Thursday, September 28, 2006
Sibots Super Evil Me
I read an article yesterday about an issue that really worries me.
IOL reported yesterday that the organisation has joined ‘several other local and international media organisations in opposing the Film and Publications Amendment Bill.’ What the government basically wants to do is regulate all news media by amending the Film and Publications Act – making it possible for the government to censor what we hear and read.
Didn’t the Apartheid government do that so successfully, for such a long time?
There are a number of places where there is more information about this; The Harbinger, a Blog by Professor Anton Harber, director of the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at Wits University and former editor of the Mail & Guardian; the Parliamentary Monitoring Group's list of tabled bills; and a letter from the International Press Institute to President Thabo Mbeki. We do need to make a stand about this, because freedom of expression cannot be compromised!
An artist like Sibot, who is also part of the DJ-duo Real Estate Agents that I featured recently, has made a very frisky like horror film to go with his track Super Evil Me. As I said, these guys are considered to be dance-floor terrorists, and now with this exciting little video, you can hear and see why!
It’s another track under the African Dope clan, produced by A-187 Films & Moagli Osborne, and has a catchy little story about a curse that is passed on by a little old lady. The curse causes all kinds of violent acts in the city centre, ending with all the ‘cursed’ coming together in a castle.
I think we’re pretty 'cursed' if we let this bill be approved. And as with the official crime statistics only being released once a year, much of a news that we need to hear will be 'buried'; deemed either too sensitive for our ears, or subversive to the governments cause.
We cannot let that happen!
Iridium Project - Cape Town summer
Last night I had a good chuckle reading Seth's blog at 2oceansvibe, a regular read of mine, where he apologies nicely to all ex-pats for missing another day of paradise in Cape Town!
Today, like yesterday, is just another glorious day! We will have to celebrate with a few drinks down at the Blue Peter later this afternoon (pictured right: Kai & Papa with a really sad view from the B.P.H.)
I even feel sorry for non-Capies living far from the Mother city. Things work differently here – we just know how important it is to take some time out to enjoy our surroundings, the view that greets you everyday!
Summer time in Cape Town, it’s something very special. Whether you’re enjoying evenings at the Kirstenbosch Sunset Concert Series, productions at the Spier Amphitheatre under open African skies, or live jazz at Mannenberg’s, this city brings an inner peace.
This is one of the reasons why a group like Iridium Project is really appealing to me. They rave about the Mother City, they understand the energy that runs through the people, and make music that is almost impossible to sit still to.
So before I go off to celebrate the setting sun, here something funky before the weekend; another snippet from the Cape Town Fashion Week, when Iridium Project (minor) was part of the Magents presentation.
Have a ‘lekka’ day!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Today a baby was born
I was woken up this morning to a minor emergency – minor in that most women in the world go through it at some stage, but major enough for me to get very sweaty palms!
A very pregnant lady, Zoliswa, was braiding Lenny’s hair yesterday and stayed over last night instead of travelling all the way back to Khayelitsha. This morning she told us that during the night she had felt the first labour pains. And so I was designated to drive her as quickly as possible to the Mowbray Maternity Clinic.
I had no desire to get stuck on the M5, delivering a baby with a mobile phone stuck to my ear! Both my boys were delivered by Caesarean Section, so I wouldn’t know where to start! So I just made sure I negotiated my through the traffic with as few bumps and starts – that was definitely the most simple part of it all.
I was just amazed at the strength of this lady. She endured the pain, and it was a struggle that I could see, but gritted her teeth with silent resolve. The power of the African Mama.
We arrived in time and she was pushed to the front of the queue, after only a brief delay, and disappeared straight to the labour ward, leaving me sitting with lots of panting mothers in various stages of labour... It was quite daunting.
We heard this afternoon that she had given birth to a little girl, some three hours later. Twas close!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Etienne Steyn sings about Happy Dayz
As I mentioned, the family went to Buffelsfontein this weekend, where we relaxed and recharged (even though Jasper needed stitches in his knee!) And as yesterday was a day-off for Heritage Day, we spent some time at the West Coast National Park where we dodged tortoises, had competitions as to who could see the most animals, and had a good lunch at Geelbek Restaurant which is situated inside the park (and has been there since about 1708!).
