Saturday, March 31, 2007
CTIJF, the Artists & the SA Blog Awards
We were a little late in getting there as the traffic was pretty hectic, but once in the flow, the CTICC guys had full control and directed us perfectly! Sitting outside, still in the jam, we could hear Vivid Africa in full swing, and so they were our first stop of the festival.
Playing in Rosies, there was a disappointingly small audience; but then I am pretty biased about the line-up of the group, being a big fan of McCoy Mrubata, Greg Georgiades and Ashish Joshi. But I am so pleased that Siya Makuzeni sounds just as good live as she does on their demo DVD! Ashish blew me away with a solo on tabla; just the smallest movements from his fingers send out a stampede of sounds!
When you have so many choices, as you do every year on the two days of the CTIJF (hmm, why not stretch it out over three days with the same amount of artists? It’s sold out as is!) you have to jump around a little, and so we just caught the last half of the very, very funky Rudimentals! Man, was there an energy pumping on that stage?! Wonderful stuff – and a big audience too!
It’s got a ska, monkey-punk, reggae, Cape Town feel – but you don’t need the mountain to appreciate this! Zimbabwean lead vocalist, and Mr. Energy on stage, Teboho (Teboes) Maidza really got the crowd going – and I left pretty impressed!
After a doppie, and a bite to eat, Shannon Mowday was on the Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee stage with an international backing of Karin Hammar on trombone, and Hildegunn Øiseth (both from Sweden) on trumpet. Shannon is such a feisty artist, and so Burn, as they are known, is an amazing show of talents, and awesome jazz! Those three ladies are tight!
Shannon has been making a name for herself all over the world, so its great to be able to watch one example of her creativity in the flesh. Yes, budgets are the ball and chain of free creativity, so it’s tough to get groups like this together!
Shannon had the audience in full appreciation and stomping for more at the end!
It’s a jazz festival, ok, but who would miss a chance to see Grammy Award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo?
Kippies was chocka-block and the audience was in absolute awe of Prof. Tshabalala. Their acapella is a very quiet, and subtle performance, almost soothing to the soul, so its easy to become mesmerized. But as soon as the group would start a little dance to accompany the song – especially a nice long version of that famous ‘hey baby hey, hey beautiful girl’, the ladies in the audience got vocal! Ululating and throwing their hands in the air, the whole crowd would come alive and vibrate, with every Zulu style kick, and flash of those little white tekkies they wear.
They’re stars, so it’s great to have had them back in Cape Town again – the last time I saw them was at the 46664…
Robert, from MELT, had said we had to watch out for Yehya Khalil & his Egyptian Jazz Fusion band – and I am glad I listen to him sometimes! It was awesome!
Yehya Khalil, who great American Jazz legend Dizzie Gillespie described as quite possibly "the greatest percussionist alive", has his drum kit slap bang in the middle of the stage, dominating. On his left he had sax & bass players, and the percussion section made up of three traditional drummers. On his right was the lead guitarist, a keyboard’er and two players of a type of Egyptian zither. And together they created real fusion, with jazz jumping all over the back of Arabian tabla.
Yehya Khalil, who started the first jazz band in Egypt in 1957, is this funny little man, wearing peachy corduroys, braces with a short Father Xmas beard – but he knows his stuff! He gave us a drum solo that just showed his class, and would’ve been a master lesson to any drummer there! And also our final set for the night. We headed for home, exhausted, because you can only smile for so long!
Last night was also the 2007 SA Blog Awards (all the top winners at the bottom of the link page), being held in Johannesburg, and so I was very impressed to see that there was already a video of the evening posted by Missing Link - that’s what you call sharp!
I am so chuffed to see that Peak People is second princess (that’s the ugly sister, but to the lovely Verity and gorgeous Muso got first shpot) in the Music category. If I am wanting to find info on what’s rocking in SA – I go to see what The Muso suggests. I am also so chuffed for Verity, who I’ve known since her Chaos Casting days, because she has just gone out and taken her destiny by the short-and-curlies with her Lucky Packet Project.
Thanks has to go out to Jon Cherry for putting and holding the whole process together – it was an honour to be included, and to be on the same page as some top notch bloggers! But of course, I wouldn't have been there without the votes... humbled.
Hope you’re having a great weekend!
Thursday, March 29, 2007
SABlog Awards shout-out from BVK!
Mr Fat was telling me how they have been giving workshops, not only to schools and kids in their local communities, but how they have also been going out to prisons to promote Hip Hop as a way of life.
