I felt a palpable excitement this week in going to get the autobiography by Bruce Springsteen, titled ‘Born to Run’. I quickly realised why I was drawn to the book – one word: authenticity. I saw him perform twice at the Belville Velodrome back in January 2014. It was a dynamic performance. Life changing. Each note played and sung as if it was the last one ever, on this earth. As an audience member you felt it.
Who in South African Music circles touches that space called authenticity, for you? Who leaves a spellbinding performance and who leaves you wanting more? Johnny Clegg, Karen Zoid, David Kramer, Abdulla, Springbok Nude Girls, Seether, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Bra Hugh, Hotstix, Black Coffee, Lira, Stimela?
What about the younger, newer acts in the market? Beatenberg, Lana Crowster, Zoe Modiga, The Soil, Jimmy Nevis, et-al; do they tick that box called authentic? I ask the question because when you read a book like ‘Born to Run’, you see just how much there really is to say. Do South African Artists not care to document the past and leave a legacy?
In researching this piece I found a fantastic read in the Guardian Newspaper (dated October 1, 2016). They wrote: “The British Library lists 41 titles with Springsteen as their subject matter, from biographies and photographic collections to Bruce Springsteen and Philosophy.
But, while impressive, the number of books about Springsteen is small compared to some other solo artists.
We worked this out by counting every title that lists a given rock star as its subject. The undisputed victor, unsurprisingly, is Bob Dylan, with 138 – three times as many as Springsteen.
John Lennon comes next with 98 titles; Elvis Presley ranks third with 97, while Michael Jackson and Bob Marley round out the top five. Madonna is the only female artists that ranks in the top 10 with 53 titles about her – a dozen more than Springsteen!”
Bra Hugh and Lira and Lloyd Cele all have books out and so does David Kramer. We also have a plethora of political experts that all have books out, yet there is a dearth of pulp on popular music in South Africa. Are we too lazy to document the stories, or do we not find them interesting enough? Is it too much effort to do even an oral history on your musical story?
Gig of the week
While the hip set is away rocking the Daisy, why not try Straight no Chaser in Observatory to listen to Babalwa Meintjies. The Eastern Cape songbird swings through a cooking African jazz repertoire with her combo of muso’s.
A graduate of the UKZN School of Music, she has performed at festivals and venues across the country, including the 2014 Standard Bank National Arts Festival alongside the likes of Gloria Bosman, Melanie Scholtz, Tutu Puoane and more.
Expect to hear a swinging selection of original compositions and standards, including: ‘Meadowlands’, ‘Pata Pata’, ‘Lakutshon’ilanga’, ‘Ntyilo Ntyilo’, ‘Yakhal’Inkomo’, ‘Click Song’ and ‘Jikela Emaweni’.
Sets at 8.30pm and 10pm.
Admission: R60 per set, or R100 all night; students & pensioners: R50
Address: 87 Station Rd, Observatory. (Near the library and Chinese Martial Arts Centre, and the train station.)
Call 076 679 2697 for more info.