On a Performance High
What a week it’s been! My last update over here was a week ago and I mentioned I’d been participating in the Cape Town Acoustic ‘n Folk Music Festival competition. And in all honesty, it was one of the most magical and unforgettable “shows” I’ve done ever.
I competed for a spot to play at the festival against 9 other very diverse acts, but luckily my friends had my back and I performed not only to a packed audience but also to the 17 members of my “rent-a-crowd” – the biggest rent-a-crowd there. Add to that the amazing ambiance of Music Experience‘s stage with it’s dim, colourful lighting, the great sound and the series of acoustic guitars hung up on the wall behind the performers – it all came together to make my night and performance very special.
After Brother & Brother‘s tour to Gauteng last weekend, my voice took a lot of beating. It felt tired, full of phlegm and just really uncooperative! So in order to prepare for my audition, I over-prepared. I started doing warm-up exercises around midday on the day of the audition, cutting out all dairy and caffeine drinks, drinking loads of water and then warming up about 2 hours before my actual audition – and it worked. I was able to hit all the notes I couldn’t with my groggy voice and even I would say my performance was flawless and that’s hard to say ’cause I’m usually my harshest critic. That said, don’t let me watch a video of myself…ever!
After I played my two audition items, the organisers requested one more song – which felt really good, since by then the audience were really open to what I was doing. I also felt great because my songs were very distinct with the addition of the rap verses and surprisingly toned down and intimate. We now await the verdict.
I think the moment was so beautiful because I really felt supported and validated by those who came to watch me and looking at the audience mid-set I could tell that everyone really was listening to the lyrics. So thank you to everyone who came out in the cold to support me, I really do appreciate it. I literally was on a performance high the rest of the night and the entire morning of the next day.
Last Friday Brother & Brother did what we’re calling an acoustic set (Dave plays on brushes/reeds) at Saronsberg Theatre in Tulbagh. If you’re ever in that part of the world, go there! I’ve never felt so warm and welcomed at a venue before and I’ve probably played upwards of 500 shows in the last 6 years.
Saronsberg Theatre caters to big acts and small ones all the same. Because we had less than 40 bookings on the evening we played in the cafe on the ground floor of the building to what later was a full audience. What was especially challenging was reading the crowd – the venue had asked us to play two sets, so I did a warmer upper of my solo acoustic material before the full band took the stage. We had a table of elderly people sitting right in front of the right-hand side PA and I’m not exactly sure how they received the hard-hitting political lyrics of my solo set, since they looked a bit confused. Nonetheless the harder part was containing Dave since he changed to reeds midway through our set and started playing like a rock ‘n roll drummer! His mom even told him he’s too loud on brushes. But it came off well and everyone enjoyed our set, particularly the high energy quirky songs.
Saronsberg Theatre gave us free food and drinks, discounts on drinks after the show, free accommodation AND they added our door fee to the patron’s bills. We went home with a lot more money than we thought we’d make. Many of the live-music venues I’ve played at can learn a LOT from Saronsberg Theatre. This is the way musicians should be treated, with respect and dignity. I’ll definitely go back there to play any day! In addition, each staff member treated us with the utmost in hospitality and were always willing to help. It really made us feel special. Thanks so much Saronsberg Theatre.
Expression Session Kuila Hosts Local Giants, Rymhood and…Bag Drum
This past Sunday I played at Expression Session Kuila again and this time I was joined by Gemayel Kroukamp on bag drum. If you don’t know what a bag drum is – it’s a very compact drum kit made out of plywood that can fit into ONE bag. It contains all the elements of a traditional drum kit including a kick drum, floor tom and snare but get this, they all fold into each other allowing the user to carry them comfortably in one hand. Of course any additional hardware must be supplied in tandem, but you get the picture. So what does it sound like? It sounds like a full jazz drum kit with a more compressed timbre which makes it perfect for intimate gigs. It’s meant to be played with brushes/reeds. I made a remark to Gemayel that it’s perfect for recordings as well, since you can record the whole darn thing with one large diaphragm condenser mic! Easy peasy! Gemayel is the only drummer in South Africa to be playing this brilliant Italian invention. It was perfect for my hip hop infused material and that of Goya Richards, the rap artist we accompanied on the night too.
I also accompanied Reinhart Rymhard on two of his poems. What’s more, he debuted his own very special invention of fashion: The Rymhood. Designed by Raynie and crafted by Cara Delport of Black Stage Designs (also produced my zebra-striped trousers), the Rymhood is a kind of scarf meets hoody with a North-African/Middle-Eastern type of feel. And I think the idea is ingenious! I’ve place my order, have you?
Expression Session also hosted local phenomenon Tribal Echo (who I first saw playing live at Oesfees) and once again, they ripped the stage up. They also accompanied rapper Churchill which was also really great. Tribal Echo’s sound is a mix of South African rhythms, rural music and hip hop with a very present comedic angle – and they know how to get people on their feet.
Other artists who performed included Jerome Rex, Blaq Pearl and Nadine Matthews.
Sam took pictured with her new Nikon camera and they came out really nicely for a first time round. Check:
The crew from Expression Session Kuila will be headed to Worcester tomorrow evening for their installment of the monthly event. I’ll be there too. Boom!
30 July – Fruit Vendor at Rhenish Girls’ High School Superstars Competition
31 July – Fruit Vendor at Expression Session Worcester
5 – 7 August – Pinelands Primary School Cabaret
16 August – Brother & Brother at Aandklas, Stellenbosch with Elevated Motion and The Young Folks
25 August – 7 September – Rockville 2069 at Artscape Opera House, Cape Town
24 September – Solms Delta Soetstemme at Solms Delta, Franschoek
20 November – Solms Delta Soetstemme at Solms Delta, Franschoek