I had been telling Jasper about ‘Eve’s’ footprints, found near the park some years ago, and thought it was cool to find a cast of the prints inside the information centre at the restaurant. They are estimated to be some 117 000 years old, and Jas will think carefully about where he leaves his own muddy footprints from now.
I was contacted a few weeks back by a new young Afrikaans artist, Etienne Steyn that I hadn’t heard of before, and when introduced to his music and video, was interested to find out more about him.
Etienne has played in a few groups over the years, such as Denizen, Goose Gap that had the hit “Sugar Up My Lolipop”, while also working in the recording industry. He filled in as lead vocalist for a Cutting Jade national tour after their lead quit the group, and in 2005 some of his first Afrikaans tracks started making waves, which touched AKA Records.
His debut album ‘Storie van my Hart’ was released 6-months later, and immediately nominated for a SAMA for Best Pop Album.
I am featuring his video Happy Dayz, about his own grandfather, Oupa Pottie. Etienne explains that Oupa Pottie survived World War II, and as is the case with many veterans, it was only in the last few years of his life that he opened up about his experiences.
Etienne says, “Hy het baie gespekuleer – oor how manipulerend die politici is… oor hoe onnodieg ‘n oorlog is…” (He spent a lot of time speculating about that time... about how manipulating politicians are… about how unnecessary war is…)
And when Etienne used to take out his guitar, Oupa would sit quietly listening, and then ask, “Etienne, speel vir my Suikerbossie in ‘n ‘sad way’!” (Etienne, play Suikerbossie in a sad way!).
His grandfather was also very fond of the old war-time song ‘Happy days are here again’ and enjoyed getting the whole family to sing it when together at gatherings.
Etienne lost his grandfather in 2003, and as couldn’t be there at his passing he wrote this song in Oupa Pottie’s memory.
Judge for yourself, but I think he is very talented!
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Iridium Project funky party
The main reason why he came through was to drop off some footage of Iridium Project’s performance at the Cape Town Fashion Week, which we were really looking forward to viewing. But the 3 of us, being Cancerians and such social beings, only parted ways in the quiet hours of the morning.
Jasper & Kai are both on holiday as from today, so with fetching them and their buddies, treats at MacDonald’s, going down to the bay to watch the attempted rescue of the pilot of the ill-fated aerobatics plane that went down in the sea off Milnerton, writing about Iridium Project was put on hold till much later.
This group is too cool and funky! But an you ever be too cool? Don’t you want your party-guests to think that you are just way ahead of everyone else? To remember your party as the one that knocked their socks off?
If Iridium Project is going to be there, then you had better wash your feet!
Miss Lou Chase has the sexy vocals, MR DJ Nick Matthews is seen bopping the beat on the decks and samplers, and Joseph adds that percussion that makes it real (This is a smaller version - but I'll come to that when I feature them all!). The models have to work hard to be as sexy as this trio!
What I really enjoy is the clear reference to Cape Town, and what a cool place this is to be – SoundsCape, Cape Town, the summer sun, sexy, sweaty, party beats…
Friday, September 22, 2006
Peak & Reach for a Dream
Kelly explained that there is a young 'Dreamer', Chesco, living in Mannenberg, whose dream it was to play the trumpet with a troupe of Minstrels, but due to being very ill, and not having the resources, he had been put forward to the foundation in the hope of fulfilling his dream.
I know that some of the dreams children have are not always very big or complicated as we might expect, and though this young man had his heart set on a trumpet, there are some who have never seen the sea; have never tasted oranges; or dreamed of running out onto the field with the Springboks; or just had the pleasure of wearing a pair of new shoes.
I knew I had to contact Fadiel from the Ashwin Willemse Orient Community Development Group of Minstrels - quite a name I know, but they too are a community group that Peak has been using for a number of years. Money earned at gig's goes towards producing costumes for the youth in the poorer areas, and getting them to be involved in the annual Kaapse Klopse festival at the beginning of the year. Fadiel was very keen to be involved and offered his troupe for free to entertain this young man.
