Saluting our SA music stars
As the SA music industry begins to grow and spread and produce an horizon's worth of varied and exciting music, the annual awards ceremony to honour these recordings and artists is also keeping up with and reflecting the pride and self-respect that the whole music industry seems finally to have acquired. The FNB South African Music Awards were presented to 45 artists at a highly watchable ceremony at the Civic Centre in Johannesburg. I couldn't be there but I caught it on the box.
Besides the shock value of "the judges" actually getting a lot of these awards right, the organisers laid on a great live show with a series of duets between some disparate combinations of artists. Tsotsi-rappers Skeem did a short piece and were then, along with the rest of this fine ensemble of acts, blown off the stage by the all-girl Boom Shaka's electrifying version of 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica'. If this isn't on a single yet then it should be.
Saxy McCoy Mrubata grooved with double winner Jimmy Dludlu, whose jazz guitar on his debut 'Echoes From The Past' album won him the Best Newcomer and Best Contemporary Jazz awards. A word of sympathy for Paul Hanmer whose brilliant 'Trains From Taung' lost to 'Echoes' in both categories and even failed to win the Best Album Package award for its innovative and supportive design. Richard Stone's design for Koos Kombuis's "Boks"-set took the laurels but history will show that this year's failure to honour 'Trains To Taung', on any level, is going to leave a lot of yolks on cheeks.
Ringo Madlingozi received a rapturous welcome when he performed 'Sondela' off his 'Sondelani' album. 'Sondelani' won the Best Adult Contemporary Performance award which sounds more like a category you'd find at a porn movie awards ceremony. Ratau Mike Makhalemele summed up his emotions when accepting the Best Traditional Jazz Performance for his 'Searching For The Truth' album: "This is long overdue!", he said, and he's quite right!
The two main presenters at the awards ceremony were the gorgeous Zandi Nhlope and Eric Miyene, who achieved infamy in a TV commercial as "Jakes", the hapless date-finder. "Hullo! Is that Zandi? It's me! Eric! Don't you remember we presented the FNB Awards together…..no!??" These two stood at the podium, which consisted of two large djembes, very appropriate and cool. Just Jinger performed a 'Shallow Water/Farther And Father' set wearing Springbok Nude Girls and Squeal T-shirts. Art Matthews sounded like a young Van Morrison in short pants and dreadlocks. With their new 'Live, Unplugged And Backstage' video and 'Something For Now' EP now on (and quickly moving off) the shelves, the JJs were calm and assured but strangely (because they performed) they didn't win in any of the many categories for which they were nominated.
A minor complaint was that there was a reluctance on the part of the organisers and presenters to tell us unequivocally who each performing artist was. So I don't know the name of the singing and electric guitar playing beaded doll woman who sang this blues thing and eked out a scorching solo or the three big gents in suits who shuffled on and took turns to sing this soul-hoppy number accompanied by a fleet-fingered Fender fondler (sorry for the effin' alliteration! But he was!).
Cedric Samson wondered aloud on the amazing turn of events that transpired to throw him ("A bald, yiddisher boy") onstage with the Badu-turbanned Yvonne Chaka Chaka. To emphasise the point, these two then presented the Best Boereorkes award. Gospel music is also big business these days and those awards received a prominent position in the programme. Gospel songstress Rebecca Malope is believed to be South Africa's best selling artist and her 'Angingedwa' album won the award for Best Selling African Release and Best African Gospel.
Mostly, however, there were sufficient dues paid to deserving artists. POC won their second Rap award for 'Ghetto Code', Sugardrive grabbed Best Rock for 'Sand.Man.Sky' (yes!) and The Usual brought two awards home to their Kaapse "Skollie-rock" chums. James Stewart accepted the Best Duo/Group and Best Pop awards on behalf of the band and the new jangly, happy and infectious rock sound currently bubbling out of Cape Town.
SA music rules.OK.ZA!
Vusi Mahlasela's star is on the rise both in South Africa and in Europe and he finally received some recognition as well when his lovely 'Silang Mabela' took the Best Male Solo Vocal and Best African Pop kudos (had to use "kudos" somewhere here).
So congratu-rainbow-nations to all the winners and if you out there have still not heard 'Sand.Man.Sky.', 'Trains to Taung', 'Echoes From The Past', 'Ghetto Code', 'Sondelani' or 'Searching For The Truth', then you got some treats coming your way and they are just a click away at One World, the best SA CD store on the pla-net. End of commercial….bzzz.
