Thursday, August 31, 2006
Music in the desert
He'’s from the Canyon Nature Park, a 600km farm along a 120 km stretch of the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, where he has some exclusive guest cottages.
He's musician, so he and I got stuck in front of our TV afterwards; me showing him as many inspirational artists' DVD's as time would allow, and him getting goosebumps in all the right places. Little bits of Madala Kunene, Pops Mohamed, Amampondo, Greg Georgiades, and then he took a drive three roads up from us, to the house where he lived some 30 years ago. Small world.
We'’re planning to take a trip up to the park some time in September to talk some more, as we found that there are many ways in which we will be able to work together on some exciting projects. He says it'’s a most magical place, and part of the huge Transfrontier Park that will hopefully eventually span some 19 million hectares, between neighbouring countries - making it the third largest protected area in the world.
This area is filled with rock engravings left by the ancestors of the Khoi, from the past 2000 years, and Louis tells me he finds quite a few ancient rock tools the area.
It sounds like a great place to make music.
Peak is moving further into Africa, learning more about the musical delights north of us; meeting fascinating new characters and like minded people who just drop into one's world and open up lots of new ideas in a true spirit of ubuntu.
So here's to meeting, and mixing, and making music! And of course getting to experience a little more Africa's beauty!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Freedomstars - Stars in their eyes
But today I wanted to start by featuring The Freedomstars - one of the charities that he is involved in. In looking ahead to the 2010 South African World Cup the Stars in their Eyes project aims at ensuring that the greatest sporting event in the world leaves a positive mark on the youth, after the whistles have been hung up and the focus shifts elsewhere.
Using 40 Soccer Clubs in disadvantaged communities, in partnership with local supporters, and engaging the same in Europe, the two sets of clubs and communities will enter into twinning agreements. This will see a professional team of managers implementing a 5-year plan in which coaches and players from European participant's, and mentors from South Africa possess the necessary skills to transfer the Stars model to developing countries throughout Africa.
Their results are optimistic, and I like that about this project! Apart from putting a team together to play at the opening of the 2010 WC, they will be using sport to give disadvantaged communities some hope, access to more health facilities, more schools will be able to transfer knowledge, apart from the fact that Bafana Bafana might just benefit too!
There will be some musical projects for the future as well, but more on that as it happens!
Bushmen of the Kalahari - modern trance
Robert Trunz, from MELT, and Pops Mohamed went with Dick Jewel & Norma Fletcher to the Kalahari in 1995, to record the and film !Ngube, Anna, and Marcela Goute. This family of San/ Bushmen/ Hottentot/ Khoi-Khoi or Khoi-san still practice a trance-dance that goes back to the first memories of their culture, making this the oldest form of trance music in the world! And the result was the first CD, Bushmen of the Kalahari (BW2128) presented by Pops.
!Ngube (no, that is not a typo!) plays an instrument called the //gwashi (once again, not a typo, I'm trying to write in San!). The one he plays in the little video I am featuring, he had been playing every day for the past 10 years. His previous //gwashi, which he'd played every day for 25 years, was broken when somebody stood on it... Damn - he must have been angry!
MELT has also released a revved up version of this primitive sounding music, in a much slicker and up-to-date versions of SanScapes One - Bushmen of the Kalahari Remixes (ELMSA8037CD) & SanSacapes V2 - Future Visions of the Bushmen (MZA001). Modern trance with DJ's filling in the gaps with electronic beats.
There was some criticism - plundering sacred music for evil dance music hedonism - but as Phil Meadley explains in the cover, "The idea was to promote the Bushmen through modern dance music so that younger generations would have a gateway with which to cross the cultural divide."
Which is why I feel we are so lucky in this part of Africa; we have the sounds man first danced to, right in our own backyard!
Here is a little piece I have put together with footage taken by Dick Jewel & Norma Fletcher in the Kalahari on 1995, and an interview filmed by Garth Meyer in 2005. Enjoy.
Go out and get a copy of these CD's - proceeds from sales assist W.I.M.S.A. (Working Group for Indigenous Minorities of Southern Africa) who is trying to protect a culture that should be classed as a World Treasure!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Thandiswa 'just sings'!
