Hendrix would have loved it!
The music industry thrives on controversy. Record company marketing
departments are mostly forced to travel the conventional routes when trying
to squeeze their new musical product into a competitive and cluttered
market. But they always add a little request in their prayers for some free
publicity (good or bad!) to shortcut the process. In my review of the FNB
SAMA music awards ceremony I mentioned the lateral live music menu that was
used this year. The most electrifying act of the evening was the Skeem with
Boom Shaka duet. Boom Shaka previewed a new song off 'Words Of Wisdom',
their soon to be released third album, the totally funked-up version of our
beloved national anthem, 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica'.
Skeem had begun the segment with a mostly forgettable rap chant. Suddenly
they stopped and moved quickly to the back of the stage while the three
ladies and one gent of Boom Shaka strode forward with raised fists. The
opening drum crack seemed to hit them like a bolt of lightning and one
could see the energy flowing through their bodies as they launched into the
coolest version of 'Nkosi' you will ever hear. This well-known hymn, which
has achieved national anthem status in many African countries (why does a
country really need a song!?), has received a modern facelift and that's
not a bad thing. It sounds like it was re-written by Prince *OWHICN (*Or
whatever he is called now), and is beautifully sung and performed in the
silky and sensual Kwaito style.
In the Mail & Guardian, Charl Blignaut discussed the controversy
surrounding this song and its performance (See:
http://www.mg.co.za/mg/art/daily/fr-today.htm) but essentially it's great
publicity for the group with a new album out soon. Their previous platinum
single, 'Ain't No Stopping Us' will also be on this album and these two
tracks are worth the price of admission alone. There was a similar outcry
back in 1969 when Jimi Hendrix closed down the legendary Woodstock festival
with his "Grunge Concerto for electric guitar" version of the American
anthem 'The Star Spangled Banner'. Somehow that moment summed up the end of
the Sixties and gave a glimpse of what was to come. In their version of
'Nkosi', Boom Shaka pause to pay viva-tributes to Nelson Mandela, Robert
Sobukwe, Steve Biko and Chris Hani. This is clearly to show that there is
no lack of respect intended by this song. With it, Boom Shaka have managed
to merge the seriousness of the past with the potential of the future and
SA needs this message to go out in as many forms as possible. There is
nothing more powerful then in a song as amazing as this.
Barney's Peel-a radio sessions
He has his detractors but one cannot deny that Barney Simon's role in the
development of a strong and vibrant indie/alternative rock scene in SA has
never been truly acknowledged or rewarded. Since taking over the late night
spot on 5FM, B-B-B-Barney has been discovering, exposing and encouraging a
whole new breed of rock artists. His Alternative Top Ten hour on a
Wednesday evening usually includes well over the quota of SA music required
to be played hourly. Most bands I meet judge their success in SA by how
high they got on Barney's chart, how often he played their song or how
their interview with Barney went.
Now Barney, in conjunction with 5FM and TDK, have taken all this one step
further and started transmitting live sessions every Tuesday night at 11.30
on his Modern Rock show. A range of exciting new bands have been lined up
to perform live sessions at Radio Park Studios for this programme, which is
seeking to emulate the success of Radio 1's (John) Peel Sessions. Called
"The 5FM/TDK Radio Sessions", this is the first time something like this
has been attempted in recent years and bands like Sugardrive,
Wonderboom,Battery9, Springbok Nude Girls, Lithium and Just Jinger will
each perform a half hour set and then two songs from that set will be
featured during the week on 5FM. Great idea Barney and associates!
Down in Buitenkant Street in Gardens, is a little colourfully painted
semi-detached house which is the current home of Red Hot Rhythm Section,
one of the hottest recording studios in Cape Town. The studio is run by
Clive Nankin who keeps everything nice and orderly while his musical
partner, Jorge Arrigones, keeps the production line flowing. And flowing it
is, besides the soundtracks for commercials work which you've definitely
seen or heard, Jorge has been producing some personal stuff that is going
to be appearing on CD shelves soon.
Born in Argentina and raised on a mixed diet of South American music, jazz
and rock, Jorge can move backwards and forwards between these genres while
always leaving traces of them all in the finished product. Married to the
well-known singer Ayala Katz, Jorge recently spent over a year producing
his wife's debut album with the assistance of Michael Tellinger. The
resulting album, while still undergoing a final mixing, is a diverse
mixture of electronica, jazz and strong female vocals all wrapped up in
Arrigones' exciting productions.
