Thursday, May 31, 2007

 

EverestSA2007 Final Update - Coming Home

The Everest SA 2007 team of my uncle John Brand, my 2nd cousin Michael Patteron, and team leader Ronnie Muhl will finally be arriving at Cape Town International Airport at 19h35 tomorrow.

There hadn’t been much news of late after Mike & Ronnie had successfully summitted on the 23rd of May. John obviously didn’t have any way of communicating with home after he had gone down to Base Camp from about 7 800 meters, and from there to Kathmandu, and only after Mike & Ronnie were on their way down did updates come in.

The trio was reunited on Sunday the 27th, and have been spending this week relaxing and getting their energy back.

We’re incredibly proud of all 4 of the team; Ronnie, Mike and Andy van der Velde for reaching the summit, and John for going almost a 1000 meters higher than he had been before. If John (58) had reached the top he would have been the oldest South African to summit, but this time the honour had to passed on to someone else, and younger in the family with Mike (55) now holding the record.

Amazing stuff!

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94.7 Raw Rock Concert With Rapport

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about this concert, but got blixem'ed (in all my excitement) because it went out before the official press release and so I was asked to remove it. But I did keep it, and now that the official release is out, I can let it all hang out again!

Here’s the scoop! We have finalized the line-up for the 94.7 Highveld Stereo Afrikaans concert, in association with Rapport newspaper, to be held at the Sun City Superbowl on 23 June 2007! They have united some of the hottest names in the Afrikaans music industry to bring listeners a rock concert they'll never forget.

The artists that we are pleased to confirm, that have been booked through Peak, are ddisselblom, Nadine (below right), Amore Vitone (left) and one of our most successful Afrikaans artists, Kurt Darren while it has also been confirmed that Karen Zoid, Klopjag, and Joe F will be performing at this RAW Rocks Rude Awakening music initiative!

Afrikaans music has literally exploded in the last decade with hundreds of extremely talented musicians emerging every year. 94.7 Highveld Stereo commands a huge following among Afrikaans-speaking listeners - almost a third of its audience speak Afrikaans as their first language.

"We love our Afrikaans listeners and we thought this would be a great way to give them what they want," said RAW presenter, Jeremy Mansfield. "This is the first time 94.7 Highveld Stereo will be hosting an Afrikaans music concert. The talent that is going to be showcased is truly amazing and the team is very excited to be hosting this event!"

94.7 Highveld Stereo station manager, Ravi Naidoo, added that while the main objective of the concert will be to have fun, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Tapologo Aids Hospice in the North West Province and Abraham Kriel Kinderhuis in Johannesburg.

Nearly 40% of Rapport's Gauteng readers choosing to listen to 94.7 Highveld Stereo. Over the past two years Rapport has become more involved with the Afrikaans music scene, with more than 250 000 copies of its four 'Sing Jou Taal' CDs and two DVDs already sold. Therefore a partnership on RAW Rocks was a logical move for Rapport.

"We are very excited and are looking forward to being a part of one of the most memorable music events of the year," said Lani van Staden, Rapport Brand manager. "Rapport is currently experiencing growth in readership, and we would like to give something back to our readers. They are passionate about their Afrikaans music and the rock angle will also be popular among younger readers."

Denise has been working on this project for a few months now, and we are lucky to have been able to secure these performers. An artist like Kurt (left) is booked up months in advance, but this was an opportunity they couldn’t miss.

Kurt’s latest album Lekker Lekker, recently nominated for a SAMA, was put together by Kurt working closely with the hit-making duo of Marc Brendon & Don Kelly– they’ve had more than a fair share of success over the last few years, building Kurt’s brand into a very powerful profile.

So to get you all lekker lekker for a week full of music, here is Kurt’s Meisie Meisie (Girlie Girlie…)! I will be posting lots more info about the concert as the time comes closer!

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Just Jinjer’s June Jol’s

Its always exciting hearing about South African groups kicking some ass on the international music scene, and Just Jinjer is one of the hottest exports at the moment. Based in the USA for most of the year, the guys are doing gigs at some of the top clubs and music festivals, there.

They will be coming back to our shores later this year, and as we have said, they’ll be available for gigs in SA during November and December. (And we’re going to have some exciting news about this a little later, once all the contracts have been signed, and the deposits paid… suspense!)

In the meantime, if you aren’t lucky enough to be on this wonderful continent and the word ‘BUSH’ makes you want to be Canadian, as opposed to thoughts of Deurmekaarbos, Dwerg-blinkblaar-wag-'n-bietjie bos and Kameeldoring boom, then you can get excited about some of the gigs listed below:

JUST JINJER kick off June at LA's legendary Viper Room this Friday night (June 1st) at 11pm. This month, JUST JINJER will also be hitting up Toronto (for the NXNE music festival), Buffalo, and New York City's famous Mercury Lounge.

JUST JINJER @ The Viper Room
Friday - June 1 - 11:00pm
The Viper Room
[West Hollywood, CA]

JUST JINJER @ Thursdays At The Square in Buffalo NY
Thursday - June 7 - 5:30pm
[Buffalo, NY] Free show!

