Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Happy birthday Stuart Taylor - now go see his show!

Today is local comedian & magician Stuart Taylor’s birthday, and the office was very happy to be the first people to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him! And what a day to have a birthday on!

Blue skies, just a slight breeze to cool the air, one or two puffy little clouds, sunlight warming everything, and my garden is just full of flowers! It is a wonderful time of the year in SA – and I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else in the world. Another reason why SA Rocks!

Stuart, know to most of South Africa for his appearances on the wonderful SABC 3's travel program Going Nowhere Slowly, is a Science gradute from Stellenbosch University - making him quite an intelligent chap! We first started dealing with him as a magician, as he was 3 times South African Magic Champion, but always knew that it was his comedy that made him 'stand-up'...

So, Stuart, we hope you have an awesome day!

07/03/08 UPDATE: Stuart mailed me this morning to get this poster of his new show out to you, and so here it is... Go out there and support your local funnyman!

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Monday, February 26, 2007


Canadian Julie Lavergne's acrobatics

We have a shorter week than normal in the office, as Lenny's father has arrived for a short holiday, and we are off to enjoy some tranquility at the Beach Camp, Cape Collumbine Nature Reserve, just up the West Coast.

I have been preparing lots of new video's that I will be presnting over the coming weeks, as our artists have really been getting their stuff together. There is lots of exciting material arrving at the Peak office, and I am so pleased to see my CD collection increasing so nicely.

One of the artists that always amazes me with her beautiful performances, is Canadian Julie Lavergne. She sent through her new video's for the Aerial Cube Trio, her solo Aerial Silk show, and another version of the Cyr or Wheel performance.

So here is a promotional demo to see clearer, that's without all the lights and atmosphere of an event, what amazing strength she has, and yet how sensual that power can be.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The Springbok Nude Girls new release!

Denise is always feeding me interesting articles that she comes across, both online and in the normal press. So this morning I found a copy of Februaries Glamour Magazine on my desk, with an interview with Arno Carstens about the resurgence of the Springbok N*de Girls!

I am not going to reword the article, as I didn’t find it that interesting, but it did get me thinking about how cool it is that the N*de Girls are back at it again. Definitely one of South Africa’s biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll bands, these 30-something-year olds are going to be giving us a much more mature look at the kind of music they can make together.

The Springbok N*de Girls, with Arno Carstens (vox), Theo Crous (guitars), Adriaan Brand (keyboards / trumpet), Arno Blumer (bass) & Francious Kruger (drums), started performing live again at the end of last year, and I have been told that they are to release a brand new album titled Peace Breaker, through SonyBMG, early this year.

It’s the first time the original line up has been together in 5 years, and they started their new presence with a headline performance at the MTV Alert event at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, in Johannesburg in September, 2006., and they then played two headline shows at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire (with Prime Circle and The Parlotones) in November 2006.

Together, Arno and the N*de Girls are just magic! As a solo artist, and as the lead man for the group, he has gone platinum 4 times, he’s had 9 number 1 hit singles, won 5 SAMA’s for Best Albums – and in our local industry – that is something impressive.

07/02/22 UPDATE: Vote for Springbok N*de Girls new single “Illuminate” on the Hi 5 @ 5 by sms'ing Hi5 SNG Illuminate to 33345

07/04/09 UPDATE: We have heard that the first concert on the Peace Breaker tour was a great success, and that the Nudies had a hellova show! Now for Cape Town, @ the Tafelberg Tavern, Friday 13 April! Tickets at Computicket!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Moreira Project - Sax with a mission

Yesterday I met an artist that I have heard of in the past, but not yet had the opportunity of meeting before. It was long overdue!

Saxophonist Moreira Chonguica, originally from Mozambique, is a man on a mission! He is out to conquer the world, on his own terms, and it was refreshing to hear his attitude to the local music scene. He is enthusiastic – realistic, yes – but excited about what he has to offer. And he is creating a brand around his own colourful big character, standing centre stage and woo’ing the audience.