This outfit was one of the first real cross-over groups to make Kwaito more accessible to the white audiences, with catchy beats and really some cool chorus lines, getting them loads of air time on major radio stations, and with their international exposure through tours.
We had chance to see her in action as part of the first 46664 concert in Cape Town, while there with the Pondo's, Women Unite and Red Zebra drummers; we booked her for the Woolworths 'Be More You' campaign; Lenny was at her presentation to the WOMEX delegates in Newcastle U.K. last year after she had been nominated for a BBC World Music Award; and at this years Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
But, we were to work closely with her in 2004, in collaboration with Zoom South Africa, when she was used to record the new PEP jingle.
It was a morning in the studio, along with our close friend, and amazing vocalist Sindi Harrison, she showed true class and professionalism. It was amazing to watch how easily she was able to translate the ideas that seemed cool on paper, but just became amazing when she sang them!
But that can be heard on her debut album Zabalaza (GWVCD54). Returning to her roots - including a trip to the Transkei to meet with Madosini - she lets us know how it feels to be a young South African growing up in a new state of freedom.
'The world changes, revolutionaries die, and the children forget' (Nizalwa Ngobani?) She hasn't forgotten her roots. She's embraced them and made them hers. She's become a star to be listened to!
This is a small video that was used to introduce the new jingle at a PEP conference in 2004!
Monday, August 28, 2006
Alex Nel - in the flesh
Angie popped in for a cup of tea this morning, and let all Peak'ers have a go at remembering what its like to cuddle with a new-born baby.
Alex was perfectly well-behaved and didn't even hurl on any of us! Which of course only makes him all the more welcome here - been there, dunnit, and had the t-shirt puked on!
At the same time I was very pleased to finally meet Minau Wegner, Shune Narodien and Ana Drury from Sure Travel, based at Bayside Centre here in Table View.
They took their lunch hour to pop through, bring Angie some presents and enjoy a cup of tea with us. Well done ladies - full marks for Client Relations!
060830 Update: I felt so bad I had forgotten everyone's names, I asked Minau to send through the other ladies names, and I got the list of everyone at the Bayside branch - so apart from the mom's mentions above there's also Julie Novak, Charnel Geldenhuys, Carol Andrews & Elizma Coetzee... Thanks for the good work ladies! (I don't always speak to them myself, but I know Peak's happy with the service!)
Alex and Angie will be popping in every so often - I know she is keen to stay in touch with all the excitement happening at Peak. And today was no different!
We're very excited to be assisting a young man through the Reach for a Dream Foundation - more on that later - and we are planning overseas trips for loads of South Africa's best in the near future... but more about those later! That's Alex!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Alex Nel - A Peak Welcome!
On Friday night at 21h30 Angie gave birth to a 3.8kg little boy by the name of Alex. Mother and son are both healthy, and happily resting at home - but we just know he'll be coming to visit the office soon!
We kept contact with Angie and her family throughout Friday, after she had been induced earlier that morning. Lenny spoke to Angie at about 19h00 in the evening, and we were very excited that the conversation was broken by waves of contractions with Lenny trying to get her to breath.
When we next spoke to her she was relaxed, saying that Alex felt so comfortable in her arms, and full of her own chatty personality again. But she did say that this was definitely the most hectic experience of her life!
It was a stunning weekend in the Cape... and I am looking forward to saying that much more in the near future with Spring on its way - looks like the stork had perfect timing!
CODA & Dizu Plaatjies - a new collaboration
The theme of the event's entertainment had to encompass Rejuventaion, Revival, Renaissance & Transformation, and it wasn't difficult for us to come up with the perfect musical show-piece to capture all these elements.
A show with strings - from a single stringed mouthbow, to the modern and sexy shapes of electric violin and cello - the old collaborating with the new.
Although we had hoped to make use of the expertise of world-renowned mouthbow player Madosini, she was delayed in the Transkei, we were very grateful when master musician Dizu Plaatjies, formerly of Amampondo and now leader of the newly formed Ubuyambo, was able to fill in at the last minute. He was joining Cape Town's hottest electric strings ensemble, CODA, and with only an hour of rehearsal, the group could already feel excitement at this introduction.
