We all know Christmas time is about family, togetherness, holiday and fun. But where in Cape Town have you seen the snow falling and the chestnuts roasting? In fact, for us on the southern tip of Africa, the dream of a White Christmas is exactly that: a dream.
Lucy Tops and Gary Naidoo, together wth BluRoom Records, recognised that although perennials like Boney M and Mariah Carey will never go amiss at Christmas time (especially in shopping malls), we do not have our very own Christmas identity. And, that while our Northern Hemisphere equivalents are experiencing a white Christmas, many Capetonians have never experienced real snow and do not even know what a chestnut is. They are too busy braai-ing and basking in the sun around the pool in shorts, bathing suits and tank tops.
The CD, simply titled ‘This Christmas’, features six original tracks penned by Tops and Naidoo, as well as three cover versions of popular Christmas favourites, including ‘Oh Holy Night’ and an a-capela rendition of ‘Silent Night’.
The Next 48hOURS got the lowdown from Tops and Naidoo on their Christmas themed creation.
What inspired you guys to compose a Christmas album for the holidays?
NAIDOO: We wanted to create something original to listen to for Cape Town audiences, other than the usual Boney M’s and Mariah Carey’s annual replays over the festive season. Don’t get me wrong, I still love their music but we wanted something a little closer to home and something people can relate to.
TOPS: Every year we listen to festive music that certainly adds to the spirit of Christmas, but didn’t really connect to what Christmas was like in Cape Town. Most of my Christmas days have been spent in the swimming pool or just spending time outside with the family. I feel like we have written an album that reflects these special summertime holiday moments.
Tell us a little about the recording process and the songs you ultimately decided to include on the album. What’s the general flavour of the compositions?
TOPS: Gary and I both enjoy making people laugh so we have added the track ‘12 Days of Christmas’ with our own special Capetonian flavour. We are also lovers of harmonies and quality musicians. A lot of time was spent on these songs and our personal taste in music is also evident in each track. As you listen, you will notice quite a few genres were explored during the recording of this album. Most of the songs are feel-good, but we do have something for those who have lost loved ones, or perhaps are lonely this time of year. I hope you feel like someone is thinking of you when you listen to our album. We were very lucky to have such talented musicians (Simon van Harte on bass and James Reynard on lead guitar) and an amazing producer, Denzil Thorne, on our tracks.
What are some of your personal favourite holiday songs?
TOPS: Nat King Cole – ‘The Christmas Song’. He is one of my all-time favourite voices and even when it’s not that time of year, if I hear his voice it takes me back to many a special time. His voice sounds like Christmas to me. Country artist Kacey Musgraves has a wonderful festive album that has now been added my favourites.
NAIDOO: Definitely Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’, only because it reminds me of my sister singing it at top volume at Christmas time.
Where can people buy the album?
TOPS: ‘This Christmas’ will be on sale this year at the ‘Boogielicious’ show at Artscape, from November 21 to 26.
You can also pre-order it from Rafiek Mammon by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.