Moreira graduated from UCT in 2000 with an honours degree in Musicology and distinction in Jazz Performance, and has since then performed with most of the major artists in South Africa, such Allou April, Judith Sephuma, Robbie Jansen and the UCT Big Band.

He has appeared at various international festivals with Jimmy Dludlu’s band at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands in both 1999 and 2000; Chicago Jazz Festival 2000; International African Music Festival of Wurzburg in Germany 2002; African Summer Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe; Victoria Jazz Festival, Spain; and the Joy of Jazz, the Jazzathon, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in South Africa.

Moreira’s debut CD, Moreira Project – The Journey, Volume One, was released in 2005 under his own label so as to be able to control his own destiny. He didn’t want to be tied to any of the majors, and as all musicians who have funded their own projects know, there is nothing cheap about creating a professional production. And this is a good looking, good sounding funky, hip and happening CD, full of his energy and passion.

Tony Paco (on drums) is on the album, as is Freshlyground’s guitarist and fellow Mozambican Julio Sigauque, pianist Mark Fransman who has been with Moreira for many years, and Willie Haubrich on trombone – just some of the quality musicians we have been working with over the years.

I enjoyed meeting Moreira – it was easy to get excited about what is happening around us, with the opportunities that are opening up in this digital age, for musicians to be able to express themselves, and get their product out to the world. And we agreed that now especially, care needs to be taken that the product we do present, is of the highest quality.

In this little video clip Moreira performs with a DJ at the after party of the 2006 Nokia Fashion Week. Jamming away on stage, with the models strutting their stuff around him, Moreira gets down and funky!

P.S. This is the first video I have embedded from a new local video host My Video - they're based in Cape Town and have been pretty nifty in our dealings thus far, so I wish them all the best!

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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Vivid Africa - McCoy & Georgiades Jazz

I first heard of Greg Georgiades, an awesome guitarist & oud player from Johannesburg, a few years back from Robert Trunz of MELT, with his collaboration with one of my firm favourites, Zulu guitarist Madala Kunene. Since then we have had more contact with him and are looking at international gigs for his various ensembles.

Robert had contact last week to say that he is coming down for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and he needed me to rip some material from a promotional DVD of Vivid Africa – a really exciting World music ensemble that we have had on our books for awhile. I hadn’t seen them live before the DVD arrived, and was very surprised at how much seeing them live made the music more real.

With it’s very impressive line-up I shouldn’t have been; McCoy Mrubata plays the Saxello, alto & tenor saxophones and the flute; Greg Hadijyorki Georgiades is on Vocals, oud and flamenco guitar; Ashish Joshi is a master of the tabla, the darbuka and dhol; Mlungisi Gegana is on acoustic & electric bass; Wynand van der Walt on Drums & percussion; and finally, but certainly not least, have a listen to the wonderful warm vocals of Siya Makuzani – and she also plays the trombone!

It’s this kind of exciting hybrid jazz that we should hearing more of, as I have also mentioned with Shannon Mowday. Music from South Africa, made by South Africans, reflecting who we are, where we come from, and definitely where we are going.

It is amazing how music brings people together, no matter what their culture, language or race; just the desire to be able to create an energy together using instruments is communication at its simplest. And these artists have a lot to say it seems!

Greg and Ashish have been playing together for many years in the east and north African ensemble Avaaz (together with Priyesh Bhana on bansuri), after which they also collaborated very successfully in the group Strings & Skins. Greg has also played closely with Wynand as part of the Mutant Harmony Trio (with Marc Duby on bass), and two of South Africa’s most well known guitarists Steve Newman and Tony Cox in the Aquarian Quartet.

South African Music Award winner McCoy Mrubata has played with the best of the best; Ringo Madlingozi, the late Sipho Gumede, Errol Dyers and Tucan Tucan’s Frank Paco to name a few. His SAMA’s have come for his 2003 album Face the Music (Best Traditional), and the 2005 album, Icamagu Livumile.