That might seem strange to some, but we get so much of this false gangsta rubbish from the US and UK, that BVK wanted to show that their way of doing things over the last 10 years has kept them on the straight and narrow, with goals, instead of dreams, to give them reason to get up in the mornings.
I am going to be going along to one of their next workshops soon to see for myself, and so will have more info about that then.
But now, apart from mentioning that BVK has a new album out Ysterbek (KMD009), I was pleased when Mr Fat got enthused about the SA Blog Awards that are going to be held tomorrow night. He understands that value of an alternative form of media, and wanted to send all the finalists a shout-out of support! (Thanks to Rowan from MyVideo for sorting me out! You can still see it here too MyVideo.co.za!)
Have a great day folks!
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I am a geeks ass!
This afternoon I went out and bought a new shirt. I wanted to look snazzy. After all, I would finally get to meet some of the Cape Town heavy-weight’s like the cerebral Mike Stopforth, and Dave Duarte who talked me through my first wikixperience, or the verbally luscious Maximllian Kaizen on whose words I often let my eye's go 4x4'ing, and maybe get so close to the now internationally renowned Teria Albertyn that some of her glitz rubs off… And of course, see for myself what all this Storm(hoek) in a tea-cup has been about.
So I set off for the Protea Hotel Victoria Junction with much fanfare from the family, all waving me off in the street. I was a little concerned, I must admit, that I hadn’t seen much chat about it amongst the local bloggers, and had written to Dave asking him if the venue was definite, but I set off anyway, looking suave, in my new shirt christened with its first spray of Jean Paul Gautier.
The lady at reception (naturally) looked a little perplexed when I asked her if she could direct me to the venue of the 27 Dinner where there would be about 80 people… Had she forgotten something? Who screwed up? So she phoned a few people, who had to ask other people, who too were all left feeling perplexed. By now that gnawing feeling that something was not right had eaten half my left leg, so I hobbled out the hotel, into my car and logged on to the site to just check if I had it right.
That’s when I noticed that the heading very clearly stated 27-4 Cape Town 27th April 2007 – ok, I had to count on my fingers to see where I was, 1 2 3 January February March April… and then everything fell into place and…
BWAAAAAH! HAHAHAHAHA - Sniff – WOOO HOOOOO…
BWAAAAAHAHAHA - (deep in-take of air) – WAAAAA HAAAA…
BWAHAHAHABWA - sniff – WAHAHAHA…
HAHA HAHAHA snot BWAAAH HAHA!
… this carried on for quite awhile, you must understand. I was quite uncontrollable, slapping my leg, clutching my tummy, squeezing out tears. During all of this, I had my windows open to keep cool, as I was suffering from a slight nervous clamminess, and so a local, strolling Green Point resident, sans a number of front teeth, heard all the commotion and arrived at my window.
When he saw that no-one was being murdered, he grinned, he cackled, and then ‘pissed’ himself laughing with me – which sent me into further uncontrollable snot-slinging-tummy-cramping laughter…
We laughed like this for a few minutes, me at myself and him at this crazy whitie, and then he turned and hobbled off, wiping the spittle from his shaking head. I started the car and headed for home. (Along the way I did relive the laughter a number of times; every time I thought I am just not worthy to even be a geeks ass if I can’t make sense of the date! But I had to keep the car on the road, so the outbursts were briefer.)
Strangest of all, and totally unrelated, was when I entered the hotel, that the first person I saw standing at the reception was none other than Arno Carstens. He looked confused to see me, but then he had been sleeping all day after just arriving back in the morning from a Springbok Nudies gig in the UK. Lenny had been talking and emailing and stressing all day regarding next months launch of Peace Breaker that we’re doing, and then I bump into him somewhere where I ultimately wasn’t supposed to be. Very strange.
But at that stage my sinuses were still blocked, and I hadn’t yet shared a blerry good laugh with another Bergie!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
There's sexy Jazz in the air!
He has a couple of our favourite artists on the billing (like Vivid Africa right), which is awesome as it is a high profile international festival. People do come from not only all over our country, but from all over the world. Even my father-in-law has made the trip in the past, being a big fan of the original North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. And we often host music journalist Wolfgang Koenig from Berlin, Germany, on the couch in our lounge.
They all come for the music. And a little bit of the mountain, the city, the weather, the people… but mostly the music!
Some of the artists we’re excited about are Madala Kunene, the Zulu guitarist whose CD we played in the theatre when Jasper was born; Vivid Africa with McCoy, Greg Georgiades, Ashish Joshi and that sassy vocalist Siya Makuzani; Concord Nkabinde the bass guitarist on Arno Carstens Another Universe; Ernest Mothle was has been a jazz man since the ‘60s; Sibongile Khumalo will be joining voices with Jack De Johnette in Intercontinental; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; the (Bruce) Muirhead Quartet; Shannon Mowday who is the current Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist of 2007; The Rudimentals; and Bev Scott-Brown.