JUST JINJER @ The North by Northeast Music Festival
Saturday - June 9 - 1:00am
[Toronto, ON, Canada]

JUST JINJER @ NYC's Mercury Lounge
Tuesday - June 12 - 10:00pm
Mercury Lounge
[New York, NY]

Here is a recent clip that was featured on CNN:



But back at home, hierso innie bos, don’t forget that you can vote for JUST JINJER's "Till I'm Done" on 5FM: Text your vote as many times as you like and watch JUST JINJER's latest single "Till I'm Done" conquer the charts!

SA residents text: Hi5justjinjertillimdone to 33345

US residents text: Hi5justjinjertillimdone to +27 33345

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

 

The secrets of Home Affairs revealed!

Here’s something to keep the chilly weather at bay! A new comedy called Brother Number is opening at the Kalk Bay Theatre tonight, and running during the latter part of every week (that’s from Wednesday to Saturday…) until June 23.

Featuring Rob van Vuuren (from the wonderfully nice T*M*A*S), James Cairns and Jaco Bouwer, Brother Number explains for the first time why it takes so long to get an ID document – and it took a lot of convincing to get them to divulge this nationally sensitive information.

No matter how much Minister of Home Affairs, Mrs. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, or her deputy, Mr Malusi KNOWLEDGE Nkanyezi Gigaba, protest, the time has come to let the world know as to why these talented brothers will probably never be allowed to leave the Home Affairs building.

If they did, we would probably end up with a dual presidency – Brothers in Arms!

So – just to make life easy for you, and because we do enjoy sharing this most wonderful and nice information, I would suggest getting to the Kalk Bay Theatre! At least before the Scorpions arrive to drag these prodigies back to the room from where they came.

VENUE: Kalk Bay Theatre, Kalk Bay
DATES/TIMES: Wednesday to Saturday nights May 30 – June 23 at 20h30. Doors open 18h45.
TICKET PRICE: R90 to R200 depending on meal ordered.
BOOKING: 073 220 5430 / www.kbt.co.za / 021 788 4936

Don’t forget, this piece was directed by Jaco Bouwer, winner of the prestigious Fleur Du Cap award for Best Director, and one Wilhlem Snyman once said him to be “one of the most exciting and innovative talents in the country”. Not bad. Then, of course, it is best that I quote the Cape Times, who said that “In his presence, one’s senses aren’t quite one’s own anymore”, and they could have only been talking about Rob van Vuuren, while capetowntoday.co.za said that James Cairns “flawless interpretation of his characters is astounding”.

So has your ID document been ‘lost in the post’, have the queues lengthened since you were last at Home Affairs? The answers to all those questions that have puzzled you in the past will be provided at this show, and more – you can even have a meal!

PS – Home Affairs is in abit of a tizz since the brothers have taken this project on, and so have set up a website where you can check your ID, Passport AND marital status… I kid you not!

So please go and see the show so that the brothers can be safely delivered back to their department – it’s for the better of our country, and all those people who don’t know if they are married or not! And of course, it's the right thing to do!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

 

Fokofpolisiekar and the dancing fat lady

I had mentioned earlier that I thought that the Fokokpolisiekar’s were going to be calling it quits, and following their own directions, and that after what was probably their most successful year.

Today Denise sent through this article from 24.com, in which they not only touch on some of the local and international skinder, but also had this to say:

Contrary to popular belief, (and recent press statements) premier SA Afrikaans Rock act Fokofpolisiekar are set to play a few more shows before going their separate ways.

Lead singer Francois van Coke has already been performing extensively as a solo act, gently numbing the pain of grief-stricken fans throughout SA.


Be sure to catch them at these shows:


9 Aug 2007 - Oppikoppi (Northam)

10 Aug 2007 - Coca-Cola Dome (Johannesburg)

11 Aug 2007 - Velodrome (Bellville)

29 Sep 2007 - OppiAarde (Potchefstroom)


Our only question is this: are they going the way of the Nude Girls? Who released an album called The Fat Lady Sings, but didn't actually disappear. It turned out the Fat Lady would sing anytime the price was right.

Some groups are better left un-together, but I didn't hear anyone complaining that the Police got on stage with each other earlier this year?

So if the fans still love the Nudies, and if Fokokpolisiekar want to get together again in 5 years time to play Die Dik Dame Dans, so be it then! Arno is doing very well with New Porn, and I am sure that if Boo ever had to get back together again, Chris Chameleon's solo success would certainly help sell tickets and albums!

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Promoting South Africa internationally

Over that last few months Lenny has been making the most awesome contacts, and last week one of these people, Andrew Cerino pictured right, came and spent a night with us to talk about some exciting projects that he is involved in.