Not to be outdone by his spouse, Jorge has almost finished his own trance
album which, based on samples that I have heard, could contain the most
potent combination of African music and sounds and trance. We will be
interviewing Jorge, Ayala and Clive as soon as the CD(s) are ready. Watch
There is still time to enter the Lithium competition in which you can win a
signed copy of their new album and a Lithium T-shirt. There are two of
these sets to be given away so please just email me at
email@example.com and tell me a) the name of the new Lithium album and
b) the name of the Lithium drummer (you can find the review of this album
at http://www.mg.co.za/mg/art/daily/fr-today.htm). Please also send me your
name (durr) and Shipping address to where you would like your prize to be
What's on this week's Amuzine menu?
In our Reviews section we try to figure out who or what Marcy Playground
are. While waiting for a new Lager Mentality interview to raise its bloated
head, I suggest you catch up with the ones you may have missed. Email your
reviews on that "thing" you saw that had you drooling with happiness or
choking with anger, there's a place for it at The Show Must Go Online and
we've been hearing how lots of Net psychos are getting it all out of their
systems with this online media-purgative. There's always some weird stuff
going on when the lights go down at the Bioscope. Browse the live music
fare on offer at the Gig Guide or get an alternative opinion on SA sports
issues at Sugar's Sport Shorts. Finally, take a browse around the huge SA
music categories at One World, the best SA CD store on the pla-Net. You can
order a CD in five minutes and have it the next day, postal service
All advice, criticism, news, freebies, review copies, T-shirts, release
dates, gossip and music that has anything remotely to do with ".co.za",
should please be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember also to
always keep your ears open for new South African music and when you hear
something that gets your gut all tingly, go out and buy it!
Listening to anything interesting? (he asked himself!).
Here's 5 current likes.
Jeff Buckley - Sketches (For My Sweetheart, The Drunk)
The eagerly but sadly awaited follow up to 'Grace'. These are the songs
that Jeff Buckley had intended for his second album but they were not
completed when he tragically drowned in Memphis last year. Still, this is a
double album packed with the last proper material we are going to hear by
this awesome singer.
Tricky - Angels With Dirty Faces
'Maxinquaye' was wonderful but then Tricky went a bit strange and 'Nearly
God' (yeah right!) and Pre-Millennium Tension (appropriate title!) left me
cold ( to quote the not-missed Mr Jimmy Kruger. This new CD is more beaty
and bouncy and sees Tricky getting back to the trip-hop he does best.
Soundtrack - Good Will Hunting
Haven't seen the movie yet but I love this soundtrack featuring a wide
variety of very cool performers like Danny Elfman, The Waterboys, Jeb Loy
Nichols, The Dandy Warhols and the enigmatic and untidy Elliot Smith whose
theme song for GWH was nominated for an oscar.
Koos Kombuis - Elke Bomelaar Se Droom
Got this friend who has never heard KK or this album so that was corrected
immediately and now he's hooked. This sprawling, continuous stream of
Kombuis words, music and song rewards repeated listenings with a
sensitivity, longetivity and an unsurpassed hour of music. If you live in
the Cape then listen carefully to "Bicycle Sonder A Slot' and weep.
James - The Best Of
First band ever to tell their fans to sit down! I missed out on their early
stuff but caught up later and a best of compilation is the perfect way to
approach this band who manage to produce excellent singles but boring
albums. Review to follow.
So be well and try and avoid this awful "Sydney" Flu that's struck SA like
the New Zealand forwards, or, come and visit me and get at least four days
Peace and music,
Stephen "Sugar" Segerman
The One World Top Ten
(based on sales at Seedy's and One World in Pretoria and One World on the
1. Makhendlas: 'Jammer'
2. Boom Shaka: 'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now'
3. Rebecca: 'Somlandela'
4. Awakening: 'Request'
5. TKZEE: 'Palafala'
6. Springbok Nude Girls: 'Omnisofa'
7. Just Jinger: 'Something For Now'
8. Run DMC vs Jason Nevins: 'It's Like That'
9. Dion,Celine: 'My Heart Will Go On'
10. Savage Garden: 'Truly Deeply Madly'
(CDs available at One World online CD store at: http://www.oneworld.co.za )
The Great Rodriguez Website
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