But first tonight I am going to my first 27 Dinner… which means as of 18h30 tonight, I will officially be a Geek. (Angie loves that!)
Hope your day is as good as ours has been here in sunny Cape Town! It’s got a hot, sexy, jazzy energy about it! So get out there and enjoy!
Monday, March 26, 2007
Laugh at the Dog's Bollocks!
So here’s the release in the meantime!
The Dog's Bollocks
The buzz of the Grahamstown Festival finally in Cape Town.
An eccentric Eastern European professor rants about the history and propagation of the English language, its idiosyncrasies and etymological quirks.
Don't mind the prof's lack of vocabulary, ill-fitted costume and small suitcase. His exuberance will blow your socks off!
Isn't a Hamburger a person?
And a crayfish not a fish?
And a hot dog definitively NOT a hot dog?
For the first time Rob Murray (director) and Gaetan Schmid (actor-author) are putting their zany minds together to create explosive theatre.
A show with balls and brains.
The Dog’s Bollocks will run at The Kalk Bay Theatre from the 28th of February until the 7th of April. For bookings: 0732205430
Gaetan and his lovely wife Lara Bye (Vagina Monologues) were part of a physical comedy team with Alan Committie called Los Tres… and I was the fourth member who came in when needed.
One of our gigs was at the then Smirnoff Comedy Festival, at the Baxter Theatre. The thing is with a comedy fest is that everyone has an awesome time during the show, but then during the interval there is generally a flat energy as everyone is rushing to get drinks at the bar, or standing in a queue to get rid of the pre-show drinks. It’s an energy killer.
So Los Tres would come in and entertain before the show, and during intervals, to keep the atmosphere. One spoof was that we were The Horizontal Mountaineers – climbing the floor of the Baxter with ropes and clips and helmets; of course using all obstacles along the way – people, couches, railings, ashtrays, eventually summiting and enjoying sandwhiches. Another was the Crazy Doctors; charging up to people, flinging them onto a stretcher and whisking them away – to a free drink!
I love impromptu physical comedy; you just never know what is going to happen when you step out amidst your audience! So get the the KBT and laugh some!
Brendan Jury is no urban creep!
I have this habit of only really researching artists after I have met them – for some strange reason – but I suppose it has to do with the vibe I get from them as to whether I am really interested or not. I had the same when I met and interviewed Patrick Duff (Strangelove) a few years ago – it hits you like a klap to the back of the head when you realise that this person is actually a big star! And so with Brendan; on reading more about him online I discovered that he is also part of the Rock group Ohm (thats apart from the very successful New Porn, Urban Creep & TransSky with Warrick Sony of the Kalahari Surfers) – another project that Robert Trunz has had his fingers in! And I bet you thought MELT only did traditional music?
Ohm was a project that was described by Direction Magazine in March 2000 as, ‘Part frightened child, part rabid cur, the music snaps around your ankles, sometimes retreating, sometimes advancing; from world-weary rock ballads to an ambientesque drum’n’bass. At times I was put in the mind of David Bowie’s younger days, but not for long enough to be lulled into any secure places.”
As we do enjoy doing, we hooked Brendan up with Pops Mohamed after he'd said that he wouldn’t mind doing a collaboration together. One call and Pops was immediately keen to do something in the future – of course we will keep you updated!
We got this email from Brendan this morning:
I’m still feeling good after our gig with Gloria on the 17th.Its been a long time since I’ve felt so happy and warm and I must thank you and your husband for an incredible evening. I watched the DVD yesterday and I must also thank you for that-it is really an amazingly comprehensive document. I was so inspired that I composed for ten hours straight afterward.
Wow. That’s cool! Our DVD CD Combo – Freedom to Celebrate – isn’t out on the market yet, as we have just been too focused on gigd – but to know that someone like Brendan was so inspired by it, that he went off to create for 10-hours afterward… That’s special.
Hope the Autumn weather you having is as good as ours! Have a great week folks!
Friday, March 23, 2007
Were you ever caught by The Mimic?
I’m chuffed. My years there ignited my passion for performance, and its only because of the confidence that those school plays gave me, that I had the balls to become a street-performer, or busker. I was known as ‘the guy with the white face’ - as I was right, at the Linz Pflasterspektakel, in Austria 2002.