In South Africa we are so fortunate to have the modern living side-by-side with the traditional, allowing for so many opportunities to be creative and forward thinking, while still holding onto the importance of the past.
Dizu started the performance alone on stage, quietly starting on his Uhadi (Xhosa mouthbow) playing traditional sounds from Transkei. He was then joined on stage by CODA's Yolanda Yawa, adding vocals, Rayelle Goodman on Electric violin, Carol Thorns on electric cello and finally DJ Nick Mathews. And that's when the party got going!
Although the clients had requested the music to allow for networking and discussion, by the time all the artists were on stage everyone was tapping their feet, and bouncing to the beat. Old white guys were grinning, middle aged mamma's kicked off their shoes and boogied in front of the stage - and the client was the happiest of the lot! Its not often that the annual report of a company ends with such joy and dance!
As I have mentioned before, we are proud to have introduced the members of CODA to each other last year, and the result was CODA's first performance at the Jacques Kallis Benefit function on 06 September 2005! Now, after this performance with Dizu, there is already talk about recording with him in the next two weeks, as he adds another exciting dimension to the groups sound!
So the event was hugely successful, the group even played an encore, and Peak is happy to have brought some great musicians together to make Proudly South African music!
I was present during the rehearsal, and the show later, and was able to capture a little of the creativity as it happened. Here are some small snippets of these artists getting to know each other...
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sizzling Salsa for Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation
I have recently started to assist the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation with a project they are planning for later this year - as I am allowed to discuss more, so I will - and as I think most people in Cape Town, and South Africa, should feel, is that when the big man needs assistance we need to stand up and be there!
In the mean time - Thursday 24 August - The foundation is hosting a Sizzling Salsa evening at The Castle of Good Hope, at the Dolphin Pool, starting at 19h30.
It would be really great to get the masses of Cape Town to sweat it up, get their blood rushing & dance the night away for a good cause! Here is the flyer I received from the Foundation!
Erika Lemay - beautiful Canadian Aerial Hoop
Both artists continue to develop new shows and new collaborations , and so Peak's database expands internationally, and we get all these cool videos with which to promote them - and now I can share!
These French speaking Canadian ladies are truly something special.
Erika is a multi-disciplined artist, having started with Circus training, she eventually focused her performing on styles such as the intense hand-balancing act of Azale Duo, where such power and graceful control are needed.
She has a solo Aerial Scarf act where not only power, but the ability to dance in the air captures the audiences breath. The act I am featuring now, the Aerial Hoop, is dramatic, and intense, and breathtaking.
A choreographed show-piece of 5-minutes with Erika taking her audience on an emotional roller-coaster. Enjoy these snippets.
Blue African Skies - a view from Cape Town
Blue African Skies is made up of Ragga emcee Khanyiso Boto AKA Bagga, vocalist Linda Mail AKA Miss Mali and the man behind it all emcee and producer Simon Sibanda AKA Ghetto Child of Slam Productions.
Formed in 2003 B.A.S. have pioneered a unique style of fusion between traditional Pan African sounds and cutting edge urban Pop culture.
These guys get really big in front of big audiences, adding a 4-piece Pan-African band to really funk it up, and so creating another truly cross-over style that'll appeal to young and old, urban and rural, black and white.
It think their first album, Hlabelela, released on 19 August 2005 is a very cool mix of sounds and styles. Its got a some wholesome traditional South African mining chants, with some Hip Hop, Kwaito and House supplying the beat, and Reggae and Gospel to provide the grooves.
So here is their music video of African Market - enjoy!
Labels: Blue African Skies
Monday, August 21, 2006
Hot Water - Cape Town style
Once again, a real Cape Town sound has been allowed to grow, and typical of South Africans, their music is a wonderful mix of styles, cultures and instruments. Or as Donovan says:
"It is a collaborative band drawing on the talents of a diverse group of musicians to create dynamic and entertaining acoustic groove music with its roots in Africa.
The music roams the four seasons, with the overall "sound" ranging from atmospheric world instrumentals to African Blues to Jivey-Afro Rock. There'll also likely be some instruments at any Hot Water gig which you have never seen before..."
