound and emotion, as they wage war against the musical predictability that would corrode their work and extinguish the blaze of their souls…”

- Darren Taylor, Voice of America

"If you have happened upon the term virtuoso before, I suggest you fold it away neatly when in the “closet blues” presence of duo Kathleen Tagg and Zanne Stapelberg. Words will fall short… an untamable, and unforgettable, venture…”

- What’s On in Cape Town

“An exhilarating sonic journey, “Soul of Fire” more than explores the music of Spain and Latin America; it enters into the vortex of the style …an ensemble performance that glittered with interpretative panache…"

- CUE Magazine from the South African National Arts Festival

“…This is music as a reflection of man’s madness. It is pleasure verging on pain. It is not to be listened to, it is to be felt, touched and eaten…It is Soul of Fireone of the most remarkable musical productions yet to have emerged from South Africa…”  Darren Taylor, Voice of America


Created by Kathleen Tagg and Zanne Stapelberg


Zanne Stapelberg, voice and Kathleen Tagg, piano

Piet de Beer, violin; Charles Lazar, bass; Frank Paco, percussion


Soul of Fire is a genre-bending production conceived by Zanne Stapelberg and Kathleen Tagg as a vehicle for the magnificence of music from Spain and Latin America. The CD of the same name (released 2012) received a South African Music Awards (SAMA) nominated for best classical/instrumental album. Tracks from SOUL OF FIRE were included in Deon Meyer’s film Die Laaste Tango released on Gallo Africa.


This project was conceived of by Kathleen and singer Zanne Stapelberg. Kathleen made all the arrangements for the show, and her work is featured as music director, pianist and producer for both the live show and the Soul of Fire recording. The program juxtaposes the repertoire of Spain and South America in a genre-bending showcase. Classical Spanish art song by composers such as Manuel de Falla and Xavier Montsalvatge stand side by side with new arrangements of South American dance music, and Spanish Zarzuela. It is all rounded out by intricate new arrangements of haunting folk songs from the Spanish diaspora and tango.


The show launched in 2011, and was recorded and released in 2012. Music from Soul of Fire, arranged by Kathleen, was included in Deon Meyer’s film Die Laaste Tango, arranged by Kathleen Tagg, and the show has seen multiple highly acclaimed tours and the recording of this project in South Africa. The project features soprano, piano, violin, bass and percussion.




Zanne’s career highlights include the Cosmopolitan Awesome Woman Award for her opera work, South Africa’s most prestigious art award- the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, singing leading roles in operas across South Africa and Europe and sharing the stage with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg. Kathleen has made her home in New York for the past 12 years and has performed often in Carnegie Hall and at New York’s Lincoln Center, Symphony Space and Broadway’s Sondheim Theater as well as in Europe, Asia and across South Africa, garnering many awards and critical acclaim.


This is the third Stapelberg-Tagg collaboration, and they perform together with renowned Cape musicians Piet de Beer (violin), Charles Lazar (bass) and Frank Paco (percussion) for their live show that has toured South Africa to rave reviews.


They released their album, Soul of Fire, at the Fugard Theater in Cape Town in two sold-out performances in December 2012, and are currently in their second printing of the popular CD, which has been featured on TV and radio stations throughout South Africa. A track from Soul of Fire, Nana, was included in Deon Meyer’s film Die Laaste Tango, and can be heard on the soundtrack released on Gallo Africa.


Zanne and Kathleen recently launched two other joint ventures, the critically acclaimed Spieël Speel, an exciting melting pot of different styles, featuring all-Afrikaans songs written specifically for this production by Kathleen and Zanne to lyrics by a who’s who of Afrikaans literary royalty- from Deon Meyer to Hennie Aucamp, Willem de Vries, Elizabeth Eybers and many others. Spieël Speel launched in July 2013 at the Vryfees, where it was voted in the top 10 music productions.