But as can be seen in the video I am featuring below, Siya Makuzeni, from the Eastern Cape, on vocals is a breath of fresh air! Enjoy it!

07/02/19 UPDATE: I just wanted to confirm that Vivid Africa will be appearing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Once the program has been released I will have more info, but I do know they will be appearing on Rosies Stage, which has a capacity of 1500 - so let's fill it Cape Town!

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


SA Blog Awards 2007

As South Africa's online community grows it is important to recognise the efforts of those folk out there that put so much into entertaining, informing and making South Africa's presence on the web bigger! The 3rd South African Blog Award nominations are open to the general public, from 12 February 2007 to 26 February 2007.

After 26 February 2007, the blogger panel will review the nominated blogs (taking into account relevance and quality) in each category and submit for their individual top 10 in each. The votes will be tallied and the top blogs resulting from this will go through to the finals.

Final voting will be open to the public from the Monday 5 March 2007 till midnight Friday 16 March 2007.

The awards ceremony will take place in Johannesburg on Friday 30 March 2007.

I haven't really been blogging long enough to expect anything in the form of awards, but I thought I would add the voting button (on the left) to see what kind of response it gets - never mind the fact that so many of the artists we are promoting could do with the extra exposure!

So click on the link, get your nomination activated, and let's celebrate our freedom of speech!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Kalahari Surfers and Friends for Red Bull

Yesterday we stuck our heads in at the final rehearsal in Cape Town between Warrick Sony from the Kalahari Surfers, Dizu Plaatjies (Ibuyambo), Lulu (Lungiswa Plaatjies pictured right with Warrick)), Xolani Gongxeka and Xoliswa Tom for another very exciting international project.

At a time when South Africa is once again making an impact on the international stage – congratulations to the Soweto Gospel Choir for their Grammy Award for Best World Music album – it is exciting to feel a part of marketing these exciting projects from our country to the rest of the world.

This South African world music ensemble had come together before setting off for Salzburg Austria today at 17h00, to perform at Red Bull’s Hangar 7, for three performances – on the 16th, 17th and 21st of Feb. They are going to be joined in Austria by artists from Zip Zap Circus, and will be collaborating for one spectacular Aerial Scarf act, bringing together all the South African influences.

They have been invited to perform there as part of the exhibition titled – Turbulence – Art from South Africa , with exhibits by artists Sanell Aggenbach, Conrad Botes, Nicholas Hlobo, Ledelle Moe (pictured left is Heads: Collapse II, 2004 - Concrete, steel, oil), Samson Mudzunga, Brett Murray, Johannes Phokela, Lyndi Sales and Joachim Schonfeldt (the exhibit lasts from 17 February to 11 April 2007). And there is some amazing material out on show!

We naturally are very excited to be involved with the mixing of musical styles again; the Kalahari Surfers electronic sound combined with traditional percussion, drumming and vocals, bringing together the old and the new.

All these artists have incredible experience with this kind of project, having done similar things with Juno Reactor, the African Dope crew, and other genre’s like Jazz, Gospel and . Add to this ensemble Inka Kendzia, who as VJ will be projecting African images and animation to the music, and I guarantee that the audience is going to be blown away! (I will be doing a feature in Inka as soon as she returns!)
This rehearsal video is a little dark and grainy, and the music is very much in its infancy stages, but it gives you a good idea of how these artists compliment each other. There is also a very interesting little interview with Dizu for French TV5’s Mondomix – and I will be getting some more footage later this week of other shows!

Take it easy folks!

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Bok van Blerk - De la Rey!

There has been quite a bit of talk recently about Bok van Blerk’s song about General Koos ‘De La Rey’, a track that pulls at the heart strings of the Afrikaaner nation by reminding them of the suffering endured at the during the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902), and what the leadership that a hero like ‘The Lion of the West Transvaal’ – that’s old Koos - meant to generations after.

