SA Artists in London
TROUBADOUR'S AT THE TROUBADOUR
Erik Windrich @ The Troubadour, Earls Court, 9 June 2004
Last time I saw Erik at the Troubadour, he had a full band with him. Tonight, due to illness of the bass player, it was just him and Mosi, his Kora-playing partner. This meant that we were treated to a sort of unplugged gig. The kora is a beautiful sounding instrument, and Mosi was able to extract sounds out of his, that I've not heard any other kora player make. Now I’m no expert on the kora, but I got the impression that he is prepared to be more experimental than most.
That of course fits in with Erik as he is also one prepared to explore new sounds and mixes of instruments. As he showed with éVoid, he is still capable of writing catchy tunes, and none more so than their opener, 'Weeping', with its cascading kora sound mingling with Erik's guitar. He accompanied this with shakers of a sort that were attached to his ankles to add a small rhythm section.
Both are highly skilled musicians and it's interesting to watch as they seem to immerse themselves in their music. Most of the songs came from 'Backyard Discovery', but in their second set, they did a piece which was a Mosi number and more in the West African style.
I do think that they suffered a bit in the second set due to the lack of a full rhythm section as the crowd had got a few drinks in and become quite loud, so it was a bit of an uphill struggle for the duo, but they battled on manfully, and those of us who were there to see them were still able to enjoy it.
Erik is just starting out on a second career in the music biz. We South Africans know what he is capable of and are able to recognise and appreciate what he is doing now, hopefully the rest of the world will soon come to know and love this talented guy.
THE WINDRICH OF CHANGE
Erik Windrich at the Troubadour in Earls Court, 24 March 2004
A South African ex-Pat, an Englishman, a Spaniard and a Griot from Guinea walk into a bar. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, however I can assure you that if the bar is the Troubadour and the night is last Wednesday it is rather the start of a great night out.
The Troubadour is a great intimate venue and on the night in question featured 4 acts each playing 3 songs then doing another 3 song set in reverse order, so the evening started and ended with Erik Windrich and his band which as already mentioned contained an Englishman (bass), a Spaniard (drums) and a Guinean Griot (on kora and electric guitar).
With this mix of nationalities, it is hardly surprising that the band had a world music feel and sound. Erik seems to have taken the South African afro pop of éVoid and expanded it to become a broad all encompassing sound. This is then coupled with his highly insightful and at times deeply introspective lyrics to beautiful effect.
Their first set opened with 'Weeping' (no not that 'Weeping'), a touching song that seemed to speak of Erik's search for a place to call home. Given that he was born in Holland, moved to South Africa and then moved (as) to England in what could quite easily be regarded as living in exile, it would take a pretty tough soul not to be moved by it.
The kora is a fascinating instrument. Known as the African harp it looks rather weird (indeed quite phallic as the evening's compere needlessly pointed out) but in Mosi Conde's hands it produced a sweet sound that gave the music an injection of African Angelicism set against a western rock backdrop. And Erik still knows how to rock. The up tempo 'Wild And Wonderful Summer' with its opening line of 'Rainbow People On Green Market Square' reminds us that Erik still has a strong connection to SA, while 'Drift Away' has a strong refrain. However, the highlight for me was when Erik and Mosi bashed out a rhythmic tune on their balafons (Xylophones in case you didn't know). This had my foot doing triple time in the tapping department.
Despite his lyrics seeming to indicate an unsettled soul still searching, Erik comes across as a man very much at peace with life and getting huge amounts of pleasure from performing the music which he quite clearly loves deeply. This feeling is transmitted in the music and makes for an exceptional night out.
And the barman says 'Why the long face'….no, no hang on that's the wrong punch line, he says 'at these prices I'm not surprised'…oh no damn!! I can never tell these things properly.
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