And this isn't bad press either:
"Immediately we're all going 'Hows these ous?' - that's how good this album is!? There's a very unique South African sound and flavour mixed in here that makes it stand out on its own. Hot water definitely gets our vote as a must have local album and home-grown groups that are going to go far"
ZIG-ZAG February/March 2006
So here is their video of Bushfire from their album Home (DMC021) - I'm sure you will enjoy the show as I did!
Miriam Makeba - another Peak appearance
We were fortunate to have her appear for Peak at the launch party hosted by SAA to celebrate their partnership with the Star Alliance in April of this year. And her performance was magnificent!
I have alot of respect for Mama Makeba, and the role she has played in this countries history. She sacrificed so much, spending three decades in exile for her expressions on the state of apartheid in South Africa.
This lady addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations twice, in 1964 and in 1975, and received the Dag Hammerskjold Peace Prize in 1968 for her contributions to the fight of oppression, so you cannot but have respect for her.
I found this video featuring Miriam and Paul Simon performing their version of Under African Skies live at a concert in San Sebastian, Spain in 1989, and its a great example of how she spread the message of freedom to the rest of the world.
We are honoured to have been able to work with you Mama Miriam Makeba!
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Freshlyground's Zolani Mahola - fresh...
I've known Aron all his life - his mother and my mother are childhood bosom buddies - I'll never forget the day I drove out to U.C.T. especially to pick up their demo up from him. It's not the drive there that stands-out, it was the instant love-affair I experienced on the way home!
Freshlyground's first album was called Jika Jika (FG001) and it was the freshest sounding "New South African" band I had had the pleasure of hearing.
I rushed home and forced Lenny to listen to it immediately - Zolani Mahola catching our attention straight away with Love Train, the beat bouncing along, the multi-lingual mix, the happiness and energy was everything that showed that a new younger generation of musicians were coming together and creating a new exiting sound.
Without going into all the details, we did end up managing them for about 6 weeks, but it was better for us to part with our desire for Peak to offer broader promotion, and their definite need for focused management.
I am pleased - they have just returned from their first highly successful tour of Europe, their music has been played on almost every radio show in the country, they're heard of television at sporting events, as jingles for advertisements, and I am sure they will still go a long way.
But I like to focus on what makes them so incredibly desirable, and that has to be the voice of Zolani Mahola. Sensual, sexy, sometimes playful, sometimes deeply mournful and sad, or energetic and stage-filling... This is the way I see Zolani. This short curvy lady captures her audiences soul from the moment she steps out there and take hold of the microphone. She makes love to her audience, and they lap it up with adoration.
One of my favourite tracks from Jika Jika is the original Nomvula, with an emotional Zolani only accompanied by Aron on keys. Nomvula, meaning "after the rain" in Xhosa, was the name of Zolani's mother, who passed away when she was very young, and the song is a tale of 3 young girls who had to be raised by a father whose had lost his life's love.
I found this video of their new version of Nomvula, from their latest album Nomvula (INS007), which is pretty cool, but comes second to the original in terms of pulling heart-strings.
We don't promote Freshlyground any more, due to past differences, but I follow their progress with pleasure and pride - it's good seeing South African artists succeed - and I knew Aron when he was just a little snotkop!
The Football Juggler - South Africa 2010?
Which is why I want everyone to know about a very cool artist we work with - someone very different. Eric Borgman, the Football Juggler!
He introduces himself with the statement:
So what do Pele, Cruyff, Maradonna, Borgman & Beckham have in Common? TheyÂre all Ball-boys!
Erik juggles 5 balls at once. Not just one - no - he has full control over 5 balls, all the time!
Erik, who is based in the Netherlands, has been entertaining stadium audiences - and of course especially football fans - across Europe for many years, but has always been a firm favourite to show his stuff to his home crowd at the Ajax Amsterdam football events.
I know that we have been promised Carlos Alberto Parreira to coach Bafana Bafana, and that he is our best hope of making it past the first round, but I think Erik would be an awesome assistant coach! He would only have to teach Bafana to master one ball...