When I started many would ask me when I was going to stop buggering around and get a job, but I thrived on making a show out of nothing. I loved arriving on a good performance square, sussing the crowd, putting on the make-up, building a crowd to a high point of laughter and then soaking in the applause. And on top of that, the money was great!
For 7 years I followed the sun; travelling to Europe during our winters, and rushing home as soon as the tourists dwindled on the streets of Amsterdam, to the tourist mecca of Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront. It was a great lifestyle, but after Lenny and I married and set up our business, a life of living out of boxes was replaced with servicing the corporate market. I became a cushy street-performer. (Left - early days @ the V&A by Andrew Ingram 1990)
As Rouvanne the Mimic I would stalk the innocent ‘walker-by’ who would suddenly find themselves in the midst of an audience; the kind where everyone is staring at you and you have no idea why; while I am as close behind you as I can be imitating your every move. It was a very fast show; me flashing from victim to victim; with each showing their outward personal characteristics in an animated way; reading their body language and anticipating their every move.
I got to know people quite well, and would be able to get a reaction out of you, no matter who you were – laughter, embarrassment, fear, shrieks of delight, or that moment to shine in the spotlight! I describe my show as having the effect of shoving both fingers up your nose, after which you’d have to join my audience to get your own back with someone else. Strong emotions. And body language – it says so much! (Right - 'bottling or collecting money at the V&A)
I have retired from physical comedy, spending my passion promoting other artists in who I see the same burning desire that I had; to get themselves out onto the world stage, and to be remembered for making a difference out there, in someone’s life.
Artists for AIDS Awareness
For immediate release
What: Artists for AIDS Awareness
Where: Bellville Civic Centre, Bellville
When: Saturday, 14 April 2007
Entrance fee: R30 (thirty bucks... thats all!)
The Africa Institute for HIV/AIDS Management, a non-profit organisation linked to the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at Stellenbosch University, is hosting a music concert on Saturday 14 April at 20:00 in the Bellville Civic Centre.
The theme of the evening is “Artists for AIDS Awareness”. Through creative arts such as dance, music and comedy the aim is to continue making more people aware of their individual responsibility to help turn around the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa.
Singer, actor and performer Jimmie Earl Perry will be joined by the spectacular Dance For All Youth Company, songwriter and vocalist Verity (left) and her band, cabaret artist Godfrey Johnson, comedian Nik Rabinowitz, the Educational Theatre Company of the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, pianist Brendan Hollins and special guest spiritual singers Lana Rumble and Athena Williams.
It will be a one-night-only event, which will include the presentation of an educational bursary of R5 000, sponsored by INTEC.
Refreshments will be available.
The entrance fee is R30 at the door, or reserved seats can be booked through Bianca Farao
on 021 808 3006.
Something to do – for a good cause too of course – on a Saturday night.
I spent the day fishing off the coast between Gordon’s Bay and Rooiels yesterday, bobbing along in a rubber duck with Ian of Iraq, and thoroughly enjoying the awesome weather the Cape had – that was before todays rain scupperd our weekend camping plans!
I am glad to say that my faith in fishing along our shores has again increased, our boat having caught 5 different kinds of fish, and me being able to braai a couple of Red Roman for the family last night – ag, maa dis lekka innie Kaap (RIGHT - life is wonderful in the Cape!).
Monday, March 19, 2007
Arno & Gloria rock the house!
Santam had the stunning Elana Afrika (5FM) as MC & hostess for the evening, and as a surprise, we’d set up an awesome collaboration between jazz mama Gloria Bosman and rock n’ roller Arno Carstens & his band New Porn. Months of planning, negotiations, emailing back and forth, expanding & downsizing ideas, rehearsals between them (because Rockers don’t play no Jazz), until it was finally happening!
We’d booked in at Die Ou Pastorie in Somerset West, a 186-year old landmark that really served up the best old-style hospitality in 5-star tradition, which was totally due to the manager Hannes and his colleagues. We were a minor invasion, & he couldn’t be more accommodating! As Elana says – just call 0800-HANNES – because he made everyone feel looked after, cared about & most of all relaxed.
Santam was hosting 2600 of its employees in a moer-se (mother-of-a) marquee on the polo field at Lourensford Wine Estate, just up the road from Die Ou Pastorie, and it was truly massive! An impressive stage dominated, but because of the sheer size of the marquee, there were huge screens displaying live feeds everywhere to ensure everyone got to see the action – and action there was!
Arno & Gloria have already developed a good understanding of each others music, having performed a few times together in the past, so she was accompanied by backing vocalists (Asanda Bam & Phuthuma Tiso), while the New Porn set-up was Albert Frost on guitars & backing vocals, of course Brendan Jury on keys & viola, and Kevin Leicher & Warren Leicher (bass guitar), and Jerome Reynard (drums). And it was pure rock!