This was our second association with the foundation this month; CODA performed at the Reach for a Dream Charity Ball, a very high profile event where all the celeb's come out to play their part for charity, on the 2nd of September at Helderberg Estate in Sandton.
So yesterday was special. The whole street came out to enjoy the music with a very shy Chesco, it was beautiful weather, and his grin was wide and true as he posed for pictures with Kelly, and the sponsor of this dream, Richard Mulvey.
Richard told me that he sponsors one dream per month, and that this one was probably one of the most fun he's been involved with. Richard is well-known throughout South Africa as a self-help/motivational speaker that Lenny has been to a few courses of.
There is always lots of behind the scenes rushing and stressing to get groups of people to meet each other at the same address - this time in the heart of Mannenberg (thanks to the Mannnenberg Police Station for their excellent directions!). But I think that at the end of it all, Chesco was very excited with the special attention, Richard enjoyed himself, and so I can only have a good feeling.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Breaking News - Zuma free!
News has just been sent to me via News 24 that all charges against him have been dismissed, when the State was hoping for another postponement in the corruption trail against him and the two subsidiaries of the French arms manufacturer Thales International.
It does come as quite a shock that after the amount of time, effort, and money spent on this trial, that we will not hear the arguments, or evidence, and so will always be left with a feeling of a job not finished.
Money that could have been well spent elsewhere.
We just hope that things can normalise again, and that we can get on with important issues, as I mentioned in my previous post.
Jerusha, one of Cape Town’s pop sensations, who also happens to be a Medical Doctor, is one artist who has made a stand.
Jerusha first hit the South African airwaves with her debut album Got to have it, from which she had three chart-topping tracks (including two number 1 hits) in 2002. Are u the One, her first big hit, was produced within six months of her arriving to cut a demo with Craig at Mama Dance in Cape Town, just when she was in the final year of medical school.
As she grew in fame, she was also working for community and country, and even spent three months as a military doctor in war-torn Liberia as part of the United Nations humanitarian effort.
She was one of two South African Acts chosen by MTV for the road show to promote the prestigious Nelson Mandela “46664” Concert in 2004 to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, a world health issue that is close to her heart.
In late 2005, backed by her world-class band, Jerusha performed in London in the SA Solidarity Festival in benefit of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. In May 2006, supported by her band and backing vocalists from the Oxford gospel choir, Jerusha was one of the headline acts at the World Fair Trade Fashion Show held in Oxford; hosted by the Ethical Fashion Forum and UNICEF.
She is currently based in Oxford United Kingdom, working with some top producers, where she is focusing on her sound and looking forward to releasing further chart-topping hits!
As I said earlier – she has made a stand against HIV/Aids. Jerusha was chosen by Love Life in 2005 (South Africa’s largest HIV/AIDS Awareness Organisation) as a role-model for South Africa’s youth and featured as an icon in the “Get Attitude” campaign, which I feature here.
We should all make more noise, get on our soap-box’s and shout out to all who can hear – HIV/Aids is our problem, let’s do something about it!
The Real Estate Agents revolution
Sounds a little revolutionary that... So I will focus on some terrorism. It's called dancefloor-terrorism!
The Real Estate Agents from Cape Town are two of the funkiest DJ's, and as they like to describe themselves, unstable sonic scientists with a fetish for low-fi audio-visual property values. Made up of Sibot (pictured right) and Markus Wormstorm, these guys are best seen live, where they have re-invented the art of performance, with very creative DJ'ing, scratching, pling and live beat manipulation.
Markus Wormstorm (pictured left) says,'Taking the African rhythm heartbeat to the next level but with really, really thick western production.'
They use an array of samplers, laptops, feedback units and turntables, rare & often humorous sounds, beats, loops and samples that create a 'freq fest of beat-bop, glitch-hop, drop-top to the cop shop fun.'
We've come into contact with the Real Estate Agents through Roach & Fletcher at African Dope Records, which has over the years created some of the Cape's most exciting cross-over music on the label. I will be featuring a few more of their exciting productions in the near future.
