Well SAMA 22 came and went with loads of Twitter fuss and debate. In fact the Twitter hash tag and timeline provided better entertainment than the actual show.
The footage of the pre-show was so bad you almost couldn’t see anything on TV, but let’s focus on the music. This column went nuts about Nathi when we first heard his record, saying he would clean up at the awards ceremonies, and so he did – with no less than five awards on Saturday night past.
This brings me to the crux of this week’s article: South African music is in good health. The creative output is huge, except the gatekeepers, across all areas of the media landscape, are slow to change and embrace the outpouring of music.
Not all the music are hits, but the good always rises to the top when the dust settles. I have heard new albums from Andy Innes (Johnny Clegg’s musical MD) who teamed up with Billy Monama (Hotsix Mabuse’s lead guitar player) to make a stunning instrumental jazz album called ‘Brothers’. Graeme Watkins has a new album coming out in the next three weeks and Gallo Records are working with two hip-hop acts, Robot Prince and Lopi Native, from the Eastern Cape who are slowly making a noise.
RJ Benjamin is another who is pushing his work to new heights. He is fresh from ‘The Voice Nigeria’ and ‘Voice SA’ and has teamed up with Wanda Baloyi to write a smash hit called ‘Dali Wami’, sung in English and Zulu. RJ married in December last year and you can hear an infectious happiness in the track. Heart FM in Cape Town has been a supporter of his music and one should see no reason for this trend not to continue – after all, RJ did write one of Can Skylark’s bigger hits, called ‘So High’ (her album was nominated for a SAMA last week), which was on high rotation for weeks on the aforementioned station. RJ tells me his full album should be ready before November, and no doubt the record will have some Prince influences in the hooks and melodies, as RJ is influenced by Prince’s work and owns all 39 of the late-great master’s albums.
Cape Town’s top jazz band Top Dog has its debut album out too. Titled ‘Griqua DNA’, the band has some wonderful talent in Mornay Hoofmeester on drums, Camillo Lombard on keyboards, Don Vino on sax and Charlton Daniels on bass. The band has backed loads of great artists, but now it’s time for them to stand up on their own two feet, proverbially speaking, and establish themselves beyond Cape Town in the remaining six months of the year.
Rocking Horse has a new album out too, called ‘Highway Going Nowhere’. Clive and Tony Ridgway must be two of the finer songwriters in Cape Town, having penned songs for Jonathan Butler, The Boyz and Judith Sephuma, to name but a few. The album has strong melodic arrangements and deep, wonderful lyrics and is a testament of what is happening NOW. Even the cover shoot (the unfinished bridge near the Waterfront) gives an idea of the type of musical work one is to expect when listening to the record.
As Stimela used to sing, “Look, listen and decide.” Talent abounds.
Gig of the week
Saturday, June 11, from 6pm – Double bill at Oude Molen, Eco Village. The Recreational Hall – Block E, Alexandra Rd, Pinelands.
A fundraiser for SA 1st Forum, to enable future campaigns.
It’s two very special events, rolled up in one, topped off with curry and rice, included in the entrance price of R150 (Pay at the door):
• ‘Pay Back the Curry’ – a satire on current events, featuring funny man Daniel Mpilo Richards, produced by Siv Ngesi, directed by Rob van Vuuren and written by Mike van Graan;
• Top Dog Jazz Band, featuring: Don Vino (Saxophones), Camillo Lombard (Keyboards), Charlton Daniels (Bass), Mornay Hofmeester (Drums).