The hour set was a combination of the two stars hits, with Arno softening his persona to suit some of Gloria’s jazzy tunes, which is like the cheetahs at Spier – chilled, but still wild at heart. Gloria, who is actually classically trained, transform into a wild-child, accompanying Arno on hits like Hole Heart, Hiroshima, and Another Universe.
The gala crowd swelled to the stage and immediately transformed the atmosphere from a crisp corporate affair, to a swaying & screaming mass of concert-going fans! Goose-bump material; while Arno just thrived on the adulation and spurred them both on to perform their hearts out!
After we had all cooled down in the artist’s tent, we ended up back at Die Ou Pastorie’s ladies bar and were finally really able to let our hair down (and Elana could remove the double-sided tape keeping her assets from appearing on the front of Heat magazine!). We had an awesome night together, and I am sure some of the old Pastorie ghosts thought about packing their bags!
We’re going tour this Arno & Gloria combination; South Africa needs to see it. Hell, I need to see it again! It’s another classic case of how exciting South African music is in its diversity; and even more exciting when we mix and match (which is what we Peak’ers get off on), because music is a language that bulldozes’ over barriers; unites in its beat and gets the nation dancing!
I have uploaded a cool little video I took of their rehearsal on Saturday afternoon...
UPDATE: I'm struggling getting my vid's on for some reason... will solve it soon! Also, regarding the SA Blog Awards and the mini-war that has developed... I say nothing. Nada. Niks nie! But you can read a pretty good summationof who loves who in the South African blogging community here! Juslike those Gauteng'ers can vloek! Peace people!)
22/03/07 UPDATE: I have no idea how I forgot, but if you do manage to get to Die Ou Pastorie, Head Chef Glen's creations are absolutely stunning! Presentation, taste, and the wonderful 'after-glow' that one feels when sitting and enjoying your coffee - you know you had a meal of class!
Friday, March 16, 2007
16 March 1996 - An African Wedding
Its our second, as we were married legally in one of those terribly romantic Home Affairs marriages first on 31 October 1995, and then again the following year, except that this one was our spiritual union.
Neither of us are religious, and as Lenny had just moved to SA from the Netherlands, we wanted some kind of initiation into her new culture, and so we decided to have a traditional African wedding with elements from both Xhosa and Zulu cultures.
It was a stunning evening ceremony held at the old Scout house on top of Signal Hill; the sun setting over a mist covered Sea Point. We had Xhosa dancers, singers, Sangoma’s, Zulu dancers, who took us through a whirlwind of celebration.
The two groups, her ‘family’ and mine, dancing against each other, singing against each other, until our union, when everyone then joined together to celebrate as one family. And then we sat and drank Umqombothi to seal the marriage and thank of ancestors.
It was memorable day, and 11 years later it's wonderful to be able to look at my lovely Lenny, and know, that we’ve only just started!
Have a great day folks – on us!
EverestSA2007 - Inspirational!
The thing about John is that he had a micro-lite accident 11 years ago, breaking his legs and resulting in years of operations and the fear of not being able to walk, run or climb again properly. But the man is a determined one (or should I say a Brand!), and was up and training again as soon as he could.
He's done loads of Argus Cycle Tours, 2 Oceans Marathons, even a couple of Comrades Marathons are now jotted down on his CV. He and Mike had family and friends in Cape Town and East London in a flat spin when we didn’t hear from them while they were gallivanting on Aconcagua, located in Argentina. It’s the highest peak in the Americas, the highest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the highest peak outside of Asia. He has also been on Denali (The High One in the Native Athabascan language) American word for North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley in the mountain chain called the Alaska Range. John also climbed Mera Peak in the Himalayas. John, Mike and his sister Carol tackled Kilimanjaro - Africa's majestic mount! (Pictured left to right Mike, Ronnie, Andy and John)
Mike is one of those guys you see going up Table Mountain for a morning jog, and he's 'done' Denali and Cho Oyu (8201m) in Tibet in 2005.
Ronnie, from Kommetjie, has written some books about his inspirational experiences, having climbed four the Seven Summits already: Aconcagua in South America, Denali in Alaska, Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Russia, and then last year when he had to turn back from the summit of Mt Everest because of a faulty mask and the wind wanted to send him crashing – 148 vertical meters from the top. Juslike! Andy has reached the summits of Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua.