There have been mumblings that this is a call for leadership today. A call to arms for the Afrikaaner nation. A desire for times that have past. ‘De la Rey’ has caused such a stir that it was even played on 5FM at peak times last week, something that would normally not happen on a mainstream popular radio station. But listening to DJ Fresh discussing it will callers afterwards, I was amazed at how many emotions this track stirs in people.

The Department of Culture issued a statement that they weren’t particularly worried about a call to arms, and that the song is merely a historical curiosity. If it was intended to be potentially subversive, then “those who incite treason, whatever methods they employ, might well find themselves in difficulties with the law”. Opposition parties immediately responded that the song is not nearly as subversive as ANC President Jacob Zuma’s constant attempt at a Pop Stars audition with his “Umshini Wami” (Bring me my machine gun).

I think the point is that the song has raised the profile of Bok, and well done to him for that – it’s difficult enough for artists to get airplay for their best material – and that goes especially for Afrikaans artists. Unless you're Fokokpolisiekar that is!

As for the message, well, I think most white pre-1994 Matriculants were used to hearing a lot of hero worship about the Boer leaders, and how they managed to draw the Brits into a war they thought would be a cup of tea. It was supposed to be over in weeks, but lasted three years, and here we are in 2007 still getting all touchy about it!

General De la Rey died from a police bullet on 15 September 1914, after having driven through a roadblock intended to catch the Foster Gang that had been on a crime spree for months. But it is also claimed that he was on his way to start a rebellion against supporting Brittan in the 1st World War... an interesting story of political skulduggery,terrifying crime, police blunders and a world that doesn't seem to have learnt much in 100 years...

Have a great week!

07/02/19 UPDATE: It seems that although I said a lot had already been said about this track, this past weekend Bok van Blerk was again making headlines; he was on the front cover of Rapport; there was a feature about the track on MNet's Carte Blanche; and it was even played on John Maythams show on Cape Talk. A very emotive issue it seems.

Ultimately, Bok van Blerk has opened a can of worms; worms it seems that were wiggling like crazy to get out!

We're going to hear it awhile longer, and with its catchy tune, it has every chance of growing into a major hit. I the process, as I said, Bok van Blerk is getting more attention than he would ever be able to afford!

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Friday, February 09, 2007


Mogwana Dance Troupe - Botswana

It’s an early, and very rainy, Friday morning. I have been editing video tonight of totally different genre’s; Shannon Mowday Shannon Mowday playing at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2005; some laid back footage of her with Jeremy Olivier and friends; and then suddenly the Mogwana Dance Troupe from Gaborone, Botswana. It’s a definite case of world’s apart, but then I am sure Shannon could even spice their shows up with her musical mind!

The Mogwana Dance Troupe is a group of artists dedicated to preserving the traditional dance of Botswana, and other area’s of Southern Africa. It’s not an easy project to do in these modern days of instant-electronica, where especially the youth, look away from their traditions in striving to be the coolest cat on the block.

Artists like Dizu Plaatjies, Amampondo and Madosini are the same artistic sort of archives; essentially keeping their cultures alive by allowing them to grow – against all odds; while artists like Thandiswa Mazwai really looked to connect the traditional with the modern sounds that she also felt connected to and the Kalahari Surfers keep traditional music as a solid base for very funky sounds.

But for a traditional dance group it is more difficult. Your audiences are more limited, and because of the amount of dancers that take part in dances, the size of the groups mostly prevent them from traveling too far from their home base.

The Mogwana Dance Troupe, started in 1991, has been fortunate having had the opportunities, in that they have been able to travel internationally and so been able to continue growing. They have created a DVD to promote not only themselves, but their traditions, and have toured countries like the USA, Canada, China, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland, picking up numerous awards over the years.

There is always such a warming rhythm to traditional celebratory dances; where you can’t help letting your head bop along like one of those dashboard doggies. In this video clip, the Mokomoto dance comes from the North-East region of Botswana, and is mostly danced at celebrations like weddings. Both the men and the women take part in it, and it’s a happy dance because it is the welcoming of the bride by the grooms family.