Some Fresh music
Up in Jo'burg, there's a hot, new little record company slowly starting to make waves. Benjy Mudie of ex-Tusk fame has teamed up with the Dewberry Fairy, Kerry Friedman, to establish Fresh Music. Among the delights in their ice-box are Kaolin Thompson's Naked (that's the name of her band not a fridge pin-up!) and a single by Biff and Jethro called 'I Guess This Is The New South Africa' ("you buy a car and they take it from ya") which is apparently soon to be de-playlisted on a "national pop radio station" due to its "negative" message. No-one's quite sure who Biff and Jethro are (Butow? Tull?); some speculated it may be POC but that seems unlikely.
The song is a satirical rap riposte at the "New" (still?) SA where crime is rampant and the cops etc etc…. ag, lets dance to some new, fresh acts like Circus and MissBhave. Kerry's been shepherdessing Tananas for a while now and is currently keeping an eye on the flute playing and ashtray designing of Ms Kaolin Thompson. The demos are done and many, including Brian "Brain" Eno, have been stunned by this new talent. Benjy Mudie's "nous" for sniffing out exciting new artists is legendary and this gang should be making big waves soon.
Do you know the name of Lithium's new CD and their drummer? If you do, then please mail your two answers, name and shipping address to email@example.com and you could win one of the two Lithium gift sets each of which contain a band-signed copy of their new album and a Lithium T-shirt.
Elephant Sun are still plying their folky wares and sleeper debut album 'Perceptions' around the near countryside. May 11 finds them at El Toro Tappas Bar in Durbanville and the 13th at Zero's in Stellenbosch. For all the Cape concert listings use the Gig Guide for times, venues and other relevant info for the young Cape ligger.
This week's Amuzine specials!
This week our Reviews section features the new album 'Crazy Love' by O'Yaba. Koos Kombuis is currently bestowing our Lager Mentality feature with a wealth of quotes, plans and all-round cred! There's a new live Rodriguez live in SA CD coming in the next few weeks so watch this space or go to The Great Rodriguez Website and look also at Climb Up On My Music. All CDs that have been previously mentioned in these pages, as well as practically anything South African or not that is round, flat and shiny and comes in a far-too-fragile perspex case with teeth that break off etc, can be purchased online and easily at One World online CD store. Lots of new stuff at the Bioscope page. This started as a simple review page but has recently become a little strange and different. We are still getting some interesting, er, stuff on our Show Must Go Online review-it-yourself-and-drop-it-on-our-web-board page. Write as long or as short about anything that touched you, in an arto-emotio way (cool word hey!).
All advice, criticism, news, freebies, review copies, t-shirts, release dates, gossip and music that has anything remotely to do with .co.za, email it on to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. So be good, tuck a South African CD into the pile next time you hit the CD store and listen with your ears.
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman
Five of the best! My current CDs of choice:
The Dandy Warhols - Come Down
I lucked out and found this lying in a second hand store. New American classic rock band who are starting to attract the attention of the British market. Doors meet Sonic Youth and more on this 14 track bargain.
Naked - Naked EP
Kaolin Thompson on vocals, flute, sax and percussion with Darrel Mordecai on bass and Crallan on drums. All eyes are on this band and here they are with mixes of 'Naked' and a version of 'Sex Goddess'. I have heard some newer demos and there's substance to this rumour.
Sugardrive - Snapshots
The 1996 four track EP that appeared after the noise of 'Hey God…" and before the classic 'Sand.Man.Sky.'. Pointing the way to a newer and more melodic future, 'Snakes' and 'Tumblin' Down' added to the big single feel of 'Way Down In Africa'.
Nick G and the Refugee - Da Dip
This won the Best Contemporary Dance Music Performance (phew) Award and is by this young, bouncy Nick boytjie who is actually the son of SA music personality Chris Ghelakis. Refugee is apparently producer George Vardas. Tasty little dance pop treat this.
Massive Attack - Mezzanine
I'm too nervous to put it on. Is this the hat-trick?, the logical successor to 'Blue Lines' and Protection'? The single 'Risingson' is on there and the old Bristol possee rides again.Yippee!!
The One World Top Ten
(based on sales at Seedys and One World in Pretoria and One World
on the Net)
1.Makhendlas -- Jammer
2.Boom Shaka -- Aint no stoppin us now
3.TKZEE -- Palafala
4.Rebecca -- Somlandela
5.Just Jinger -- Something for now
6.Dion,Celine -- My heart will go on
7.Savage Garden -- Truly deeply madly
8.Springbok nude girls -- Omnisofa
9.Run-dmc vs Jason Nevins -- It's like that
10.Awakening -- Request
CDs available at One World online CD store at:
The Great Rodriguez Website
Your online CD store
Lager Mentality - Interviews, Features and previous Beatspeak and News articles