So now it’s back to Mt Everest – just this time with my uncle. Pretty inspirational. The group’s website Everest Expedition SA 2007 is going to follow their progress – I can’t imagine John sending any emails as he has just mastered the SMS! They are involved in some unique medical research , where it is likely that they will be recording the highest ECG curves ever taken - they'll be using an Event Recorder, which will measure their heart rate which info will be emailed to doctors at the base camp below. Higher up they might have to write it down... .
They arrive in Nepal on the 3rd of April 2007 and leave Kathmandu on the 7th of April for Base Camp, to begin their acclimatisation process. They hope to summit towards the end of May.
It’s pretty hectic stuff. Almost like – cool, but rather someone else’s family… But. He and Mike are putting their noses to the wind and following their dreams. Makes me want to do the same. Go South Africa! Go family!!!
John is a Brand, so you can be sure he’ll keep his shorts on! Ill keep you updated.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Making a difference to HIV/AIDS through music - Jimmie Earl Perry
Prof. Jan du Toit, also from the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS, came to present Jimmie’s material, a musical style that is almost gospel in that it sings praise, just not to God – rather to us as human beings I feel; praising all the potential that we possess. Jimmie inspires – his excellent vocal abilities are described as a "tasteful and cultured mixture of rhythm and blues, jazz, and gospel influences, while being soothing, soulful, and full of wisdom". And that they are.
Prof. Perry has been creating productions to educate the world community in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and he produced and performed at the gala launch for the Centre in February, 2005 and included South African artists, DNA Strings, Lize Beekman, Carina Bruwer, Abaqondisi Brothers, JL Zwane Siyaya, and Carte Blanche presenter Ruda Landman.
In the track I uploaded at MyVideo, Destination Africa, I hope, as Jimmie does, that it inspires you to be grateful about where you are; to be excited about how positive life is; and as Jimmie sings, he is ‘Going to say to everyone Peace, go well’; ‘Gonna make it there where I belong’; ‘makes me want to sing my song!’ Destination Africa.
Remember that this is a man who is in a line of work that should be so depressing; a line of work that brings him into contact with the saddest cases of people debilitated with HIV/Aids, and yet there are still stories of hope, of strength and courage, and ubuntu. Of people carrying on regardless of the obstacles, of people who don’t just want to be a statistic!
Instead of bitching and feeling like the world is against you, stand up and be proud; stand up and make a difference – don’t just be an audience member – get up and dance to the music, and make sure that you too are a part of our show – this South African show!
Make a difference, people. It’ll make you feel GREAT!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
1st Project @ ICC World Cup!
So our flag is fluttering away in a slight breeze, which is thankfully cooling us on another stunning Cape Town day.
A little later we are meeting up with Arno Carstens (I am not going to tell you where, as I would hate for him to be embarrassed by the fans climbing over him to get me to sign autographs… (Being a 2007 Best SA Music Blog finalist is a demanding position!) We are going to be discussing the Springbok Nudies Cape Town launch of their new CD Peace Breaker, as they have asked us to handle to production from this side – but more of that later!
Angie sent through a YouTube posted video this morning of the opening ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup, featuring 1st Project and the Drum Café.
The problem with it is, much to our irritation, that 1st Project wasn’t credited at all during their performance, with the commentators saying a number of times that the group appearing is the Drum Café.
1st Projects industrial drumming style is a totally different style of performance, and sound, to the more African based rhythm of the Drum Café – as can be seen and heard when they collaborate at the end of the clip below.
My highest number of hits on my site occurred in December last year after 1st Projects show was broadcast on MNet – everyone wanted a piece of them. Their energetic and bloody funky show Play It to Break It, also out on DVD, is making a huge impact here and abroad. They have been signed to a US based record label, and will be moving there later this year to get this new path of their career on the road. Very cool!
So here is their performance in Jamaica, but don’t forget to check out their other two video’s that I have presented here, and here.
Have an awesome day people!!!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
South Africans shining all over the world!
Go Protea’s!!! Go South Africa! (And go Jacques Kallis! Let's hope that his recent announcement of a new love in his life, Sharmone Jardim, is going to make him want to bat and bowl like a demon!)
Then, this weekend saw the 2007 South African Music Awards nominee’s being announced, and it looks like another great mixed bag of pap, wors, scones and chilli's!
Here are the nominee’s that we have been working with of late:
Simphiwe Dana - The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street for Best Female Artist, Album of the Year, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Best Vocal Jazz Album and Best Producer for Bheki Khoza for the album.
Vusi Mahlasela - Naledi Ya Tsela for Best Male Artist, Album of the Year, Best Adult Contemporary Album : African
Mafikizolo - Six Mabone for Best Duo/Group, Best Adult Contemporary Album : African, Best Pop Album : African, Best Compilation DVD for The Hits.
