Saturday, September 16, 2006


L.A.P. (Live African Percussion)

I have been very busy last few days, flying around the country for all kinds of exciting meetings and events.

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 Ashish’s 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!

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