Syd Kitchen - Africa's Not For Sissies

Africa's not for Sissies

2001, No Budget Records, NOBUD001

Syd Kitchen


  1. Africa's Not For Sissies mp3
  2. Calling
  3. Settler
  4. Elliot
  5. Geneology
  6. Thekweni
  7. Sharp mp3
  8. Chicken Run
  9. Muse
  10. Walking
  11. Africa's Not For Sissies (Remix)


  • Syd Kitchen: Slide guitar, vocals, guitar, percussion
  • Wesley Gibbens: Drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Dan Wilson: Bass
  • Pedro Espi Sanchis: Hosepipe flute
  • Michael Whitehead: Lap steel guitar
  • Nux Schwartz: Backing vocals
  • Angus Kerr: Fiddle
  • Greg Georgiades: Oud
  • Greg Liesegan: Accordion
  • Richard Haslop: Dobro, voice from the shoe
  • Etienne Moorcroft: Cornet
  • Kerry de Wet: Vocals
  • Dick Hathorn: Soprano saxophone


One of the items included in the limited edition 'Packed up and Ready to Go' parcel that includes the new offering from Syd's Kitchen is a small bag of red African earth. This is really apt as musically this album conjures up images of African plains, of a timelessness, of lying under a boabab tree under a clear blue sky, gazing across the veldt, at one with the land and being enveloped with a profound sense of peace. In the distance, buck frolic while overhead... sorry I just had to go turn off the CD for a moment as this paragraph would have gone on forever, that's how strong the effect of the music is.

Syd Kitchen (no relation to Koos Kombuis) is a hugely talented songwriter, a hugely talented guitarist and a hugely overlooked South African musician. I must admit that I have been guilty of overlooking this gentle gigantic talent as I only recently heard the awesome 'Waiting for the Heave' (1985) and the equally wonderful 'City Child' (1995) and now the word Kitchen means a lot more to me than the pile of dirty dishes stacked up in the sink. It is now for me a mark of great quality.

Listen to the achingly beautiful 'Settler' or the movingly simplistic 'Elliot' with its refrain of 'It's so amazing living in paradise' and one cannot fail to be in some way enchanted by the sheer brilliance of it. This is an aural craft market of an album.

But it's not just the music that makes this album work. The lyrics are insightful and poignant. It talks of the wonders of Africa and at the same time the horrors. In light of the recent murder of Marike de Klerk, the latter is eerily stark in the line from the title track 'You know the woman next door, they found her lying, lying on the kitchen floor, she'd been dead for days.' In contrast to this you have lines like 'I offer love, I ask redemption' from 'Settler' and 'He one with the Earth, she set him free, He got more friends than a leaf on a tree' from 'Elliot'. He has struck at the very core of the New South Africa and everything it has to offer.

Syd has the red dust of Africa running through his veins and a finger firmly on the pulse of a nation going through the birth pains of being born again. He is the hippest of hippies and has produced an album of extreme beauty and social awareness. This is a profound and important album, ignore it at your peril.

A light breeze wafts thought the long grass, stirring it into life and disturbing the butterflies and grasshoppers. A herd of elephant saunter lazily by... (Yup I've pressed play again).

John Samson, SA Rockdigest #134, December 2001


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All info supplied by John Samson, September 2002

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