Jerome Rex Keeps it ‘Smaaklik’ at Geselskap Album Launch

Jerome CD Launch Press ReleaseThis Friday night was rapper/singer Jerome Rex‘s launch of his album Jerome en Geselskap at Dorp Street Theatre. I have to admit, that at the many album  launches I’ve attended and played at over the years – this has to have been one of the most fluid and professionally handled affairs I’ve witnessed. From the article the Cape Times newspaper did on him that same day (a full page spread) to the feature that Afrikaans channel KykNet are doing on him, to the fully attended venue – it was smaaklik (tasty).

I had the privilege of playing keyboard (mostly holding it down in the bass range – due to there not being a physical bass player) and overcoming the challenge of not only thinking like a bass player, but also as a keyboard player. In the band with me was Jason Skippers/Green Apple Man 05 on drums, DJ Eazy on the turntables and singer Ashleigh Davids on backing vocals. Featured rappers included were Linkris and Siepsokkie. The whole shebang was musically directed by rapper/poet NaMa Xam who did a great job of assisting us through the entire rehearsal and gig process.

Dorp Street Theatre is a legendary Afrikaans music venue which unfortunately closed down on Friday night as well due to financial difficulties and little support from the public. That said, it was refreshing seeing an Afrikaans ‘coloured’ rap artist present such a hugely successful (crowd-funded I might add) album launch at such a prestigious venue. The place was packed with Jerome’s supporters and everyone enjoyed every second of it. The proceeds will be going towards funding a tour through the Western Cape later this year.

Jerome's Album Launch

Me on keyboardIn other news; I attended a workshop at Kaleidoscope Cafe called “Turning Your Creative Ideas into Business” which was presented by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) where Glenn Robertson (venue owner) asked me to play keyboard and sing a few items. I was reluctant at first since he asked me to fulfill the role of pianist next to formidable bassist Chadleigh Gowar (also of Ramon Alexander‘s jazz quartet), Canadian drummer Vincent Campovari-Waters and saxophonist Heinrich Isaacs – all of whom I’ve never played with before, much less on keyboard. Both events were a bit touch and go for me since piano is not my forte (even though I’d love to become a competent jazz pianist in future). We played a jazzy rendition of Jason Mraz’s smash hit I’m Yours (which I sang), my own song Pencil Pusher Man (which featured a kick-ass sax solo by Heinrich), Grover Washington Jr’s Winelight, Sting’s classic tune Fragile (with Glenn doing backing vocals and percussion) and the Hotep Galeta Cape Jazz standard Harold’s Bossa.

Since then I’ve been feeling a tiny bit more competent with my keyboard skills even though it’s gonna take a lot more work and checking out a load more standard repertoire. Glenn actually came up with the idea to start a gig band made up of the above mentioned for regular gigs at Kaleidoscope as well as at other events. Quite a big challenge I’d say! I’m up for it though, if anything it will help a lot with my composition and bass playing skills.

Skalie Pickups

Skalie Pickup Rehearsal

Yesterday I spent the whole day rehearsing on Skalie Skinnerstories Tref Stoffontein, the musical I’ve been acting in that went to KKNK last year for a week long run and also played to a sold out audience at Kabaretmania.

It’s making its debut at Woordfees at the Book Tent on 7th March.

About 5 cast members left the show due to other commitments so the entire show had to be re-written in time for this performance. So far the pickup rehearsals have been going great. My character also has more dialogue which makes it more of a challenge for me as well.

Tongue Fu at AmaZink Eatery

Today I’ll be playing bass for a spoken word event being held at AmaZink Eatery called Tongue Fu, hosted by popular UK performance poet Chris Redmond. The whole event will consist of on the spot improvisation. Featured poets include Jitsvinger, Khadija Heeger (who blew my mind at the last InZync poetry session) and Thabiso Nkoana. The band will consist of myself (bass), Arthur Lea (from the UK – keyboard), Craig Victor (guitar) and James Lombard (drums). I’m really amped for this event.

Tongue Fu

Brother & Brother - RAMfest 2014

Brother & Brother – RAMfest 2014

Upcoming Events

Here’s my gig itinerary:

2 MarchTongue Fu at AmaZink Eatery

6 MarchBrother & Brother at RAMfest Carnival Stage

7 MarchSkalie Skinnerstories Tref Stoffontein

10 March – doing my own show at Woordfees (Aan de Braak Theatre) called Josh Prinsloo en die Dahgah Vondasie – an exploration of the human condition and identity.

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