The Moreira Project - The Journey Vol 1 for Best Instrumental Album, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Moreira Chonguica and Mark Fransmar (The Moreira Project - The Journey Vol 1) for Best Producer.
DNA Strings - Live in Cape Town for Best Instrumental Album; Johnny Clegg - One Life for Best Adult Contemporary Album : English; Just Jinjer - Just Jinjer for Best Adult Contemporary Album : English and Best Rock Album : English; Chris Chameleon - 7de Hemel for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Afrikaans Best Alternative Music Album for Shine; and Kurt Darren - Lekker Lekker for Best Adult Contemporary Album : Afrikaans, Best Pop Album : Afrikaans, Best Dance Album : Afrikaans
Then there is Amanda Luyt - Deel van my for Best Adult Contemporary Album : Afrikaans; Rebecca – Umthombo for Best African Contemporary Gospel Album; Steve Hofmeyr - Laaities & Ladies for Best Kiddies Album: Afrikaans (and he is a SA Blog finalist... see the circles I keep!); Fredi Nest - Hey DJ for Best Kiddies Album: Afrikaans; and it's great to see Fokofpolisiekar – Swanesang for Best Rock Album : Afrikaans
Wonderboom - City of Gold for Best Rock Album : English; Danny K - This is my Time for Best Pop Album : English and Best R&B/Soul Album; Amor Vittone - Voluit for Best Pop Album : Afrikaans; David Fourie - Kom hier na my toe for Best Dance Album : Afrikaans; and because we don't like to compartamentalise, Shana - Iyo Londaba and Dj Cleo - Eskhaleni Zone 3 for Best Urban Dance Album.
We are very excited (especially Angie) that Best Live DVD sees 1st Project - Play it to Break it (who were ALSO at the opening ceremony of the ICC World Cup in Jamaica, but credited as the Drum Cafe... tut tut) is in the running against Ringo - Ringo Live 2, Hugh Masekela - Live at the Market Theatre and Nicholis Louw - Rock Daai Lyfie Live.
Best Compilation DVD also for Ringo - Love Songs and Oliver Mtukudzi – Wonai, while Ringo was also nominated for Best Producer for Ringo - Ndim Lo.
Many of MELT's videos were made by Best Music Video nominee Lianne Cox with the late Lebo's Brand New Day chosen.
For a full listing of all the 2007 South African Music Awards nominee’s, please click here!
Finally, although I must admit that I haven’t heard of them before, Gospel musics Dove Awards, are happening on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee USA. Di Rosen Productions from Cape Town has been nominated in the category Long Form Music Video of the Year: Alive In South Africa; Israel & New Breed; Israel Houghton; Integrity Music… pretty cool if you ask me…
It is definitely inspiring. Inspiring because its a time when the youth get lots of exposure of their idols, and hopefully those idols appreciate this power.
Last week I was at Dizu Plaatjies house, with my Dutch family and Pops Mohamed (left). That's where I got to see how much power a mentor has; younger kids would arrive at his rehearsal room at the back of his house, pick out what ever instrument they could find, and play their hearts out! They had been inspired.
Later on the adults would arrive, all students of Dizu’s traditional & cultural lessons, and show the younger ones how music is really made. It's all part of the process. The young ones looking up at the older more experienced ones, hoping that they too will one day be able to play with such ease and rhythm; hoping to be up there some day. Watch the progression...
Winning awards, or just being recognised for the efforts and passion that you put into your work; we all live in hope of that. So make sure you inspire someone today, tomorrow, when-ever, and let's support those who inspire us!
Monday, March 12, 2007
Dance like a dervish to Mercan Dede
We met at the Blue Peter’s mini conference centre as usual, and Mark immediately got us into a 30 minute meditation that he had experienced on his annual self-help holiday to the Osho International Meditation Resort situated on 40-acres of land outside Pune, India. We were blindfolded and taken through a series of pretty strenuous breathing, shouting and bouncing techniques that certainly cleaned out my system, leaving me feeling very refreshed and calm for the rest of the day.
Mark was playing some Indian meditative music, and while blindfolded and swaying away to the rhythmic sounds (Please Note: Rouvanne does not dance, so that's NOT what Mark was laughing about - right), I tuned into the traditional sounds; being a listener of traditional music by choice.
The earthy sounds that strings and hides and wooden instruments of old create can send a person into such calm places when your mind is feeling at peace; leaving you absorbent.