In the meantime, here is the real estate agents, produced by Inka @ MEME.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Do it again, Larry!
I have to include part-two of Larry Soffer's performance here at the Peak offices last week Wednesday.
Having watched it a couple of time's, I think it's such a great little advert for Larry's abilities. I was also amazed at how shocked 'into silence' both Bronwin & Nicole were! I had to ask for a reaction - and that has never happened before... truely shocking!
There were no tricks. Nothing at all was planned, and it was Larry's first meeting with the girls. He was really spot on every single time he tested himself against the busy minds of Peak.
What is really cool about Larry's show, is that although he gave us a close up private viewing, his stage shows in front of live audiences make him all the more effective - there is alot more that can be done!
" I witnessed the next Doug Henning or David Copperfield, I knew immediately I had to get him to the
"Master of Magic"
Not a bad quote to be able to bandy around... so here's Larry again.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Vidima - from Zimbabwe to South Africa
Today I want to talk about a Zimbabwean artist that we have had dealings with over the last few years, Maxwell Vidima.
Maxwell, who has been based in Cape Town in this time, is like a gentle giant - well, compared to Lenny and I anyway! This tall man, whose face always has a smile on it, makes music in the same way that he looks at life. Full of energy, love for life, and aural beauty, with a sound that is cosmopolitan, while never going too far from his African roots.
As he explains in the interview that I inserted in his music video, his mother is a Zulu and his father a Shona, giving him influences from two major Southern African cultures, and the collective memory that comes from each.
He is influenced by artists such as Louis Mhlanga, Oliver Mtukudzi and George Phiri; all having fond memories of playing at his fathers legendary Midnight Club in Gweru.
We first met Vidima - he goes by his surname as he feels there are just too many Maxwell's in the world already - while filming interviews for the Freedom to Celebrate DVD we released. We had an interview scheduled with Craig from Mama Dance, and he brought this wonderful character along with him. From there we just had to include one of his music video's, and capture some of his thoughts in an interview.
His CD Sagiya has been released by Universal Publishing and Mama Dance Publishing, and here is a track from the album, Babaye Mombe (Thanks Coslyn!)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
She Band rocks Santam
Santam settled on She Band; with Abbey Artico on keyboards, sax & vocals, Kerry Hiles on lead vocals & bass guitar, Erika Strydom on guitar & vocals and the very sassy Sonnet LeGrange on drums. They're one of Johannesburg & South Africa's only all-girl cover bands, and as we had a very successful gig with them last year in Port Elizabeth, where they really rocked one of our clients, we were looking forward to the gig.
We flew to Johannesburg on Thursday, leaving my boys for the second time in the week, to make sure everything ran smoothly and that our artists were well looked after. It's part of our service, and for our own peace of mind to - we want the best performance all round!
We had a very frustrating incident at Oliver Tambo International Airport (that's Johannesburg) and I hate bitching about service, but we need to get things right in this country before 2010. Like having a car be available at the time you book it for.
We got the run around with Tempest Car Hire where we had to wait for more than an hour because they just didn't have our car ready. We tried going to other companies, but couldn't come right, and so insisted that Tempest make a plan. They finally plucked one out of thing air, and very apologetically gave it at no cost for inconvenience caused. Whew!
My 'huff & puff' subsided, and we thanked Minau Wegner from Sure Travel for her intervention and getting them to jack-up their service!
Then we arrived at our accommodation. I was feeling calm. We had pre-booked the honeymoon suite at a B&B... But I was shown a little room with one small window, no pictures on the walls and a bathroom where the door almost scraped past the toilet and basin, and so I walked straight out again. Websites can be deceiving. (UPDATE: Just as a warning - they have also refused to pay back our deposits, so be sure to check out places such as this before paying!)
We ended up back at the airport, at the Intercontinental Airport Sun Johannesburg, booked ourselves into an executive suite and 'said bugger it'! It was hot, and we had a gig to worry about, so a little pampering was needed and deserved! And Emperor's Palace being 5-minutes away was a perfect excuse
Anyway - the gig was great! She Band rocked the house, which made Tahra Sergeant & Elize Schoeman from FCB smile alot, and we got to spend some time chatting to Abbey during the breaks. She has such an infectious laugh, and 'grinning' outlook on life, that she is very easy to work with.