Hell!Forr that matter, maybe we should even suggest him to Jake White for the Bokke! I've seen quite a few players struggle with butter-fingers...
Here is a small studio snippet:
Where ever Erik Borgman is on the ball, he leaves his audience roaring - let South Africa shout Laduuuuuma Erik in 2010!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Juno Reactor live in Tokyo
You can see what an awesome live show this produces, mixing the most modern electronica with drumming and percussion of old. This is a pumping show! Enjoy.
Andre the Hilarious Hypnotist
Its one of those types of comedies that has the audience laughing their heads off at their friends, colleagues, bosses, or just the poor person who was happy enough to volunteer to get up on stage. But while laughing you can't help feeling sorry for them at the same time; where the toughest men pamper and shower eachother with affection and love; the shiest person will dance and wave their arms in the air as if they were alone at home in front of the mirror - in fact even more than what you would normally do in your own company!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Arno Carstens - a Peak Rocker!
He's the coolest; he's made his mark in the industry with the Springbok Nude girls, and as s solo artist, with 10 albums, achieving platinum 4 times in CD sales, 9 number 1 hots singles and 4 SAMA's, the highlight being the Another Universe CD released in 2003 and for which he won the Best Rock Album in 2004 and continues to set the pace for other artists to follow.
So we're always excited when we get to book Arno out for gigs - we know from experience the client is going to have an awesome time - at one of our gigs in Durban, Arno and Albert Frost sat outside drinking cocktails with the client until 3 o'clock in the morning after the gig - and was she chuffed when she called the next day!
We've got Arno & Albert performing at Buff's Club on 06 October, and then Arno will be appearing for us at Sun City on 16 November at a dinner for 500 lucky people.
But that's the cool thing about an artist like Arno - whether you needing him to rock the roof off with his full band; with guitarist Albert (Blues Broers & Frosted Orange), the legendary Brendan Jury (Urban Creep & Transky) on strings and keyboard, Kevin Leicher (Plum) on guitar, Jerome Reynard (OHM & Nine) on drums and Warren Leicher (Plum) on bass guitar; or for an intimate unplugged concert with just Arno and Albert serenading you - its just world class!
I found this video of Arno, and thought that though this isn't such a great quality one, I would stick it on to celebrate! Peak's Rockin!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Moses Taiwa Molelekwa - Darkness Pass 1
Lianne Cox directed and edited a video that puts visuals to the beautiful sounds created by Moses Taiwa Molelekwa with his track Darkness Pass 1, from his Darkness Pass - Solo Piano (BWSA079) CD, but featured on the Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Live at the Fin de Siecle Festival Nantes 1997 (MZADV001) DVD.
Brought up during the final years of apartheid, Moses was one of the lost generation of South Africans who, through examination boycotts and defiance in the townships, was denied a formal education. "I was beginning to get into trouble, but I wasn't that bad", he said of his early teens. "There were no recreational facilities for young people in the township... no role models; the crime rate keeps rising and when people earn money they become victims and have to leave."
Rescued by his passion for piano playing, Moses declared, "There is no question that music saved my life." (National Geographic)
Its another treat for the stormy weather that is on its way to Cape Town. Thanks again to Robert @ MELT!
Friday, August 11, 2006
Juno Reactor - Behind the Beat
We are currently working with Ben's Japanese promoter to get all the flights and travel details arranged for Amampondo and Mabi Thobejane tour in October this year.
What is really great about this clip - and that which got me so excited - is that Ben explains the mind-set behind some of his work, the way he has made use of African spiritualism to create, what is still, ground-breaking music mixing Electronica and traditional African instruments and vocals.
He explains how even in the recording of his tracks, his special guests would arrive in full Shamanic dress so as to be able to connect with the spirits, and one example of how the hair stood up on the back of his neck when Busi Mhlongo and Madala Kunene were in the studio singing to eachother, and drawing on the power of their ancestors...
So this is the story Behind the Beat, a slightly larger video than I normally upload, as create by The Sleep Lab Kid... thanks Ben!
Tsotsi's Presley Chweneyagae to Taiwan!