Andrew, who is Head of Production of the film company Panthera Productions in Dallas Texas, oversees a library of 12 awards winning wildlife films, thousands of images and stock footage (here are some samples). Since he and a partner started this venture in 1994, his passion for South Africa has developed to a point where he wants to make a difference here by creating projects that’ll promote S.A.’s talents to the rest of the world.

Andrew has been making films in South Africa for nearly fifteen years and have developed a real passion for this country, its people, and its music. He says that African music as a whole is not well known in the States, despite the popularity of dated album's like Paul Simon's "Graceland" featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and groups such as Johnny Clegg & Jaluka, and so he wants to change this.

Andrew is producing a feature-length documentary on South African music, as it’s his desire to have an international audience fall in love with South Africa and its musicians, and so we will be helping him find the right combination of artists and music to make this happen. He intends to bring the artists featured in the film to a new and broader audience worldwide, first through a theatrical release and then television – which we think will be awesome!

We are discussing a potential soundtrack album spun off from the film which would undoubtedly do very well, as was the case of the "Buena Vista Social Club", and with some of the contacts he has, such as with Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Bill Clinton among others; he really wants this to go far.

Just after he arrived at our offices (left - the girls working on a standard international greeting...), he wrote the following:

“I just arrived in Cape Town and am at the house of some fun, kooky people. This a couple that I met over the internet, having contacted them about a musician I was trying to reach. I started talking with this guy named Lenny who was very nice and very helpful. When I told him I was coming to South Africa, he insisted that I come and stay with him and his husband. Yes, his husband... and no, they are not gay. Lenny, it turns out, is a woman! hehe. Anyway, they run a record / performance company, and I am sitting in their house / office right now and it is a hoot... utter chaos. Two dogs, five cats, employees, and as near as I can tell- some sort of circus performer. Good times!”

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

 

Shannon Mowday on tour!

We haven’t seen Shannon Mowday since the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, where she gave an amazing performance on the Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee stage with an international backing of Karin Hammar on trombone, and Hildegunn Øiseth (both from Sweden) on trumpet.

But the wonder that email is, delivered this little note to us this week:

Hope you are well. Am in Australia at the moment-back on Thursday and then all heel breaks loose. My festival dates are as follows:

26 June 04 July
- Grahamstown Jazz Festival (Am playing with that Dutch pianist, Jeroen van Vliet)

08-12 August - Silde Jazz Festival Norway
20-25 August
- Joy of Jazz festival - Joeys (workshops and performance)

06 October
- Leipzig Jazz Days Festival Germany

22-30 October
- Washington/New York standard bank conference in Washington but staying on a week to check New York.


Have got a horde of material from here to give to Rouvanne, so would be great to hook up when I get back


More info as we get it!

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South African Blog Roundup

Big Blog Directory and SA Rocks are co-hosting a South African Blog Roundup and I am participating…”

1. Why does South Africa “rock”?

South Africa rocks because this country is in the first phase of a new period of history.

No learning curve is without accident, speed-wobble or hot-headedness; the point being that it is a learning curve, and we have to deal with issues that have always been avoided in the past, in new and creative ways. But the lessons we have learnt, and those still to learn, will make us stronger of character, determination, and hopefully give us a more focused will to ensure that we create our own destinies.

SA rocks in that within one generation people have the ability of rising out of poverty and creating wealth through entrepreneurship & ingenuity; where the child of a domestic worker can go to university, where a goat-herd can become president…

I want to be a part of a rocking South Africa because my heart lies beneath the vast expanse of this blue sky; it travels fondly over the dusty roads that lead to nowhere and back; it beats to the ever-increasing urban-groove that is waking a giant of the future; it soars over the peak’s and ridges, swooping through the lush valleys and smokey townships where mass-action spurs the grand-mothers, the social workers, the street-side sellers, the neighbours and families to reach out their hands in ubuntu; where children smile together because they have hope; hope that we will all follow our hearts, to make this the place where we all want to be.

South Africa rocks, and I am going to carry on rocking with it!

2. Why do you blog?

I blog because I am passionate about being part of an age where information can get to the furthest reaches of humanity in moments. I am able to give voice to thoughts, opinions & make suggestions for change; to provide a platform on the world stage to those who do not have the means; and to become part of a broader international community that shares for the good of that community.

I blog because I want to make a difference.

3. What are two of your favourite posts?

Is SA Rocks bullshit - A Post By Ian Gilfillan
This post sums up so much of what I want to say, but often can’t, because my arguments don’t want to stand tallest-to-shortest!

Mavis is clearly on drugs
I think Mavis must be a favourite local comedian – telling her buddies of how she mind-f**ked her boss for the day – and that she will ultimately release a book titled “How I got Seth committed”.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

 

Africa Day: Take the first step

Happy Africa Day! And it’s a stunning start to the weekend in Cape Town! We have got the most incredible blue skies and quite a pleasant temperature, which really opens your eyes as to why we are so lucky to be living down at the 'bottom' of the stunning continent!

We have much to be thankful for.