I hope what ever celebrations you get to enjoy this weekend, you’re able to enjoy them enough to want to do a little shuffle and bop, with fingers clicking! And make it safe!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


David Newton - Fleur du Cap comedy

We wanted to congratulate David Newton for his stand-up comedy show 'Defending the Laid Man' being nominated for 2 x 2007 FLEUR DU CAP awards: ‘People’s Choice’ award & 'Best Performance in a one-hander'.

He’s pretty chuffed as his year is really looking sparkly, with lots of shows planned, and even some time planned in London, New York and then an appearance at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in August– but I will have more information closer to the time!

What I can say is that 'Defending the Laid Man' will be in Cape Town for one night only @ Baxter Theatre Concert Hall on the 1st March. David says the evening is going to be a bit of a V.I.P. evening – so get your tickets at Computicket now!

His new show, ‘David Newton Live & Outspoken’ is going to be at the Obz Café, Observatory from 20 March – 14 April, and then at the Catalina Theatre in Durban from 8 – 20 May. This new show is going to beat his previous ratings, and they weren’t half bad themselves; the Cape Times saying “Sex has never been this funny”; and ArtSmart saying “What Dr Phil & Oprah could not achieve ‘Defending the Laid Man’ does: a healthy, open, extremely funny and wonderfully accurate reflection of the realities of sex and relationships”.

Cape Town will have an opportunity of enjoying a good laugh on the 1st of June when Live & Outspoken will be presented at the Baxter Theatre for one night only, for the making of the DVD. A pretty cool way to be a part of David’s success!

Here are some tame snippets from his DVD – Defending the Laid Man – Live at the Obz Café – I had to keep it tame, as this is a family show!

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Shannon Mowday - South Africa's joy of jazz!

This morning Shannon Mowday, one of the artists that we are very proud to deal closely with, popped-in to give us her latest promotional material. Having just been awarded the 2007 Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist award, we are going to be assisting her in raising her already impressive profile, and get another very high quality artist out onto the international stage.

We’ve had a lot of contact with Shannon over the years, having first met her when she was playing with one of Cape Town’s top party bands, Late Final, back in about 1997. Her brother Hylton was also always impressive, but unfortunately South Africa lost him to Australia, and though it has crossed Shannon’s mind to leave to seek her fortune there, she is finding that her roots are keeping her here, and playing a strong part in defining who she is.

She’s a tough cookie. And I have no doubt that she will find a niche in the market that demands her to be herself, because her talent can only fully be appreciated when she is able to create on her own, not just a musician who plays like other artists. She needs to be seen and recognized for her own style – and that’s what has now happened with this award from Standard Bank. Shannon has officially been recognized.

Not that she hasn’t before – judging by the quality of her gigs over the last few months, which include: performing with her group ‘Galumphing’ at the Cape Town Jazzathon (January 2007); as a soloist with top Afrikaans artists at the Huisgenoot Kaapse Jol at the Bellville Velodrome (January 2007); Jazz in the Pines – Norfolk Jazz Festival – Norfolk, Australia (December 2006), at the ‘New Morning’ Jazz Club in Paris with SAFRA – South African-French all female collaboration (September 2006); her band Galumphing appearing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Jazz Festival (August 2006); and performing as conductor of a National High School Big Band for Standard Bank Joy of Jazz (August 2006). She’s been a busy-bee, and got lots of exciting plans ahead for this year.

One of the problems we have as booking agents, who cater to a mainly corporate market, is that we have to deal with our client’s expectations and requirements, who also often have absolutely no idea about what is available or hot & happening at the moment – which is why they would come to us at Peak.

We advise them who we feel will best fit their requirements – but there is still very little experimentation and exploration going on out there; allowing artists to collaborate, mix-and-match styles or just play their own compositions. Clients often prefer the safe option of getting a band that can play the music they know and are comfortable with – thereby missing out on a possible mind-blowing experience. (We’re excited with FCB Impact 361 & Santam for confirming Arno & Gloria’s collaboration – talk about being hip!)

