Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Juno Reactor - God is God
I have tried to keep the video’s to artists that we work with, artists that we like to promote, and artists that I feel deserve to be marketed, are unable to do this type of promotion themselves. Africa is slowly, but surely, starting to wake up and connecting to the rest of the world – and can only be a good thing!
One group that doesn’t need long introductions is Juno Reactor – still a firm favourite in the office – not only because of their collaborations with Amampondo. Ben Watkins is just a genius, and his music still way ahead of it’s time! (From the album Bible of Dreams (BRO42CD) from 1997!)
So I thought I would present another of his classics – God is God – also featured on the Juno Reactor Live in Tokyo DVD (MET 265) – but then live. So this is different!
Enjoy it, and don’t forget to switch off your appliances this evening to prevent more load-shedding! Some of us need to work!
Monday, January 29, 2007
Rodrigo and Gabriella - Mexican Acoustic Guitar
They are in charge of designing new logo’s and a new-look website for Peak Performances, as well as a funky new image for Peak People, my own personal little ranting & raving space!
Having worked very closely with iaminawe in the past on our own projects; and having seen much of the exciting work they have done for other companies (including designing the stage for the 10th Design Indaba) we are always very excited when their emails start arriving, giving us loads of choices by playing with different themes that they just know are up our alley!
So exciting times are ahead – after all, Peak is in its 11th year now, so it deserves a bit of spoiling!
Today I would like to introduce something a little different, but very much in the World Music genre. I found a video of an unbelievable Mexican acoustic guitar duo, Rodrigo (Sanchez) & Gabriella (Quintero), while searching for acoustic music. I was spellbound. And so its seems are many others, as they are doing pretty well on the general charts of Ireland, where they are based.
Having met as teenagers in Mexico City, Gabriella joined Rodrigo’s band Terra Acida (Acid Earth) that played at some of the roughest clubs in the city, with them having to survive off day-jobs to make ends meet. They did record one album at the time, but there were issues with the record label, and so the couple decided to head for the greener pastures of Europe in 1999.
This exotic couple immediately made an impact in Dublin, getting gigs at private parties, weddings and art exhibitions, and then headed for Denmark during the winter time to busk – being from Mexico I am sure nothing could have prepared them for busking the streets in 3 degree’s! From Copenhagen, they went to Barcelona, Manchester and then back to Dublin where they were asked to open for a busking friend at the new Sugar Club. In 2003 they released “Re-Foc” and a year later, “Live Manchester and Dublin”.
So now you know who they are – but what do they do?
They are both heavily influenced by their love for Metal, and it comes out especially in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, but there is no one name for the style that they play. They describe it as ‘straddling both World & Rock’, but there is lots of classical acoustic, along with their Hispanic roots.
Let this little clip stream, and then watch Rodrigo’s amazing finger-picking style; he is able to get your heart to beat at full pace with the speed of his fingers, while Gabriela builds a rhythm that makes you feel like you got ants in your pants – Mexican ants full of Tequila!
So enjoy this lil bit of Southern Hemisphere solidarity and respect I have for these World music artists – they are creating sounds that are influenced by their lives and surroundings, no matter where they are, or how far from home, the result is pure music!
I am in awe.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Tinariwen - from the deserts of Mali
I did find a very pleasant place to spend the previous evening – we took the boys to the Spur at West Coast Village (right), where they had an ingenious way of keeping the customers cool. With a water-pipe, and small spray nozzles, a heavy mist would be sprayed into the air above us every 15-minutes, making us all feel like we were fresh produce at Fruit & Veg City – who use a similar method of keeping the veggies looking fresh! And it really works at keeping the air cooler, and us sitting at the table longer.
Talking about hot stuff, we had a great meeting yesterday with Heidi da Sousa – Craig da Sousa’s wife and manager – who has now taken over the management of one of our firm favourites, the sexy sounding Iridium Project.
They have had a slight change in membership, seeing Mario Parmeggiani return to Italy (for love) and Craig taking his place for local, and soon, international gigs. The group is planning a tour of Europe later in the year, with another Cape musical powerhouse, Goldfish (pictured left), and we will be assisting them in finding more gigs across the continent at club’s, festivals & of course all those S.A. corporate’s that are missing home so much!
