Karen Zoid

Karen Zoid - photo by Carina Laubscher


Live review:

Friday 1st March 2002

The rock chick angst of Joburg's Karen Zoid was up next. The multi-lingual Karen had us rocking and shouting along to songs like 'Maak Nie Regting Saak Nie', 'Set Of Wheels (Karoo Anthem)', 'Katriena' and 'Afrikaners Is Plesierig'. All these tracks are off her SA Rock Digest album-of-the-year and SAMA-nominated 'Poles Apart' released by EMI last year. She also played some newish songs which we can but hope will be on a CD sometime soon. 'Big Fish In A Small Town' was "dedicated" to "daai oomie van Oudtshoorn" who must have really pissed her off at one time. Not sure of the title, but my favourite lyric of the evening was the screamed "Springbok is 'n shooter, Protea is 'n hotel, welkom in my Suid-Afrikanse hemel, welkom in my Suid-Afrikanse hel!"
-- Brian Currin


A new voice for SA rock
31 July 2001 from News24.com

Dirk Jordaan

South African rock has a new, honest voice. Her name is Zoid - Karen Zoid. It's a brave new voice, with lyrics reminiscent of Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart.

Cape Town - South African rock has a new, honest voice. Her name is Zoid - Karen Zoid.

It's a brave new voice, with lyrics reminiscent of Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart. And it tells things as they really are.

There has always been a gap in Afrikaans music: Koos and Valiant were there, but a female voice lacked, one who could comment on South Africa and life in general in a satirical and gripping way.

And now that gap is filled.

Zoid, whose debut album, Poles Apart was recently released, sings in English and Afrikaans. However, the Afrikaans songs are the impressive ones.

Comparisons are inevitable drawn with Sheryl Crow in reviews, however, things are not so simple as merely hanging a rock chic label around Zoid's neck. (Her voice in any case sounds a lot more like Suzanne Vega's).

The blonde singer/songwriter can wipe any local female rock singer termed as "the next great singer" under the table. However, it is her honest lyrics in particular that distinguishes her.

And all of it is autobiographical, she confesses. When she sings of life as a waitress, you can be sure that she has carried plates herself. When she sings about her sister in Potchefstroom, "and everybody there smokes boom", you know it is a firsthand account.

Zoid was born in Belgium, and shortly after the event her parents moved to Johannesburg. Her love of music comes from her father, a diplomat who later turned businessman. He also writes music, sings and plays the guitar. And he bought her first guitar.

She does not want to reveal too much, but everything didn't always go too smoothly. "I attended the National Arts School in Johannesburg, but dropped out."

She had been a rebellious teenager and ran away to Cape Town to do her own thing.

"I finally made matric through a correspondence course. My father and I were reconciled ... and I started concentrating on music.

"I was a member of punk and metal groups," she says. However, it had been songwriters like Joni Mitchell whom she listened to as a child at home, who had the biggest influence on her. "You see, they also sang about ordinary things happening to them, the same as me. People like my rock music, but I would prefer to do some more serene music."

And that is why contemporary artists like Kirsten Hirsch and Ben Harper inspire her. And locally, Valiant Swart.

"He has managed to support himself for years with his music only. Now he is well-known and he writes songs for other people. He is proof that it can be done."

Artists however, should be prepared to work very hard (she has performed at the strangest places in the countryside) and manage their careers like a business enterprise (this she does, it soon becomes evident).

When she started realising the group she was performing with, was holding her back, she left. Also leaving behind her Afrikaans surname in favour of the name Zoid.

Now she chooses the musicians she performs with, controls her shows and writes all her material herself. "I'm a rhymester by nature. A psychologist once told me it's a sign of schizophrenia," she says in earnest. She always has a determined, confident cast to her blue eyes. One can believe in her.

When Karen Zoid starts singing, people listen. As the huge crowd of supporters she had built up countrywide will testify.

Karen Zoid

Buy CDs

Buy South African CDs from
One World

One World


Download South African MP3s
from SAmp3.com


TOPback to where you came from
South Africa's Rock Legends
South African Rock Digest