I was in Camps Bay this morning, taking part in my old high school’s Founding Day assembly, with a number of ‘old’ boys & girls who had been invited to celebrate the schools history, and its future. I got to chat to Andrew Ingram, Chief Photographer of the Cape Times and Andrew Mac from Flat Stanley (keep an eye out for some vid coming soon!) and a few others, before we sat on-stage; staring at the future, staring at us.

We were played some Jazz by the school orchestra, an amazing violin piece by a Grade 9 pupil, Anele Mhlapo, and listened to a talk by Nature Conservations old-boy Dalton Gibbs, and then ended off with our old school song,

Song of the wind in the pine tree’s,
high on the mountain crest
Song of the waves of the western sea
Where the sun sinks down to rest…

It brought back many memories.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to share the positive memories that I have, but good or bad, being able to look back to where you have come from should give you the confidence to know where you are going! Nothing has to be the same as it was, if we choose to make it different. And as I always say, you can't go forward if you don't take the first step.

So – to celebrate Africa Day – I hope we all think about how we can make a difference; starting with ourselves, our neighbours, our communities, spreading outwards until a wave of change ripples over the entire continent.

This is Africa's century.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

 

EverestSA2007 Update 12

Mike Patterson (my cousin) & Everest team-leader Ronnie Muhl summitted Mount Everest at around 02h30 yesterday! I’ve been in bed with flu, and so this announcement might be a little late – having been on the front page of the Cape Argus yesterday afternoon, but it is still an achievement that needs to be celebrated!

We received the following sms from
Mike's wife Chez:

Mike called @ 02.45 from THE TOP OF THE WORLD – he sounded Gr8+laughed wif his SHERPA when I said hug him frm your FAM+a thumbs up frm SA+he gave a good chuckle when I said he is SA’s new no 12+OLDEST @ a record age of 55yrs-wind died down+Ron did his summit about 10 mins ealier, MAGIC MORN

Then on the EverestSA2007 site there is the following:

Report from Glenda Muhl

Ronnie, Mike and sherpas (Lhakpa Randu and I don’t have the other wonderful man's name) summited at 2:30am our time today. We had a sleepless night waiting for the call. I am so proud of their achievement - the 11th and 12th South Africans to stand on top of the world and Mike at 56 years, the oldest South African to be there. Ronnie could not speak for long but I detected a lot of emotion in his voice.

The conversation went something like this: "It's been a long haul, but here I am - it's incredible Glen - tell the children... here comes Mike - I haven't seen him since the 2nd step - he will be with me in about 10 minutes - I have to go - need to put my oxygen mask back on again....."


Mike called his wife a few minutes later saying, "I am top of the world" with the voice of Lhakpa Randu cheering in the background.


We are still waiting to hear of their safe decent; including more information from my unc John, who should be waiting from the team down at Base Camp.

Coming down is considered to be almost more dangerous, than the going up – I suppose the elation of pushing towards a goal is very energy sapping, while the downward trip is a battle of strength and will. So we are looking forward to news.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

 

Louis Mhlanga to the USA

One of South Africa’s favorite musicians, Zimbabwean born Louis Mhlanga, has announced dates for his North American tour:

July 5&6: London Fest, Ontario
July 7: Montreal Jazz Festival, QC
July 13-15: Halifax Jazz East, NS
July 19: Santa Monica Pier, CA
July 20: The Mint, CA
July 21: Hothouse, IL
July 22: Evanston, IL

Louis' music has been described as breezy, but in the heat of Africa, its meaning is closer to the sensation of cool relief, and happiness that you feel, than just a waft of air that invades your space. Louis is a master! And the better his company, the more masterful he becomes!

Some of the names he has worked with include Orchestra Baobab, Oliver Mtukudzi, Hugh Masekela, King Sunny Ade, Busi Mhlongo, Stef Bos, Thandi Klaasen and Andy Narell - which is quite a variety of musical styles too. But that's because he doesn't like to fit into just one little musical box. He loves fusion - which is why we love him!

Here is the track Mari Hakuna off the album World Traveller.



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EverestSA2007 Update 11

In what looks to be a record year for most Mount Everest summits (there have been about 362 so far and the record is 486) we haven’t heard much from the South Africa team last few days. The team, excluding Andy van der Velde who summitted early on the 16th, were preparing their assault and had had computer problems last week, so no email.

This morning Ronnie had contact with KFM from their camp at 7,800 m, and said that my unc, John Brand (right), had gone a little moggy due to suffering from altitude sickness, and had been escorted by a Sherpa to a lower altitude. I think that this is it for John, and that his quest to summit will have to be put on ice for awhile.

We are very proud of him, for having gotten so far, but would prefer it if he just got his ass down to where there is an abundance of thick wonderful air.


I have been following a number of expeditions up the hill, and heard very similar stories that do strengthen the worry. The Discovery Team wrote about Gavin Bate, and how just a few hours of oxygen at Advanced Base Camp (and a cuppa tea) transformed a man from a wreck near the brink of death, to a very grateful rosy-cheeked mountaineer.