We went out and bought the Tsotsi DVD to celebrate this gig, and I am glad I did - its definitely a DVD that every South African should have in their personal collection. Although the reality of it is scary and it makes the ladies scream with fright, Presleys performance is unbelievable! The way he is able to transform his character from a blood-thirsty township gangster, to a softer character who tries to turn his life around.
Not many white South Africans understand what it must be like to live the life portrayed by Tsotsi in the film, and I found it an eye-opener. Well done to Gavin Hood the Director too, the photography is very special, and the film flows so well.
Presley will be speaking to the Pick n' Pay conference delegates in Phuket as a South African who has made an impact on the international stage.
Here is the trailer to Tsotsi - go out and get it!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Coyote Dancers - Summers coming!
What an awesome day in Cape Town today! Nice temperature, beautiful blue skies, and it felt like summer is just around the corner! OK ok ok - I know we have another cold front heading our way this weekend, but that's not going to dampen the spirit.
Long hot evenings, cocktails over-looking the sea, the mountains a majestic backdrop to street parties in town! And then the Coyote Dancers take to the stage. Clear the drinks! Put your peanuts on your lap, these girls will get the party sizzling!
New to Peak, we're very excited to be able to offer a sexy summer!
Tucan Tucan - Live
Latino rhythms such as Salsa, Samba and Bossa Nova and African elements such as those ultilized in Kwassa Kwassa, Marrabenta, Ju Ju and High Life are used in the compositions which, combined in the songs, create a unique sound that appeal to both local and international audiences.
With lyrics in Spanish, Portuguese, English and African Languages like Sesotho, Xhosa, Zulu, Ronga and Shangaan, TUCAN TUCAN aims to promote interaction between diverse cultures.
So here they are:
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Kai Buntu Oerlemans van den Berg - 3!
He got loads of presents; all his favourite little action men characters like Superman, Spiderman and with bikes and cars and speedboats, and clickity things and things that stick. We had such fun going around Regggies toy store looking at all the exciting things I would have loved to have growen up playing with.
So if there is any doubt about where to shop for me for my next birthday... pop down to Reggies!
And what kids birthday would be without a kiddies meal at the good ol' Spur. A table for the kids and another for all the adults as we were joined by Nana and Great-Oma, aunts and boyfriends and friends.
A little word of advice too - Seven Spur's spareribs are by far the best in Cape Town!
Monday, August 07, 2006
Teba & Godessa - A Revolution
I did a small feature on Teba last week, and so I thought I would profile another of his tracks, Revolution from his 20-5-2-1 Manifesto (VOLT004) CD.
I think we need a mini-revolution to get our minds right every now and then, to be able to focus on where we need to get to during the coming week, so we don't forget all that we stand for, and mostly to make this a better place to be in.
So let's let the Original Social Worker, Mr Shumba, get the beat/week going!
And because we're in Cape Town, to commemorate the August 9, 1956 march on Union Building in Pretoria by 20, 000 fed-up women, I wanted to introduce some of Teba's friends. (Not that they are fed-up - they just have important things to say.)
"There is no other group like us" says Shameema Williams, one third of the female fronted Hip-Hop group Godessa.
Speaking of Godessa's uniqueness could be no further from the truth as these women continue to make history and impact as the only recording and performing female Hip-Hop crew in South Africa. Shameema together with Eloise Jones aka EJ von Lyrik and Bernadette Amansure aka Burni formed Godessa in the year 2000.
In their lyrics, the ladies address social issues affecting their community such as crime and HIV/Aids. Shameema, Burni and EJ have separately and together as a group been involved in projects such as youth work in correctional institutions and HIV/Aids workshops using Hip-Hop as a learning tool. Godessa is based on the belief that women represent eternal life through giving birth, carrying knowledge with the balance of being psychological and analytical thinkers.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
A farewell to Oma Marjon
South African's often get over-laden with the negative, and of course there is good reason to, but there is so much to be thankful for. There is so much to work for.
Yesterday we sadly, but finally said goodbye to Lenny's step-mother, Marjon Ensing, who had survived 9 years of cancer. She first came to SA in 1995, when Lenny and I got married, and it was the start of a great love she developed for the country and all its intricacies.