Sonnet the drummer had us totally amazed! She's this petite little lady, and only when we heard that she dances, sings and plays in a few other groups, did we understand how she can beat the drums the way she does - she's tiny!
I also made a small video to give a sample of some of their tracks - it never does 'live' justice, but as can be seen by the end of the vid, they got the dance-floor going!
Oh, and we were also sent a basket of chocolates by Tempest Car Hire, to apologise about our 'experience' and so at the end of it all I can say that I am impressed. They stuffed it up, then made it right again, AND apologised! That's humble, and I admire that. At least I feel more assured there won't be any more incidents at the other 3cities on the tour!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Larry Soffer - Reading your mind!
Wednesday we were first visited by Magician Ryan Sharp & Scoobie Doo, and then we saw Larry Soffer, South Africa’s only Illusionist & Magician who uses the technique of Mentalism to totally freak your mind. All three of them came to the office to introduce themselves to Bronwin and Nicole (Scoobie couldn't stay long though as he was on to another show).
I have known Larry for many years, from his early days as a student at the College of Magic in Cape Town, when he was only just starting out; he used to hang out at the V&A Waterfront, with another good friend of ours, Jacques Le Sueur – incidently the only Magician in the world to have stolen Nelson Mandela’s Rolex twice in a row (with permission from his bodyguards of course!)
Larry does some mind-boggling mind-reading; he told the girls to each think of a person, and then he provided their names correctly; he ‘saw’ the cards Nicole was holding in her hand, and even knew which order they were in without even coming near the pack; and he felt the energy of objects they were holding in their hands while being totally blind-folded - a two-prong adapter & an old brick Motorola 5200!
We used him earlier this year as a table-hopping magi for the Götheborg welcome day, and our client was so impressed with his close-up magic that they requested him for another show that evening at their gala event.
Larry has even made spoons bend during a talk radio show, and he was very pleased to meet Bronwin, as she was one of the audience listening in to the show on 567 Cape Talk who witnessed this from her own home!
So this was no average meeting! But it was just another exciting day at Peak!
I have included some of his card tricks in this next short film, and you can see from the censored sound-clip that Bron and Nicole were flabbergasted!
I will follow this up soon with more mind-reading - isn't that what you were thinking you would like to see?
L.A.P. (Live African Percussion)
Louis Fourie, from the Canyon Nature Park in Namibia, called to tell me that he was going up to see Robert Trunz from MELT at his farm (pictured left) in Cullinan Gauteng, and he really wanted me to be there with him at this first meeting and jam session with some artists.
Louis' world has opened up since he and I first met, as he says,"It's amazing what one click to a website can do to your life". After that first enthusiastic meeting where I almost over-whelmed him with new music and exciting musicians, his vision for a music festival suddenly became something more than just a dream (more about that in the future!).
Robert, is still one of the most important producers of music from Southern Africa, and apart from being my music 'guru', he also knows how to put together the most incredible combinations of artists for festival events. Having worked with PedXulu at the Johannesburg Arts Alive Festival, I can say this with confidence!
So Monday morning Louis and I jetted out of Cape Town to Jo'burg on a 1Time flight - my first with the airline, and it was pretty cool - hired a car and negotiated our way to our first meeting with South Africa's ambassador of music, the famous Pops Mohamed (pictured with Louis).
Pops took us to a Woolworths cafe for lunch where we spoke about lots of exciting projects that he is involved in, collaborations, his new album (which I'll review as soon as I get it!), and of course his associations with the San of the Kalahari.
Pops is such a special man; a man of great understanding of other cultures, their ancient memories, and as a musician, he has spread this knowledge across the globe by performing with the most simple instruments, to electronic-jazz-traditional styles of music that are really going to get the clubs of Europe dancing to the African beat!
Pressed for time, Louis, the desert man, and I headed off past Tswane (Pretoria), to the MELT farm, which is some 17 km's outside Cullinan, which is the name of the world's largest diamond found there and now part of the British Crown Jewels... Hmmm. Makes me think of Saartjie Baartman.