Cousin Mike & Ronnie still feel positive about their own summit plans, and I am sure we will hear more as it happens. Today was the day they had hoped to reach the top of the world, as there has been a pretty good weather period, and this has allowed a number of groups to achieve their aim.


Our thoughts go to the families of those who won’t be going home this year. Already there have been a number of deaths (5) – not that this is a deterrent – on what is quite a busy season on Mount Everest.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

 

Big music festival for 2008

I received my regular Bizcommunity newsletter this morning, and was pleased to read about a big music festival being planned for the beginning of 2008, The Zandrivier Music Festival. Here is the press release:

Zoom Advertising has been appointed official marketing partner for what is already being dubbed ‘THE event'. A massive music festival, the first of its kind in South Africa is set to rock the country in February 2008 and MTV Europe Foundation has signed up as one of the festival's global media partners.

Featuring more than 200 bands over two days on seven different stages, the festival takes place on a beautiful farm at the highest point in the Western Cape. Twelve major international headline acts, a line up of international DJs and a huge number of local artists are appearing at the Zandrivier Music Festival. MTV will broadcast a documentary about the Festival as well as cover the event live as it happens.

“The Zandrivier Music Festival presents a new and exciting platform for sponsors to reach discerning and affluent audiences who prefer to discover a brand rather than have it sold to them.”


Around fifty thousand tickets will be sold to the event, which has widespread appeal because it offers so much including an enormous range of music genres, food, drink and retail villages and so on. With more areas of entertainment still being finalised, the seven stages confirmed so far are:


• The main MTV stage – international headliners
• Dance Arena
• Jazz/Folk
• Latino

• Future Shock

• Reggae

• New Bands Metal/Rock


The Festival is being organised by Lily UK, which has been involved with the Glastonbury Music Festival in the UK, Exit in Serbia as well as MTV's road shows and other mainstream music events around the world.


Twenty per cent of the festival's profit will be ploughed into projects to assist rural communities and provide sorely needed education and life skills, especially among young people. The Zandrivier Trust has been established, the trustees of which are political, entertainment and industry VIPs.

Let's hope they are able to build it into a successful annual event, because we just have far too few quality music festivals in South Africa, and I have seen far too many good idea's hit a speed-wobble before the race has even started!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

 

Urban Zulu queen fights alone

Busi Mhlongo is ill. And very few people seem to care about it. Suffering and recovering from her second bout with cancer, it was reported in this weekends City Press that she has just had her right breast removed, but remains positive about her recovery.

Busi is an artist that deserves love and respect. Her life has been dedicated to making music from the soul of South African people, and every time one of her tracks is played around the world, listeners are touched by very powerful emotions.

She has had a tough life, having to make choices during her time that sacrificed spending time with her daughter, Mphumi, not being with her husband Early’s (a drummer for Dollar Brand), and being everywhere in the world, except in the one place she could home. Home.

I have said before of how Busi is the one artist in the world who has truly moved me when I stood transfixed at one of her sound-checks. There is very little music out there that has the power, the space-filling ability, and most of all, the ability to move audiences, than Busi’s contribution to our collective culture.

Urban Zulu is still one of my favourite CD’s, and even though I feel that her album Freedom sounded like it had been recorded in a tin-can, you still know that this lady is a gem.

Busi is ill, and the music industry needs to help her. Pitso Molemane, spokesman for her label Chisa Records said, “Honestly, we are not aware of her problems. It is news to me. If that is the case, then as the company we will get involved to ensure that she gets well. She is our artist and we love her and wish her a speedy recovery.” Yes. We all wish her well, but I wonder what the label will do to “ensure” she gets well.

Ukhozi FM manager Welcome “Bhodloza” Nzimande said in the article that the station had under-taken to raise funds to pay for the escalating medical bill that has already reached R500 000, and Busi is surviving on hand-outs.

She is being treated on a radiotherapy machine on a daily basis; she’s lost lots of weight; is losing her hair and battles to breathe… but Busi says that she isn’t going to die yet, she just needs to get through the problems that her treatment is causing.

Busi Mhlongo needs our love (and money!).



I have featured this vid before - Uganga Nge Ngane (You're playing around with this child) from Urban Zulu BW2118SA - but you can never get enough!

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EverestSA2007 - 1st Summit!

Andy summits Everest!

We received an sms early this morning stating that Andy van der Velde summitted Everest during the night, and that he arrived safely at Camp 4 @ 5am this morning!

We are very happy to hear that he got there and back safely, and that he is the first South African in 2007 to stand on top of the world!

More as we get it!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

 

SA is alive with music!

One of the things that I have always told people I meet, and especially foreigners who enquire about the state of South Africa, is that we have so many possibilities here that no dream is too big and small (right - like the San appearing in clubs)

We haven’t got all the answers, and there are still so many solutions to be worked towards, but that doesn’t mean that South Africans will give up. We have a big job to do in this country; so I feel that we might as well enjoy doing it!