I am also very excited that Iridium Project is working on their 2nd album, expected around August 2007, which is pretty impressive; if you consider that it took almost 6-years to complete their first!
So, now, as it’s a wonderfully cool Friday, I thought I would feature something very funky, and well, cool!
Tinariwen (Tamashek for ‘empty places’), a group of traditional musicians from the deserts of Mali, have been making waves on the international performing circuit with their incredibly ‘hip’ style of music, called Tishoumaren – meaning literally ‘music of the unemployed’.
Tinariwen was started in 1982, in Moammar al-Qadhafi’s camps for Tuareg rebels; their music’s main theme being of their desire for independence from the government of Mali, after almost a century of clashes with governments and colonial masters, who wished to control them.
As camel riding nomads, the Tuareg differ notably from most other Moslem cultures, in that it is the men who cover their faces with a veil, or Tagelmust – an indigo blue dyed strip of cotton that can be up to 10 meters long forming both veil & turban - when they reach maturity. Their society is also matrilineal – meaning that they draw decent from their mother’s line, as opposed to a patriarchal society.
Tinariwen released many cassettes in their first 18-years, but released their first CD outside of Africa in December 2000. Since then they have appeared at a number of World Music festivals around the world, having been one of the highlights of the 2004 WOMAD Festival in Reading, U.K. (where Amampondo also appeared), and I am really looking forward to their 2007 album ‘Aman Iman’ – already being touted by BBC Radio 3’s Andy Kershaw as 2007’s album of the year (and that was in 2006!).
So enjoy this little video – Tinariwen is the only Tuareg musical group to make use of the electrical guitar – and remember that this is just another slice of the wonderful African music cake! Tinariwen - Amassakoul 'n' Tenere & Chet Boghassa
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
It's hot hot hot in Cape Town!
I have found myself wondering a number of times over the last month about how the weather is so different to what I remember as a young boy growing up on the slopes of Signal Hill & Lion’s head.
There seems to be much more wind; while the rain and cold weather we had in Swellendam at the end of December was weird! I had to take a drive into town to get blankets after a very cold night, but at the same time had to stock up on ice, as we needed cold drinks to soothe the heat…
My father and young brother Tom (16) were here for a 2 week holiday over Christmas time from the Netherlands, having left at the beginning of the month, and even they were amazed at how the weather could change in a few hours. From hot to cold, and then straight away from cold to hot again.
We had a great time while they were here, and as it isn’t often that I have my little brother here, nice to be able to let him experience our lifestyle here, the evening walks on the beach, fishing (pictured left behind Jasper at Melkbosstrand), afternoons at the pool, and of course, nice big fires with the African sunset.
My dad made a short clip of Tom’s time here, and I just love the ending (before it goes into black screen right at the end!) – a typical sunset in the van den Berg household…
Keep it cool people!
Monday, January 22, 2007
Ernestine Deane - ex-Moodphase5ive
The office is getting through a multitude of projects at the moment, and some of them are pretty time consuming – but the bigger they are the more work that needs to be done. Lenny, Denise and Ang have a rapid-fire vocal match going most of the day, each negotiating, dealing and arranging while the enquiries keep flying in!
We had had a lot of positive response from 1st Projects appearance on television in December, and also had the highest number of hits for a day when the fans started searching for them! Both Peak sites had modest (205 on Peak Blog & 625 on Peak Perf) record days!
I have a pile of artists who have sent through their demo’s, DVD’s and am still working through the 630 emails in my inbox – each of them is important and is being dealt with. (RT Concerts dancers pictured left)
One of them came from Ernestine Deane, the sultry ex-vocalist of Cape Town’s Moodphase 5ive. Of course I am going to sit and read with more focus, and so ignore the Peak chatter!
I got in touch a Brian de Goede, Ernie's husband, at that stage because I really wanted to do stuff with Moodphase; but they were in various stages of unfortunate break-up, so nothing came out of that, except an awesome demo CD that still gets the office to chill. I know that Ernie got in touch with her roots, around the time that she was pregnant, and this resulted in a musical documentary, in collaboration with filmaker Kali van der Merwe, titled 'Brown'.