Set in the low hills, of the most beautiful ochre coloured soil, the MELT farm is a place of creativity. The Music With No Name Studio, which is attached to the main house, is filled with all the instruments and goodies that no musician can walk by without wanting to play. And it's relaxed
Greg Georgiades, Ashish Joshi and the L.A.P. guys (pictured left), Gontse Mkhene, Bafana Nhlapo, Ragga and Frank were meeting up for an evening jam-session, and to study AshishÂs style of playing the Tabla more closely.
Louis immediately sat down got stuck in with his guitar and joined in; Bafana on percussion, Gontse on drums, Frank on electric bass and Ragga on Djembe. Louis' blues style of playing caused some cool reactions and eventually all styles of music flowed out into the night sky.
L.A.P. is releasing a new album soon, and I have been promised a copy! These guys can really play! They are also part of Jozi's new wondergroup of motherland funk Kwani Experience, and have collaborated with Madala Kunene and Bernard Mndaweni for MELT last year. And now they've jammed with Louis Fourie!
On Tuesday Louis and I went on a tour of the farm, and some of the awesome renovations that have been done to create some stunning works of art; like having a steaming shower in a mosaic bathroom looking out over the African bush; dining and lounging areas with different moods and flavours; the kitchen that opens up to a cooking area out under the sky.
And all the rooms are kitted out with different versions of Robert’s amazing Blue Room speakers… So theres always music in the air!
I was also lucky enough that Robert added to my own collection, and I got another set of translucent Minipods and a blue Minipod Bass Station (check it out on the right)… I think I am going to have to write a letter of apology to the neighbours.
I’ve included a short piece of video from the Various Artists Acoustic Africa DVD (MZADV002) of L.A.P. recorded during their sessions at the Music With No Name studio. You’re going to hear more about these guys!
Friday, September 15, 2006
The Week Whizzed by
I haven't had a chance to get anywhere near here, to post what has all been happening, and where I have all been, but will make a plan that I am not so quiet in the future. (We've just bought ourselves the new 3G HSDPA through Vodacom, and so can connect from anywhere in the world!)
This only means that there is much to catch up on and some cool stories to tell; ; how I enjoyed watching musicians jam on a farm outside Cullinan, Pretoria; we received the most awesome Magic & Mentalism show at the office on Wednesday; there was a trip to Johannesburg for the start of a roadshow; and about all the exciting DVD's that I have been promised that'll be featuring here; and how the entertainment-blood flows through the family veins with some cool performances.
So this weekend there should be lots of fun things appearing here - so come back soon! I still can't believe its a week since Jasper and his buddy Shaun made their first braai in the garden!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
October Fest East London 2006
It doesn't happen all to often that a team gets to beat the mighty All Blacks and then the Aussies in consecutive weeks, so it's a positive step towards to World Cup build-up.
This is also a reminder of the Arno Carstens gig on Friday 06 October that I mentioned a while back - Darius from Buffs Club in East London is very excited that Mean Mr Mustard will also be performing on Saturday the 7th, and its going to be party weekend to remember!
Labels: Arno Carstens
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Africa needs ubuntu
Recently there has been a lot of negative attention directed South Africa's HIV policies. Men like the Arch understand the urgency of the continents situation, which is why he has given his name to add weight to organisations that aim at making a dent in the statistics. And I am sure that being party of some of the top research material available, he would have a few matters to comment on.
But most importantly, as he said at the recent Harold Wolpe Memorial Lecture, "At the least we should forego the luxury of sterile academic debates in the pejorative sense about what does or does not cause AIDS and have a coherent campaign to combat a devastating pandemic. It is galling that we should be fiddling whilst our Rome is burning and it is distressing that we can be pilloried and lambasted as we were in the recent Toronto AIDS conference. Our country does not deserve it and we owe it to our people especially those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS."
We seem to have lost the patience to sit quietly and listen to what the elders have to say. Times have changed, but whose the wiser now?
Tutu, and Mandela, these are men who have stood up for what they believed in all their lives, and when it has been achieved, or the distance to their goal shortened by what they have done, they haven't claimed it as theirs, or basked in the glory, but added weight to other important issues.