Of course, working with Pops, and his experience and continued appearance with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari, I know how music has been sending the Bushman into states of trance for thousands of years. Trance through music without the use of any hallucinogenic stimulants is quite common in Africa, unlike most of the indigenous peoples of South American, who make use of all kinds of exciting and very scary plants from the jungles of the Amazon. Last year I read Graham Hancock’s Supernatural, about his research and personal experiences across the world in reaching trance states, and the other world:
This is a book of page-turning story-telling with electrifying descriptions of the daunting journey that Hancock must undertake as he drinks hallucinogens with tribal shamans in the Amazon and self-experiments with DMT, psilocybin and the (West) African visionary drug known as Iboga – “the plant that enables men to see the dead.” (Left - Pops playing the Kora - also from West Africa)
Yikes… Good thing they weren’t serving that at our lunch at the Blue Peter!
Turkey’s Mercan Dede is a musician in the fold of our own Pops Mohamed, Busi Mhlongo, or Mali’s Salif Keita and Tinariwen, Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi; being one who introduces cultural sounds to the world, by appealing to the clubbers and trance-dancers in the big cities.
Mercan, who is now based in Canada and taking the Western music market by storm, creates haunting electronic sounds that are accompanied by traditional wooden flutes, or neys (Persian flutes from around 3500BC), to float in sweet, breathy melodies, while he has masters of the kanun (zither), clarinet, darbuka (hand drum), come in to spin magical, trance melodies. Mercan usually also has a whirling dervish dancer, spinning hypnotically in a form of dhikr – a rememberance of Allah dance that sends the dancer into a state of trance. Watch this little clip below:
Another culture at the other end of this great continent using dance and music to reach a state of bliss.
So instead of getting smashed on Smirnoff, or i-buggard on Iboga, get Mark to come and sort out some of your stress, stimulate a good working enviroment or just dance to some good music!
Better still… next time make it some South African music! Have an awesome week!
P.S. Though still pretty shocked at my inclusion as a finalist for Best SA Music Blog, I am pretty honoured to be up there with some top company, and have decided to see how other geeks tick by going along to the next 27 dinner – after all, the new iaminawe website and blog are going to need to be appreciated, so I had better get my mouse oiled and ready to click!
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Pops & Dizu duo! Traditional for the future!
Pops and Dizu are two of South Africa’s most special experts and internationally recognized musicians for the part they play in what I consider to be the continual evolution of Southern African culture.
Dizu, who got his career going with Cape Town’s favourite sons Amampondo, has soared since going solo and focusing on his own musical project Ibuyambo. Ibuyambo is a show-piece of instruments and insight into the cultures that made use of them, and of course sounds that are traditional, but always changing.
Pops too has been at the forefront of capturing, and nurturing indigenous sounds, and with his passion for jazz, and modern electronic mixes, giving these sounds a new life by introducing them to younger audiences. I mean Pops regularly appears with, and has recorded, the San Bushmen of the Kalahari, which when you combine with a sax, and maybe a DJ changes this music into the most ancient modern trance dance available to us! And apart from the Mbira, the Uhada and Urhube being some of Pops choice instruments, he is also South Africa’s only recognized Kora player!
Now imagine combining this knowledge; by fusing this experience and letting them be backed by a full orchestra…
It is just mind-blowing how this is going to take the world by storm!
Already this week there has been one request for a performance later this month; and there hasn’t even been a rehearsal! Pops went to spend the day with Dizu at U.C.T.’s College of Music, and was immediately asked to come back soon to present Master classes – which will also be a perfect platform for us to start marketing this very exciting duo.
Later yesterday afternoon, after a cool beer at Tiger’s Place in Langa, I was fortunate to sit and watch Pops tune Dizu’s new Kora from scratch (that's its case pictured right - not a coffin!). Made in the U.K. for Dizu, the strings had never been tuned, and Pops is the only man in the country who could do it. So listening to the first plucks that sounded like those street curio Castrol tin guitars, to Pops strumming that Kora as if you were listening to the angels playing your tune! It is so delicate and calming. Dizu said that if we hadn’t pulled Pops he would have probably played the whole night away!
While we were there, some of the kids were playing in Dizu’s rehearsal room. It’s a room filled with drums of all kinds, pipes, bags all lumpy with Kudu horns, marimbas and mbiras. A little later a few members of Ibuyambo, including Xolani who was part of the group that appeared at Red Bulls Hangar 7 in Austria, came in and showed us what they do in their spare time… make wonderful music!
Pops has gone back to JHB; but his energy is going to stay awhile longer – it is always so great to listen and learn from one so knowledgeable!
Hayta da Pops!