The music that our artists produce in this country is fresh and exciting; it is influenced by far more real human emotion and experience than most of the ‘pop’ artists who live in their little protected worlds in the heart of the 1st world; and is gaining international fans as more and more of them have the means of exporting their sounds.

Shannon hasn’t just taken it lying down. She has appeared at those bill-paying events, such as a day at the J&B Met in searing heat and a battlefield of youngsters in various stages of inebriation; or for the corporate client who thinks that a lapel-mike will be sufficient to amplify Shannon as she is expected to roam between the guests with her sax – but then her class is recognized at gigs like the Lord Mayors Banquet Ball, London with Concord Nkabinde (19-22 March), and watch out for her group Galumphing, featuring 2 Norwegian musicians, at the coming Cape Town International Jazz Festival (30&31 March).

In the meantime – here is an interview made by Red Pepper Production for the Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist award, to introduce you to one of our musical wonders and a name to look out for in future – Shannon Mowday. I will be featuring lots more snippets of the exciting projects Shannon is involved in – as I said – she’s on the ball!

(Pics by Suzy Bernstein for Standard Bank)

07/02/19 UPDATE: Shannon will be appearing on the Basil 'Manenberg' Coetzee stage at the C.T.I.J.F - a nice big venue with a capcity for 3500! See you there!

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Monday, February 05, 2007


Arno Carstens marries Mel!

I was standing in a queue at our local Spar on Friday when I glanced over at the magazine section and spotted the 8 February You Magazine, which I would normally NEVER do, but immediately bought the copy for the office! On the cover is a picture of Arno & Mel (nee Machattie) Carstens – newly wed at the idyllic Hakuna Majiwe Lodge, on the South East Coast of Zanzibar.

We’d been dealing with Arno’s office intensively over the last 3 weeks, as we are in hectic planning stages of the Santam gig where he will be collaborating with Gloria Bosman; and we didn’t have a clue! Nobody said a word! (Ok… Peak People: An inside Look certainly doesn’t have the budget of You Magazine I admit!)

We sms’d Mel immediately to congratulate her and Arno on behalf of the Peakers, and she replied that she was glad that it had been kept a secret, as they had the most awesome, private time together with family and friends., and that it was the best 12 days of her life… Arno did 'wash her sandy feet with water and rose petals'...

Len and I have been married for 12 ½ years in April – so I can only tell Mel that things just get better with time!

So South Africa – our most eligible rock bachelor is no longer eligible, and gentlemen… I think we need to all drink to Arno’s good fortune – because a very lovely lady has been scooped up, and swept away!

In honour of their most beautiful wedding, I give you a little clip of weddings that they can be thankful, definitely, didn’t happen at their – otherwise You would have seen it!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007


Koos Kombuis - Reconciliation Day

I got to the office this morning, and Denise had mailed me lots of newspaper articles about stuff that is going on around us at the moment.

One of the really funny one’s is how Robbie Wessels had to do the ‘leeuhardloop’, or rather the assholerun, to get away from a charging elephant recently in Chobe Game Reserve, Botswana! (Thanks to Beeld for this pic)

The elephant was obviously still cheesed off with him regarding his references to being to king of the jungle, and finding him some 50meters from the safety of his car, decided to show him who is really the boss! Robbie got to his car just in time!

‘Trek af jou broek en brul, as jij wil, solank jij net leeuloop’ (Pull down your pants and growl, if you want, as long as you just do the lion walk) – well, his pants would’ve got caught around his ankles, and he would’ve been squealing like a kitten if that elephant had caught him! Stupid!

There was also an interesting interview with Koos Kombuis on 24.com, where he speaks about and sings his latest song, Reconciliation Day, written the day that Taliep Peterson was gunned down.

I am sure that this track, like his 2006 hit Fokkol, is going to be another big download as many people understand Koos’ complaints, and feel the same as him about crime and grime in South Africa. This is why I wanted to show his interview.

I don't feel the same as he does, and am far more hopeful that things can only get better, but songs like this cause more people to sit up, think and then take action. I just hope it is positive!

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