I wanted to present a little clip given to me by Pops Mohamed, who is currently performing in Oslo, Norway, for which he created the music. It is from the S.A. Alive with possibilities ad campaign, where Pops created the soundtrack using all the day to day sounds that fill the air on our streets. I really felt uplifted after watching it!

Hopefully you’ll feel the same!


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EverestSA2007 Update 9

The big push is on! The South African team, which includes my uncle and cousin, are making their big push for the summit in the next week, after having rested and finished their acclimatization lower down the mountain. Now its a case of watching the weather, and waiting!

John got to Base Camp on the 10th, reuniting the team after their break at Shigar, and the team set off immediately with a whole team of porters to carry all their personal gear, and they covered the 11km’s to Intermediate Base Camp in 4 hours.

From IBC, they got caught in a big snow storm that lasted through the night, but didn’t stop them from reaching Advanced Base Camp after another trek of just under 5 hours.

We got an sms from Mike to say that their computer had crashed, so they have been having to get their weather reports from other camps, but that they were all feeling great, and that they are looking forward to just the right weather window to start their summit push.

On Sunday the 13th, after much debate, Andy decided that he would make a summit push with Lima Sherpa, who has 6 summits behind him, but that he would go without the rest of the team.

Ronnie, Mike and John must have felt that there wasn’t enough of a weather window, which is why they have decided to stick it out a bit longer – I suppose that they aren’t as young as Andy, so either experience has held them back, or they feared that they might hold him back – either way, Andy has joined about 150 other climbers that are going for it.

So – our thoughts are with him. The last I had heard (07.05.10) some 26 climbers had reached the summit, so things must be getting very busy on the mountain!

If Andy has separated from the rest of the group, I don’t know where the SA record stands – they were going for the most South Africans on the summit at once, and the oldest SA member (yip – that’s my unc John who’d have that honour at 58) – but at this stage, the most important, is to make sure they all get down!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

SA Music shouldn't be 2nd best!

What happens when you are passionate about putting projects out into the public; have willing and able artists to create an awesome event; but can’t get sponsorship, because you’re not headlining an international act?

Some years ago we hosted a music event called Ubuntu Nights; an evening of music, colours and passion; hosted in an intimate setting, we wanted to bring the artist off the stage and into your life. To create an atmosphere where we would be able to instigate and propagate inter-racial collaborations, not only on the stage, but out in the audience too – where Cape Town society still needs it so badly.

We featured Amampondo & Freshlyground (left), a DJ/VJ keeping the groove alive before, during and after, and a pretty mixed jar of M&M’s in the audience – for our first event. It was an awesome success, leaving us glowing for days afterward.

It just the kind of event we were hoping for, with great feedback and lots of business cards, but after all the costs had been taken care of Len & I went home poorer. Hell, we did it, we loved it – and loved the great music that was made!

We’ve grown up a lot since then, and now we make sure that things happen! We’re passionate about getting artists like Amampondo (right - Mz, Brian May & Len @ 46664), Busi Mhlongo, Dozi who is like an Afrikaans Zulu, our wonderful friend Pops Mohamed, Shannon Mowday, Arno and both his groups SNG & New Porn, Chris Chameleon who has given us Monkey Punk and adult contemporay pop in English & Afrikaans, Gloria Bosman, and all the other awesome musicians that make our cultures so exciting, out into the market of other cultures.

That’s what it is – it’s a new integration, through the beats and sounds that make this country rock.

Fuse it together and life gets exciting; put a single stringed Uhade slap bang in the middle of an electric duo of modern strings; have north Africans sounds dancing to Zulu rhythms; the San performing the most ancient trance dance today; – isn’t that what life’s should be about? Mixing more, learning more, feeling more?

Last weekend, at a local in the area, we sighed into our seats for a nightcap and were astounded to be surrounded by people dancing to music that my mother danced to at that age (she’s still young and gorgeous! Love you mom!). I’m just worried we’re preconditioning another generation into thinking that American & British music is still the only belle of the ball, while there is so much funky stuff right at our fingertips now! (Amampondo left @ Green Point - 46664)

So, where we need to be now in the wonderful country of ours is to support our artists - they deserve it for making our lives here more understandable. South African musicians are representatives of who we are as a people.


At the end of it all - we are just a jar full of M&M's.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

EverestSA2007 Update 8

There was an article in today's Cape Times, quoting from the newsletter that was sent out by the South African team that are preparing to tackle Mount Everest on or around 21 May - depending on the weather of course!

I won't repeat all that was printed, or in the newsletter, except a few highlights, such as:

07/05/05 Just before we left Advanced Base Camp we met Greg Child, the famous Australian climber and then on Saturday we met Conrad Anker, who was the climber responsible for finding the body of George Mallory on the slopes of the North face in 1999.

In Greg's latest piece he mentions Wim Hof - the Hollander who is attempting to summit Mount Everest in a pair of shorts... Kaaskoppe...die zijn gek! But good luck to him anyway!

07/05/06 John arrived in Shigar this afternoon from Base Camp and he is well and happy that he has completed his acclimatisation process. It is fantastic that he is back on track.

