Wow, what a long minute it has been since the last update. It’s been an amazing creative year for me this far and it’s kept me much busier than usual: teaching high school, my first EP Launch, a series of great gigs, songwriting workshops, theatre productions, soundtracks and so much more. The following is just a breakdown of how it’s been so far – and if you’re wondering what comes next, have a read.
6 Month Recap
Since the Giants EP Launch (watch video) in February, I’ve been gigging rather consistently around town, doing both solo events and band gigs. Due to budget constraints, I had to scale the band down to a core group of two accompanists (Jason Skippers on drums and Rosco Roman on bass) and in some cases the addition of Adrian Rogowski on lead guitar. We effectively had two full band gigs (the EP Launch and the V&A Waterfront Ampitheatre – watch video) and a string of smaller appearances at venues like Quay Four Restaurant alongside Natasha Meister and Hatchetman, the Alma Cafe with Mel Mwevi, the Waiting Room with Bianca Wood, and His People Church N1 City with DJ Eazy and Jerome Rex among others.
The highlights of my performance year so far include playing at the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts (a dream 3 years in the works) alongside Kahn Morbee (The Parlotones), Farryl Purkiss and BlackByrd, as well as the Cape Town Folk ‘n Music Festival’s Nu Breed Concert at City Hall alongside Matthew Mole, Majozi and Paige Mac among others.
Sounds of the Nations: An Evening of Music
Tomorrow night, I share the lineup with Eden Myrrh, Germaine Leonard, Almost Sunday and Clint Brink & Nathanael Barthus (Chasing Time) for the Sounds of the Nations’ Evening of Music. The event is a fundraiser to send my drummer Jason Skippers and his colleague Tim Feder from Sounds of the Nations SA to the USA, where they’ve been invited to get certified as users of Pro Tools recording software. Entry is R120, time is 7pm and it happens at His People Church N1 City. Book your ticket here.
The Alma Cafe with Jonathan Tait (Hatchetman) and Dave Knowles
Date: 5 August
Cover: R120 (includes light meal)
The Duende Sessions with Maya-Rose, Joshua Grierson, Grace De La Hunt etc
Venue: The Bombshelter, Ndabeni
Date: 19 August
Cover: Donation Based
THE GIANTS EP
Feedback: Acoustic VS Electronic
If you’ve purchased the Giants EP, I would love to hear your feedback on it. Truth be told, the feedback on the project has been quite lukewarm – I’m assuming it’s because most people expected a very folksy, acoustic sound that they have grown accustomed to at live performances and might’ve been taken aback by the full arrangements and electronic elements. That said, I must say that being branded a “folk” artist was never my intention – I’ve always felt that just singing or just playing guitar were too limiting for what I aim to do. At this stage, any and all feedback would be much appreciated. Please hit reply and let me know what your take is.
STREET TEAM EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: 10 SECONDS 3P
The mixes for the 3 exclusive tracks I promised to the Fruit Vendor Street Team are pretty much in the bag. The reason it’s taken so long to finish is because I’ve been giving my time to all sorts of other creative work over the last 6 months. These projects often take a financial priority and the result is that my personal projects get upstaged by the hustle (gotta eat yo!). Rest assured, if you’re in the Street Team – one morning you’ll open up your inbox with some fresh fruit in it.
MAMA AFRICA: FRUIT VENDOR GOES TO NEW YORK
I will be touring the USA for a month during September and October as part of a theatre production called Mama Africa: the Miriam Makeba Musical. The play tells the life story of iconic South African musician Miriam Makeba and covers both her personal struggles as well as her political role in the anti-apartheid and civil rights movements. In addition to President JFK, I play a series of racist Afrikaner bureaucrats and get to use very offensive language that might otherwise get me arrested. The play will open in St. Louis, Missouri and will tour to Columbia and Kansas City and play off-Broadway in New York. I’m majorly amped for it, as this will be my first time working and travelling abroad. Needless to say, one never thinks when you start out doing theatre, you’ll one day get to play on a Broadway stage. Woza, Miriam!
I’ve been fortunate enough to produce two soundtracks this year for the theatre-pieces: “Joanie Galant Hulle” by Adam Small, directed by Nolan Africa and starring the award-winning Lauren Hannie (Artscape Suidoosterfees) and “Pa Maak Vir My ‘n Vlieer, Pa” by Chris Barnard, directed by Albert Maritz and starring legend Sandra Prinsloo, Waldemar Schultz and Wilhelm van der Walt (Inniebos Fees). I particularly enjoyed crafting the spooky, Trent Reznor-esque soundscapes for the latter.
Siphokazi Jonas Makes History, Gets Invited to Rhetoric in LA
My friend and bandmate Siphokazi Jonas just recently made history by releasing her live DVD recording “Wrestling with Dawn”. This is the first time in SA’s history that a full length live DVD recording of spoken word poetry has been produced. I feel quite privileged that I not only got to play guitar in the band that accompanied her, but also got the chance to mix the audio. Make sure you order your copy directly from her.
In addition, Siphokazi will be making history again by being the first African poet to perform at the prestigious Rhetoric poetry event in LA later this year. That’s pretty giant if you ask me.
Casper Ace Releases Debut Album “Saam”
My friend Casper Ace just released his debut album entitled “Saam”, which I played bass guitar on. Stylistically, the album is a mix of classic and surf rock, country, blues, jazz, latin, reggae and ghoema. With a mix like that, I really feel Casper is doing something quite unique and very different in Afrikaans music. It features contributions by some really amazing artists like Melissa van der Spuy, Adriaan Brand (Springbok Nude Girls) and Maya Spektor. The first single off the album, “Droom” is making rotation on RSG. Watch this clip of us playing at the Waterfront and buy the album here.
WonderBoom – The Great Escape: My Animated Video Debut
Roger Williams, award-winning illustrator, multi-media artist and VJ from my full band setup has just released the animated music video he produced for legendary rock band WonderBoom. I got the chance to play the male lead character who fights off the evil aliens. If you’re wondering how he did this animation, he shot video footage of the actors first and then animated over the footage to give it a very realistic look, much in the vain of A-ha’s “Take On Me” or Linkin Park’s “Breaking the Habit”. I’m really stoked for him. Have a look and let me know what you think!