In her last few years, she and husband Robert bought a home close by in the Table View area, as she much preferred living here; close to the sea with the long beaches of Blaauwberg, watching the Protea cricket team and witnessing the greatest game ever played, passionately debating our politics as if they were her own.
Her last months here at the beginning of this year were hard, but when ever she was up for it, she remained so passionate and positive about South Africa.
Today I found the South Africa Alive with Possibilities television advert that features so many great names from the political, cultural creative and sporting world. I think that this is the South Africa that inspired Marjon, and in tribute to her I want us all to be reminded of how special it is here.
Hamba kahle Mama Marjon.
The Dixie Swingers foot-tapping jazz
Ed Backhouse, leader of the Dixie Swingers Jazz band, has been a good friend of Peak Performances for a long time. We have used him at so many events large and small over the years, not only as a reliable choice, but because we know that he and his group are always a great success.
One of our favourite events was when we were working closely with the Cape Town City Improvement District, in bringing lunch-time entertainment and music to the city during the week. It was a really awesome gig, and though we had to really rag the artists for reduced prices, we all had loads of fun entertaining Cape town, and seeing the difference it made to people's lunch time's.
I know as a street performer, that most lunch-timers are in such a rush to get from point A to Point B, that they often miss what is going on around them; side-stepping the beggars and street vensdors, talking on their cellphones, walking briskly to get where ever they are going as quickly as possible. And that's where a good street entertainer is at his most valuable - being able to slow down the whole process, and catching that fast-paced attention for a few moments. Making them notice for awhile, by breaking the rhythm, and bringing laughter, a smile, or just a little bit of awe.
And although Ed and the Dixies are no professional street performers, but rather swanky jazz musicians with long CV's under each of their belts, they always managed to draw an appreciative crowd enjoying the foot-tapping, happy-go-lucky styles of Dixieland and traditional jazz.
Ed and the Dixie Swingers will be appearing on behalf of the Jasper's Starfish class, at the Blouberg International Academy Food Fair next Saturday as abit of a surprise.
Ed is like that - he likes to take part in community events, often offers his services for free at charity events - knowing, that what goes around, comes around. Thanks Ed!
Friday, August 04, 2006
Moses Taiwa Molelekwa 1973 - 2001
As the saying goes, "you can only know where you are going, if you know where you come from." So I would like to do a little special focus piece on an artist that, though gone from us now, has become one of my favourite listening artists.
Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and his wife Florence 'Flo' Mthobo were found dead on 13 February 2001, at their offices in Johannesburg. The case has never been closed, so we will never really know what went on there, but it was a tragic, and a great loss for South Africa.
Moses only made a few albums, collaborated with many artists, and all along the way he received accolades and awards for his work. In 1991 and 1992 he won Best Jazz group category of the Gilbey's Music of Africa competition with his groups Brotherhood & Umbongo winning respectively.
He won 2 SAMA's in 1996 for Best Traditional Jazz, and Contemporary Jazz Group, and the DVD in focus Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Live at the Fin de Siecle Festival Nantes 1997 (MZADV 001) was nominated in Best DVD category in this years SAMA's.
But it wasn't only Jazz where he made a mark; co-producing Fela Kae and writing the hit It's my party for South African Kwaito starts TK Zee.
It is a great loss to the us, but for the people who knew and loved him, it was the hardest.
It has to do with sounds.
Natural sounds from far up north.
Sounds of rivers with gentle waterfalls.
Sounds from trees though still.
Sounds from the mountain in their fix.
Sounds not only from chirping birds,
Also from least thought of pigs
Creaking doors tenderly pushed ajar
Whispers of wings in the divine space
All in the likeness
of melancholy thoughts.
Many, many years will go by,
Pain will be reduced to understanding
Tears will spell out acceptance
A boy so adored will grow
to find solace in the music
of the Ancestors
for decades to heal.
Jerry 'Monk' Molelekwa
Father of Moses Taiwa Molelekwa
Robert (MELT 2000) gives some insight into the making of the DVD, from which he has kindly given me permission to use the featured video:
1997 was a great year for the late Moses Taiwa Molelekwa. He traveleded overseas with his own band for the first time to perform at the Fin de Siecle Johannesburg Festival on the Atlantic coast of
The idea of the Nantes Festival was a French initiative, inviting cultural representatives from three of the world's great cities to
This recording was made with the Dutch mobile studio 'The Van' and is potent evidence of the vitality and gifts of a young man just starting to enter his musical prime, sadly lost to us by his untimely & tragic death on February 13th 2001.