07/05/07 Ronnie, Mike and Andy drove back to Base Camp, while John stayed on in Shigar for a few extra days’ rest. Ronnie’s back is perfectly healed and everyone is well-rested and ready to tackle the next two weeks - the final push to the summit of the ‘Mother Goddess of the Universe’ Junko Tabei the first woman to climb Everest had this to say, “Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top. It is the willpower that is most important. This willpower cannot be bought with money or be given by others, it rises from the heart.”

We are all critically aware that getting to the summit is optional but getting down is mandatory.

Marcus Aurelius once said, “What a small portion of infinite and immeasurable time is allotted to each of us. It is so quickly swallowed up by eternity. How small is a clod of earth on which we crawl about. Remember all these things and consider nothing great but this do what nature bids you and suffer what life brings.” Warmest regards to each and every one of you.

Yesterday I was forwarded an sms that said the following:

The team met with their Sherpa's this afternoon to discuss the summit plan. It went well and everyone is very excited. Tomorrow is the last day at Base Camp, the team will do final weather updates in the morning but there are some big storms heading toward the mountain within the next few days/weeks. The plan is to get to ABC and wait for good weather.


The sms came to me via my mother, who received it from Shez, wife of cousin Mike Patterson... so I can only presume it was him. As mentioned before - John isn't that great with technology!

Its getting tense on the home-front as we listen and wait, from afar.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

 

Bullard's bollocks!


In the Sunday Times yesterday, David Bullard has a stab at the South African blog community, and tells all about how he used to play the air guitar, but has now moved on to the more complex air tenor saxophone... I personally feel that he is moving up to the great finale in which he will entertain us all with his air keyboard! Music to my ears!

But then, I know bollocks!

Here are some of the links:

http://vincentmaher.com/mit/?p=347#comment-28411
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2445995529
http://www.unodewaal.com/2007/05/06/david-bullard-plays-air-opinion/
http://www.henriska.com/blog/?p=162
http://wiredgecko.net/2007/05/ill-just-write-some-drivel-then-bullard/
http://justinhartman.com/2007/05/07/is-david-bullard-an-utter-wanker/
http://www.greenman.co.za
http://www.mikestopforth.com/2007/05/07/dont-prove-david-bullard-right/
http://www.sharepointexpert.co.za/?p=17

UPDATE 20h15: Hmmmm - so the bulldog has hit his air keyboard sooner than I expected... welcome to the blogsphere Mr Bullard!

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Monday, May 07, 2007

 

The Collaboration's Urombo - Zimbabwe

It is my pleasure to be able to provide another installment from Stevie Sparx, our Zimbabwean music man, regarding a group that I touched briefly on before, The Collaboration. But I will let Steve explain more:

It was nearly 3 years ago that, with a rapidly deteriorating economy in Zimbabwe, and the flight of performing artists out of the country, we decided to bring together what might be called “the best of the rest” and look for new ways to enhance the music biz in Zim and find ways to promote our music to as close to an international level as possible.

Our first year was spent preparing material for a project under the banner “The Collaboration” - each member of the group is basically aligned to their own band and we encouraged the artists to pursue their own career as well as to participate in the project - what we ended up with was the album “Hupenyu Kumusha/Life at Home/Impilo eKhaya” which is an amalgamation of ideas from the contributors and features a variety of styles and grooves from Afropop to Zimjazz.

The album was launched in 2006 and a string of live performances followed, culminating in an appearance on the main stage during the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA - 2007 has just finished!).

The track Urombo - a traditional song (done earlier by Thomas Mapfumo) that we have revamped was released in Nov 06 on the Revolution album 4 U - done by the Mothiba twins, the album was nominated for a SAMA. The track talks of the poverty of life alone and the need to continue to strive and to work together.

Rather poignantly, track 2 on the album “Illusions” was inspired by the governments slum clean up operation in 2005 - 2 of our artists were personally affected - the bass player had his bedroom removed from the house as an “illegal extension” while the mbira player’s house was surrounded by rubble from structures torn down all around his home and he lost the income from a few “lodgers” too.


We continue to promote the grouping and our most recent performances have been at Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar and at Chimanimani Festival here in Zim.


The spin off of this album has been the recording and promotion of other groups of whom members of The Collaboration are party to.


Our latest release “Malaisha” from Busi Ncube and band Rain is starting to gain interest - I was in Norway recently to promote a tour for the group later in the year - this follows their appearance at Mela Festival in Oslo in 2006.

Busi is a founder member of legendary Zim band Ilanga - featuring Andy Brown, the late Don Gumbo, Busi and Keith Farquharson the group were leaders in the Afro fusion genre and produced a string of local hits.

Busi sings in 6 languages and her distinctive style has made her a firm favourite in Zimbabwe - she also plays mbira and percussion. We have also recorded material for Zimjazz trio Too Open, and have a couple of other projects at various stages of recording.