I've mentioned before, with great chest-beating pride, how awesome it was to give time to work on the first 46664 concert in Cape Town. Lenny and I would do anything for Madiba, and Desmond Tutu needs help now too.
HIV Aids organisations and charities like the TAC, Nazareth House, and Thembalanatwana, and the many others, big and small, need support. The people need help, they need the right nutrition, and most importantly, they need the right medication!
The Arch has given his name to the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, established in 2004, that is focused on not only the treatment of HIV, but prevention of HIV & TB, and includes educating health care professionals, community workers and the man on the street.
It's in the spirit of ubuntu to our fellow man that we should stop, listen and then take action. It's amazing that R500 per month can save someone's life, while even R50 can make a difference too. Here President Nelson Mandela explains what ubuntu means for German TV.
Ubuntu is just another way of showing you care.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Wolfgang Riebe - Master Magician
I first met Wolfgang about 10 years ago, and his reputation at that stage was already impressive! Wolfgang has toured the world extensively, having visited some 117 countries from running aground near the North Pole to walking with the penguins on Antarctica. He watched Krakatoa erupt, has dived the Cayman fault and even been through the Bermuda Triangle... and that's not including all his Magical appearances!
He has lectured at all the top magic societies internationally, from the London Magic Circle to the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and this is where his degree in Communication & Psychology certainly helps. But its not just magic.
In the corporate market, Wolfgang developed shows around Motivation & Memory Retention, where he offers workshops and seminars where he teaches his audience ways and means of improving their memory by a minimum of 200%.
And we had quite a chuckle just before Wolfgang arrived this morning; Nicole got all excited about meeting him, as she has watched his television shows for a number of years, as he has appeared regularly on Top Billing, Pasella, Kwela, Die Casper Rasper Show amongst others.
So here's a small presentation video giving some more insight - I am looking forward to presenting some more snippets that he is working on with Soli Philander, but more on that later.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Patrick Duff in Gug's
Being a Proudly South African company, we spend a lot of time focusing on that which we know, and of course enjoy. Sitting in the office this morning with Nicole, who started with us today, I had to explain that 95% of the music she will hear in the office will be from the artists we promote.
I couldn't exactly sit here bopping away to the Back Streets Boys or Britney Spears, when I feel that our artists are so much more exciting. We market music that lasts longer than the fly-by-night groups that become a sudden rage, only to be forgotten within weeks, when some other similar group make the next popular hit.
But as a result of this, I am not always aware of who people are when I meet them - and even more exciting is that I often get to interview artists, and only discover during this, what impact they have made in the world of music.
Patrick Duff was one such artist. As the ex-frontman to Strangelove during the eighties and early nineties, the group had a very successful run and built up a huge following around the world. When I interviewed him I had no idea... I just thought he was cool for coming and collaborating with Madosini, and that we seemed to connect easily when talking about the music.
So the interview that follows tells it like it is. Patrick explains his life patiently and in interesting detail, and its his take on how World Music has changed his life that I found the most interesting.
Although this movie is 20MB (beware if you have a slow connection), I think it is worth the download time, as it has interesting insight into the artist and his world.
Palm String duo classics
I first met Titia & Mike when we had to do a press shoot as we were appearing together at the Saxonburg Wine Festival in the mid-nineties - and this funky musical couple arrived at the Company Gardens on a motorbike. Not exactly classical transport - but then I have heard that Michael was a bit of a surfer rebel in his day!
Since that first meeting we have used the Palm String duo over and over again for many of our top functions, and as Titia's husband, Dr. Mike Blake also performs with various groups such as the Solid Brass Quartet and Intsholo, we have kept steady contact over the years.
Here is an interview from a few years back, introducing their music and the styles that they play - not only the Classical classics, but they mix it up with some very cool African & Jazz sounds.
Monday, September 04, 2006
The Crocodile Hunter
Sad news today - the Crocodile Hunter is dead. Long live the Crocodile Hunter!