'Brown' was featured at film festivals such as Italy's Milano Film Festival (where it won Best Africa Documentary), The Apollo and Durban Film Festivals, and still doing its rounds, having been featured several times by SABC.
But Ernie, from Grassy Park on the Cape Flats, is back. She’s gone solo and I am really looking forward to hearing her at gigs soon. She’s such a sensual voice, and with the experience and success that she has already got, I think that she is an exciting addition to our database.
Here is a vid I had received some time ago – I am not sure of the title, it was labeled ‘Vgotto’ (so if anyone knows the track name - please shout!), but it has the right sound, and message, and even features some of the funky Godessa ladies!
Let’s all have a good week!
Monday, January 15, 2007
A Jazzathon afternoon
One very cool performance we are looking forward to is a combination of Arno Carstens, Elana Afrika and Gloria Bosman for Santam in March – an awesome combination of styles that is going to be a real pleasure to witness. But I will have more to say about that closer to the time.
Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon – one of those balmy Cape Town summer Sundays, when there isn’t a breathe of wind, the blueness of the sky is classed as unique and it’s a stunning temperature… And then of course it was also the final day of the 2007 Jazzathon at the V&A Waterfront. Which is why we were grateful to get a table at the Paulaner Brauhuas, sipping white beer to the sounds of Cape Town Jazz.
VJR was last up, taking the festival to its final sundown, and although they were performing some tracks from their 1st CD that I am not that fond of, their class in undeniable. We were especially entertained when Andrew Ford, the keyboardist, put drummer Frank Paco and bass guitarist Sammy Weber to the test by setting down a tune vocally, to which they had to respond! Very cool – they were spot-on every time!
So in celebration of Cape, and South African Jazz, I thought I would present a small clip of SA Jazz King, Hugh Masekela, in performance with Ladysmith Black Mambazo as part Paul Simon’s Graceland tour in Zimbabwe in 1987.
Hope you have a great week!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Hemel oppie Weskus
We started the week by taking all the staff to the Beach Camp at Paternoster, needing to be able to all get used to seeing each other again, and that we could all come to the office feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle all the enquiries that came in while we were closed.
And there were many many emails waiting to be sorted out!
So Lenny, Jasper, Kai and I went with our friend Wendy, and also took Angie and her boykie Alex, plus partner Andrew, and Denise, to a part of the world that is relaxing, beautiful and hot. Nestled up against an outcrop of rocks, in a very sheltered little bay, the Beach Camp is pretty unique! You have all the comforts of hot showers, working toilets, a real bed, and if you’re as lucky as we are, a sea-fronted tent. They cook meals for those who need it – things like paella, crayfish, fresh fish caught that day, muscles, and to wash it down there is a great bar to lean against to really admire the view.
So returning yesterday, we all felt refreshed, sun kissed and glad for a great ending to our holiday.
Not that we weren’t working during our off time – we have been working closely with the Jupiter Drawing Room in supplying them with a number of exciting celebrities for the 2007 Woolworths summer campaign, focusing on Proudly South African personalities that we are all proud of.
It started with Roland Schoeman – he flew down to Cape Town last week while we were camping at Hoeppoe Camp in Swellendam for the photo shoot – followed by Zamajobe and Thuli Sitole (ex-Miss South Africa) on Tuesday, Mary-Ann Barlow (known as Jane from Egoli & lead actress in Snitch) on Wednesday, and the lovely Tanya Fourie was in fact being photographed when I started writing this… (Damn. Makes me wonder what I am doing here, when I could actually be there!)
So. 2007. It started with a little bit of heaven on the ‘Weskus’ and so can only be a rocking year ahead. Which is why I thought I would start off with an energetic Fokofpolisiekar’s Hemel op die Platteland.
Monday, January 01, 2007
A Happy 2007 to you!
My father and 'little' brother arrived for a 2 week holiday from the Netherlands, and so later today we are off to pitch out tent at Hoepoe Camp in Swellendam, to just enjoy some outdoor time!
I hope that the whole of 2007 brings everyone the joys in life they deserve, and that we all just try to get along a little better with each other.
I think this is going to be a special year... so let's make it so!