Sunday, March 04, 2007


An African star - Vusi Mahlasela

We have been enjoying some time up the West Coast the last few days; 2 nights at the Beach Camp, in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve just outside Paternoster; and a few nights at a little self-catering in Jacobsbaai.

I have been watching the first phase of the lunar eclipse, during breaks in the clouds and when it's not pelting down rain, and was lucky enough to catch it almost completely before the next downpour moved in.

The moon was a stunning soft red colour, with just the slightest sliver of silver shining out, while very dark, ominous clouds crept in from the sea. Now - it is pouring again.

But this is a West Coast, where rain is very welcome. All around Jacobsbaai, Vredenburg and Paternoster the veld is a palette brown's. Such a stark contrast to the little white fisherman's cottages that cluster along the coastline. Small villages in wide open spaces.

The Beach Camp has been attracting all kinds of personalities to the West Coast; Stuart Taylor and Kurt Schoonraad were there as part of the Going Nowhere Slowly series; many Afrikaans musicians frequent the campfire and add atmosphere to the starry nights with their guitars. It has such an amazing relaxed allure, with the excitement of nature just 'doing its thing' around you. Turns swooping off the same rock 20 times a day, but never recreating the same pattern twice; the tide rising and falling quietly with just the smallest of waves to remind you its ever moving; and of course a sky full of stars to finish the scene at the campfire.

Speaking of stars - Vusi Mahlasela's new album Guiding Star, on ATO Records, is set to be released on 6 March! It's a follow up to his last highly acclaimed album, The Voice, and features artists such as Dave Matthews, Jem, Derek Trucks, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and other artists he has met on his world-wide travels.

Vusi is going to be launching Guiding Star in the USA at the end of March, including a 46664 benefit event in San Fransisco on the 29th, and then in May he will be appearing in Jamestown Virginia, at the America's 400th Anniversary 3-day festival.

Vusi is really focusing on breaking the US market with the success he has already had, and I think it is a great thing. Getting South Africa's name out there to the sticks, and making 'them Americans' that music is being made everywhere - and some of it is just darn good!

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