April 2002, Rhythm Records, RR 021
SA Rock Digest charts:
highest position: 13
weeks on Top 20: 1
Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes
- Drikus (Brixton) Barnard: bass
- Ockert (Moord) Greeff: drums, djembe, udu
- Andries (Roof) Bezuidenhout: guitar and vocals
- Esmé Eva Kwaad: vocals
Every now and then I get tired of listening to songs about Nashville, Tennessee, New York, New York, Route 66 and the Vietnam war. Loud applause greets Bruce Springsteen everytime he sings about his Jersey Girl and being Born in the USA. These songs mean very little to a born and bred South African like myself. Where are the songs written from the South African perspective about life and living in South Africa?
Well, actually there are plenty. A few recent English-speaking (or should that be singing and rapping) artists, like Moodphase 5ive and Syd Kitchen, sing about life as it really is in South Africa, but if you really want songs about Jeffreys Bay, driving through the Karoo, Port St Johns, buying drugs in Stellenbosch and picking up girls from the Strand, listen to the Afrikaans rock poets. There are far too many to name here, but one of the newest Afrikaans rock bands to sing about real life in South Africa are the Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes (Brixton Murder and Robbery Band).
To quote their website: "Brixton" here does not refer to the Brixton in London, but to a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. The name of the band refers to a notorious police unit (now disbanded), that was stationed in the suburb.
Their website, which is both in English and Afrikaans, has no flash (thankfully), but plenty of info. So many artists seem to think that only the fans with the fastest computers, lastest software and lots of time on their hands can visit their websites. The message they are sending is: "sorry, but you're not cool enough to be our fan". Fortunately BRMO seem to know what their fans want; up-to-date info on new releases and gigs and some history. But I digress...
On their debut album 'Spergebied' (Restricted Area) they sing about the dark side of South Africa, based on their own very real experiences. There are songs about living and jolling in Brixton and Melville (Brixton-Dae), the merits of getting drunk on your own (Dronk op jou eie), road rage (err, Road Rage) and a song for those that leave SA for greener pastures (Geen Land). And I love those little soundbites that link the songs: "this is the final call for passengers Barnard, Greef and Bezuidenhout delaying British Airways flight to London..." and "you have no new messages".
'Geraamtes in jou kas' is about the nightmares that are suffered by the soldiers that had to go into the townships to "maintain the peace". "Jy onthou die vure/ en die wiele van 'n Casspir/ en die reuk van brandende rubber/ deur die neus van jou gasmasker".
This is not a very cheerful album on the lyrical side, but the music really rocks. So, to mis-quote Syd (Kitchen, not Barrett), this CD is not for sissies, but the brave listener who ventures into this Restricted Area will be rewarded with some very unrestricted Afrikaans Rock.
-- Brian Currin, April 2002