So to celebrate this genius of an artist, I'd like to present the track Darkness Pass 3 (Improvisation from the DVD. Recorded on the afternoon before the festival show started, it shows how a rehearsal can be a once-in-a-life-time experience..
With all the cold winter weather we're experiencing around the country at the moment, one CD that warms up the Peak office, along with the crackle of our fireplace, is the Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Darkness Pass Solo Piano CD (MZA009/2) - once again from MELT.
We don't make any money from punting MELT stock - its just that the quality, and the history it has recorded, is a true national treasure chest of sounds.
Supporting South African music, past and present, is what its all about.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Madala & Mabi - Guitar and Drums
Robert created the international jazz band PedXulu, comprising a core of Pedi, Xhosa & Zulu musicians collaborating with trumpeter Byron Wallen from the U.K. and vocalist & percussionist Rikki Randimbiarson Madagascar.
All the artists arrived in Cape Town for rehearsals two weeks before the gig, and we were at the sessions every day with Mama Lenny cooking and providing food for all 18 people. It's a very rewarding experience to see a bunch of musicians creating together, taunting eachother to coax that something special out of each talent, and how it finally all comes together. You get to know one another during this time.
Mabi was one of the main characters; always smiling and laughing, making jokes, and most of all giving us private performances of excellence on the drums and percussion. And by the time we drove to Jo'burg in convoy, Jasper, who was then only 2, wasn't frightened of Mabi's raspy voice and impish nature.
As I have mentioned before, Mabi continues to be a world force with his collaboration with Ben from Juno Reactor - and that is especially important with their live shows.
Mabi appears in the video below, with spiritual guitarist Madala Kunene, at their performance at the Fort Festival Village Foundation, and the inter-play between the two is awesome. 'Talking' guitar to 'talking' drums, from whispers to joyous shouts of celebration! The two of them take you on a journey.
Another highlight from MELT 2000's Acoustic Africa DVD (MZADV002), and of course on the books of Peak. But also friends of the family.
The Pyramid - R&B Hip Hop
It's always such a pleasure meeting young artists who are so together, arriving with full Electronic Press Kits under their arms, dressed to the nine's, and super confident that their product has what it takes. And I must admit that Lynx was pretty slick.
The Pyramid is a collaboration of Lynx, Cash and I.G.H.O., who have all had successful solo careers to date, and the proof is in the pudding when they took a sample track off their debut album The Pyramid of the Game (SLPYR100) to the Metro FM Hip Hop Music charts. Never be the same entered the charts at # 10, and a week later it hit the top spot!
They have set up their own studio's, hooked up with Hip Hop Joint clothing who sponsors their look, and are already thinking about the future by establishing recording competitions with great prizes to discover new talent on the street. When all is finalized I'll put it out here, but until then, we just have to watch their debut music video Sweet Sixteen, and know that The Pyramid has arrived!
Madosini - Queen of Langa
She's is such as amazing personality - as I keep mentioning - and her music is true "of the African earth". This lady who mesmerizes audiences the world over lives in a humble flat that she shares with a number of other people. And i know for a fact that all her earnings go towards the welfare of her grandchildren, while she chooses her simple exsistance is a very run down part of Langa township.
Now that Brenda Fassie, also one of Langa's many talented children, has passed on, I really do believe that Madosini deserves the title of Queen of Langa.
Here is another short video clip I was fortunate enough to be able to capture with famed British artist from the group Strangelove, Patrick Duff when he came to rehearse with Madosini and Vuyo Katsha of Amampondo. It's rough and ready, and the builders outside had probably heard it all before, but it shows how two worlds can meet and be creative in the shortest time - something we like to refer to as in the spirit of ubuntu...
Patrick Duff, Madosini Manqina & Vuyo Katsha, Gugluthu outside Cape Town, 15 July 2003.