Steve Irwin, the famously crazy reptile hunter who, with his wife Terri created the show the Crocodile Hunter series that eventually had a viewership of around 200 million, was diving off the north-east coast, on Batt Reef off Port Douglas, when he was killed by a barb of a stringray...
I mean, yikes! This guy was always seen tackling crocs and snakes, getting his face as close to their most dangerous parts, and just after near death situations, would always be heard shouting "Crikey!"
He was such an awesome personality, though a little controversial at times, but will definitely be missed. Here's a little vid in his memory...
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Robbie Wessels Leeuloop
Coming from a mixed cultural background with historical ties to Germany in the 1600's, the French add-in's in the 1700's, more Germans arriving in the late 1800's, and my father arriving here in 1969 from the Netherlands, of course there is some Afrikaaner blood coursing through my veins.
I like to refer to myself as a 'half-bloedje' - half of me is Dutch and the other half filled with other halves. But I have never seen myself as an Afrikaaner, and even at boarding school in Franschhoek I was one of the Soutie's (referring to the amount of salt that collects on certain appendages that hang in the ocean if one has one foot in England and the other foot in South Africa - unlike a true Afrikaaner ancestor of mine, President Jan Brand 1823 -1888 pictured right).
So in our musical focus at Peak, it has only been the last couple of years that we have started giving attention to one of the most powerful musical forces in South Africa - Afrikaans language music - in all its genre's.
It still shocks many people at its popularity; such as at the 2004 SAMA's when comedian David Kau was to announce the Best Selling artist of the year, and on opening the envelope and calling out Steve Hofmeyr's name the audience bursts into hysterical laughter! But it was so. He had beaten all the top Kwaito, Rock & Pop acts to the top spot by selling way more CD's than anyone else. And we sat up and took notice!
Robbie Wessels is an artist who has taken the country by storm, and Peak Performances secured 3 gigs with him, before we had a dispute with his management about what fee's we could charge for our services - we have since decided to part way's, and focus our attention on other artists.
So a little bit of advice to the clients out there hoping to party away to the likes of Dozi, Kurt Darren, Nicholis Louw, and all the other wonderful artists on our database - plan well in advance!
Here Robbie is featured in the Leeuloop Vodacom ad.
(UPDATE 06/10/04: It seems that Vodacom has bowed to pressure from some rather more conservative members of the South African public by pulling the Leeuloop ad from television, as there were a number of complaints. Some even went so far as to say that it is 'embarrassing to watch', and that it makes Afrikaaners seem 'common' - I find it very sad! UPDATE 06/11/23 Robbie seems to be cashing in on his Leeuloop fame - he has a tour of lots of dorpies in the Western Cape planned - read more)
Friday, September 01, 2006
Jazzart Dance guards the flame
I have known Jazzart since my Camps Bay High School days in the early eighties when I was willing to join dance classes to impress Teva, my first real girlfriend, and her choreographer mother Jenny. They were both involved with Jazzart, and because I thought I could swing my hips and kick the legs at our school theatre productions – I too could be a dancer. Dirty Dancing was pretty popular...
Am glad I saved myself the embarrassment!
Jazzart are such professional outfit. Their reputation internationally has always been of the highest standard, then and now, and with their African influence and flair, they have been at the forefront of producing, nurturing and sustaining dance in South Africa for many years.
They have a very strong reputation as a cultural organization and have many awards, not only for choreographic innovation, but also for the development of extraordinary performers.
They have created a piece I am very excited about – not only for shows here at home (ok – not exactly home – Lenny cooks for enough people at our parties, and we’re not adding the cast to that!), but for shows around the world!
The Guardian of the Flame is a stunning piece of collaboration, combining music, song and dance – but not just dance – they have also mastered circus elements, and added these to excite with a visual and aural show-piece!
Here is a small ad conceptualized and directed by Zaheer Bhyat of Light and Dark Films as part of the Vuka series made for television (thanks Zaheer!). It’s a perfect example of how easile they provide a combination of elements, resulting in true African beauty that compete's easily with the rest of the world.
Photos thanks to Charlie Sperring (top) & Mark Wessels (bottom).
Labels: Jazzart Dance Theatre