It’s strange to read all these attention-seeking posts on Twitter. If it is not Kanye West mouthing off at someone about being broke, we last week had Simphiwe Dana and Ntskimazwai having a go at each other as well. Really? Is this going to help you sell music, or is it just another way to keep your name in the limelight?
Even poor old Sipho Mabuse got caught in the cross-Twitter-fire when he wanted to bring sanity to a situation and got shot down for trying. What I find so funny is that at the end of the week no one cared about that story, or any other for more than three minutes after it was first posted. Unless it goes viral of course, and we all know what happens when social media get behind stupid posts, now don’t we?
You are bombarded with all these messages on social media, whether it be ‘Fake’book, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat et al, but how do you actually seek out new music in this space? This point has bugged me for a while.
Did the Twitter wars, as mentioned above, make you buy any of those artists’ albums? What do you do when you crave new sounds? iTunes has loads of product, but how do you know what is good and critically acclaimed? Column centimetres in daily newspapers have all but dried up and searching out tastemaker reviews is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Commercial Radio gives very little airplay to material that does not fit the format they are broadcasting in and, to be perfectly honest, radio is pretty bland. They all seem to sing from the same hymn sheet and read the same book.
So where do you find out about music? I have, for many years, used the bibles of music, which in my opinion are Q magazine, Mojo and Rolling Stone. Artists like the new St Germain record called St Germain got four stars.
Readers should remember the classic debut album from 2000, called ‘Tourist’, that sold more than three million copies.
The latest New Order album ‘Music Complete’ got a rave review, never mind an act called Emille & Ogden, from Canada, with a debut album called ‘10000’. And finally a singer/songwriter called Nadia Reid, from New Zealand, with her debut album ‘Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs’, that also got four stars.
Closer to home, an album that landed in my paws was Sean Koch’s ‘Natural Progression’. Think Jack Johnson and you will know what Sean Koch is all about. He hails from Kommetjie and his roots sound is an organic blend of warm harmony, rich vocals, with fun-loving country and surf style rhythms. He’s one to watch in 2016, for sure.
Another new album that should not slip under the radar is multi award-winning Mozambican saxophonist Moreira Chonguica’s latest. He recently released his sixth album, ‘Live at the Polana’, under his Morestar Entertainment label. This is his first live album.
If these albums where not given to me, I would never have found the records, and therein lies the crux of the matter: how to get music out to people who want to find it, but might not know how to go about doing so.
I do know of some wonderful music stores .One is in Sea Point and called Upbeat Music, in The Piazza, St John. It stocks a large selection of local music, as well as the wonderful Putumayo series of albums. Their soundtrack selection is enviable and classical music collection impressive. Their DVD section is practically busting at the seams. The shop is small, but well worth a visit.
Also try the famous Mabu Vinyl, owned and run by Steve Segerman and Brian Currin, in Rheede Street, Gardens, for great vinyl and rare records. Added bonus: you never know who you will bump into in the store. For all things continental try the African Music Store in Long Street. All these stores are great to browse and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find what you are looking for that way.
Gig of the week
Playing to Full Houses throughout South Africa, The Jonny Cooper Big Band recreates the Swing era of the 1940s. Consisting of four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones and a rhythm section, the orchestra replicates the 1938 civilian orchestra of Glenn Miller.
Date: Sunday, February 21 at 6.30pm
Venue: Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, Corner Adam Tas & Libertas road, Stellenbosch
Bookings: Tickets at the door, or via Computicket