Stevie Sparx

Harare Zimbabwe


So here is a video of the track Urombo, from the album
Hupenyu Kumusha/Life at Home/Impilo eKhaya - neighbour, I hear you in Zimbabwe!




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Sunday, May 06, 2007

 

EverestSA2007 Update 7

After yesterdays sms from Andy regarding John’s progress, here are some further updates as to what is happening to the SA team on the slopes of Chomolungma, the beautiful Tibetan name for Mt. Everest.

The group has been split, because John was suffering from altitude sickness and had to move down from Advances Base Camp to Base Camp to recuperate, so now it means that while one part of the group is up, the other part is down. (Right - The cousins have been split - John & Mike)

On the 28th of April Ronnie, Mike, Andy and their Sidar Lhakpa Randu decided to climb the icy head wall of East Rongbuk Glacier to the North Col (or saddle – Col is a Welsh word). It’s a hell of a trip, making use of crampons and fixed ropes up the final stages of the North Col, to camp at 7050m…

John had reached Base Camp at this stage, but was exhausted, suffering from a tummy bug we've heard, and he needed medical attention as well as rest. And good ol' thick air!

The North Col is the low point of one the three big ridges that emanate from the summit of Mount Everest, and after some accounts I have read I know it is an achievement in itself! They descended to Advanced Base Camp the following morning. (pic show camps of the Bate 2002 expedition)

On the 30th of April the group heard that two climbers from Kazakhstan, Max and Musili (right - "no water for 48hrs during summit"), had summited without oxygen. They were the first climbers of the season to summit, but not without drama.

The climbers from Kazakhstan were in trouble on the descent and that they called for help at 4am in the morning. Sirdar Lhakpa Randu (left), from Arun Trekking and a very experience mountaineer, dashed up the slope with oxygen, rounding up additional Sherpa’s along the way, to the rescue (which took 16 hours). But as the Discovery Channel team tell in their blog, it was successful! The S.A. team had the Discovery TV crew interviewing and filming them during the day, which my unc manages to evade, not too fond, I think, of those "media opportunities"!

Ronnie, Mike and Andy packed up their gear on 02 May and walked down to Base Camp, through a snow-storm, to rest. Along the way they met John, on his way back up to Advanced Base Camp, and said he was in high spirits, looking forward to his climb up to 7 000m – so the Base Camp MD sorted him out!

On 03 May John climbed up to the North Col, which is something we’re very proud of, because this is higher than Aconcagua (6,962m / 22,841feet), which he had previously not been able to summit, and we're looking forward to hearing more… Ronnie, Mike and Andy left Base Camp for Shigar (4 300m), where they are spending 4 nights, resting, recuperating and preparing for their final push when they return to the mountain. (right by Sergio Schmiegelow in 2005)

Our Cousin Mike’s sister, (cousin) Carol joined the group in Shigar, from China and having hiked via Base Camp, where she has been working for the last year. I can imagine it must have been an awesome surprise! My mother was told that the group enjoyed their first shower in over 2 weeks – but they had to boil the water to get it hot!

Because John is acclimatizing by himself, we will only get more information when he is back from his climb.

There were a few American climbers arrested by Chinese authorities at Base Camp on the 25th of April, for protesting against China’s rule over Tibet.

I found a short clip that explains more, but the reason is that a Chinese group is taking the Olympic flame up the mountain for the Beijing Games, and Tibetans are angry about this - "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet 2008" said the banner, playing on Beijing's Olympic logo of "One World, One Dream". Drama at altitude!




The more I read about this expedition, the more I want to know about the mountain. It has a strange appeal – but it's certainly no walk in the park, and it is still early days for the team to become the first South Africans to summit from the North East. More, as we hear it.

UPDATE 17h15: As fate works, John called us earlier this afternoon from Shagir (about 140km from BC @ 4300m), where he is resting after his first trip over 7000m. Although tired, he sounded chuffed with the way things are going. He'll be resting a few days, and then he is hoping to be back at ABC by the 12th. He also told us that contact was going to be more difficult from now (so don't stress mom!), but that we should listen out for the Monday morning broadcast on KFM for more details.

See... told you I'd give you more AS I heard it!

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Friday, May 04, 2007

 

Twakkie saved Corne!

Dear all of everyone out there who still gives a bladdy damn at all.

It's me Twakkie and i have the coolest news I have ever have! Corne is back!! That's right yesterday i saved him from the Cornites compound in the Maluti's.

It was hell on cheese I can tell you that for free, but we made it, and we're coming back. We are going to drive through the night, hell for heather, to be at the Kalk Bay Theatre tomorrow for our uncredible morning show, Breakfast Bonanza, which starts at 10:30 in the a.m.

We will be there on Saturday and Sunday morning for the rest of the month. Tickets are flying so booking is essential. The number is 0732205430 and if you have any problems you can phone Asa at 021 788 4936, he will moer someone. Love it!

Twakkie.

(I cannot be held responsible for any of the above information... including the boerewors that Corne seems to have stolen from that caravan... Rouvanne)

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