Music Exchange: February… a month of contrasts

Music Exchange: February… a month of contrasts

By Marftin Myers

February is all about love – Valentine’s Day, to be more precise. Or is it all about the start of the Super Rugby marathon? Take your pick, but either way, the world’s creative industry will be getting together to pat one another on the back, all in front of a billion or two punters watching via the world wide web. It’s awards month, and yes… we love it!
The pinnacle of artistic achievement is recognised with career longevity for those smart enough to embrace the opportunity. I believe in The Academy Awards (or Oscars). Come February 22 film and related fields, or the Grammy Awards, for music, on February 8, applaud and reward the best in their respective disciplines. The other significant awards ceremony is the Brit Awards, in the UK, on the 25th.

Do the results shape our viewing and purchasing patterns? The red carpet certainly influences the gossip and tabloid press for weeks prior to the event, and fills pages post event. Some of the comments and outfits boarder on the ridiculous, as do the soapbox speeches, when accepting awards. But hey, that’s entertainment.

One awards event that happens without the glitz and glamour in South Africa is the Wawela Awards (Wawela is a Zulu word meaning ‘go beyond’). Proudly in its third year, entries for the 2015 Wawela Awards close on February 28.
The awards are based on the Ivor Novella Awards, in the UK, and are open to all Samro members, composers, authors, songwriters and publishers. The awards celebrate South African music creators on the local and international stage over a defined period.
Some notable winners over the last two years include Cape Town’s own Black Porcelain, armed with a sound somewhere between Nina Simone and Diana Ross; and Auriol Hays, who has won the award for Best Creative Album. (Have a listen to her album ‘Invisible Summer’.)
UCT graduate Phillip Miller took the award for Best Soundtrack in a feature film or documentary.

Jerry Barnard who not only runs a hugely successful studio, but is also the leader of the band, Late Final, won the award for Best Song in a television commercial.
District 6-born Trevor Jones won the award for Breaking Through The Borders’ for his outstanding work in film. Having scored the music in over 100 movies, including the iconic ‘Last of the Mohicans’, ‘Angel Heart’, ‘The Dark Crystal’ and ‘Nottinghill’, to name but a few. A little known fact that is that the 2015 Cape Town International Jazz Festival will welcome Courtney Pine, who played the saxophone parts on the soundtrack to ‘Angel Heart’, all originally composed and arranged by Jones.
Last year’s winner at The Oscars, for Best Original Score, was the futuristic, electro-synth score for ‘Gravity’, composed by Steven Price. Jones spent years mentoring Steve, and possibly one of the first major jobs he worked on was at Cape Town Film Studios. I went to see the movie because of the score, so yes the awards shaped my viewing patterns. The movie, starring Sandra Bullock, was not great in my opinion but I loved the music. So perhaps, in the end, recognition in acclaimed awards shows do influence viewing patterns?

Gig of the week
Blues-rock master guitarist Albert Frost will team up with jazz-electro, hip-pop soulster Toya Delazy on vocals and piano and the innovative, funky Lee Thomson on trumpet at Straight No Chaser, 79 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, on Wednesday, February 11. There are two sets: one at 8pm, and a second at 10pm. An intimate, stripped down quirky collaboration between three unique musical maestros and personalities…who knows what outlandish things might happen.

Twitter: @martinmyers