Soul Sessions SA Fundraiser For Paige Mac
Photos by Ryan Miller
The much anticipated evening had finally arrived and I felt like a child. A music evening of a difference was to be held at Alive Café in Muizenberg. Alive Cafe Creative Experience Hub is an artistic studio, theatre and live music venue with a coffee shop and eatery that supports the creative space and initiatives. Alive Café want to inspire creativity. The staff are phenomenal and they make delicious meals and coffees. To find out more about them, follow them on Facebook:
A little background on the reason for the evening, so to speak – Paige MacMahon, the name that should speak for itself. Paige is well known throughout S.A. in her personal capacity and as part of her band, Paige Mac.
Paige MacMahon came to Cape Town 3-4 years ago, with literally just her suitcase and a few prized possessions. When Paige and her best friend Kassie landed at Cape Town International they hailed a taxi. The taxi driver turned around and asked ‘where to?’ Without a moment’s hesitation, Paige replied ‘Long Street’, as this was a street that Paige had heard much about. That week, Paige and Kassie literally walked the streets of Cape Town looking for jobs. Little did Paige realize at the time, where her road would lead her. A couple of days later her cousin contacted her and invited her to come and visit him in Fish Hoek, namely Garry van Vuuren. A lot of stepping stones were being put into place as the adventure began to unfold.
Paige and Garry joined forces to form the band and it has grown in leaps and bounds. In the last two years Paige has opened for Lira at Sun City, appeared on Expresso and Top Billing just to mention a few.
After a magical couple of years of creating beautiful music together, Garry and Paige amicably decided to cut the bond due to work commitments on Garry’s part, as well as much needed family time.
Paige however didn’t have a car of her own and as such her income goes directly to taxi services to get her and her band to their gigs. This has become a very costly affair. Taxi services can charge anywhere between R250-R300 for a one way trip to Cape Town, hence the idea to have a much needed fundraiser, to raise funds for this purpose.
We decided to raise funds, however big or small to support Paige, as I feel very strongly about local community, I put a plan into action. Even if it is a drop in the ocean, it is a start and it will continue to grow with time and possibly more exciting initiatives will be birthed, as a result.
When I initially decided to run with the idea, I didn’t realize that it would escalate to the proportion that it did. Musicians voluntarily came on board to offer their services, without receiving a cent in return. Our MC for the night, Malcolm Alexander, came on board and did a top notch job of entertaining all the guests for the evening. Malcolm may I add – you were born to do this; I think you missed your calling in life. Many prizes were up for grabs, ranging from Wimpy Vouchers, Holiday Accommodation, Hair Vouchers, Jewellery and massages. Mark, our ‘sound guy’ did a superb job of making sure that everything sounded just right. Ryan Miller was our official photographer of the evening and all I can say is, Ryan you captured the essence of what the evening was about. THANK YOU for these amazing photos.
As the people grabbed a drink and nibbled on snacks, the evening unfolded before our eyes.
First up was the beautiful Jennifer Eaves, who had everyone spellbound. Jennifer started singing at the tender age of 16 and hasn’t stopped. Her voice sends shivers down the spine. Her vocal range is incredible and her lyrics are deep, personal and meaningful. Jennifer was part of the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Festival this year and at the time,I felt honoured to be sitting in the Baxter Theatre watching this gifted lady sing with such soul and beauty.
I remember people clapping wildly after her performance. Her name has been on many lips since and this is no small surprise.
To find out more about Jennifer, follow her on Facebook:
Next up was Donny Barnett (also known as Mr Quack/Donald) and MellyBird. I had spoken to Donny when I first met him, as part of the Mamma Gogo Intiative, which is just one of many projects he steers. I think it would be unfair, not to share that he is a very accomplished artist in every sense of the word. Donny has many years of experience in painting, graphic design and the like, check out some of his fine work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donaldsart/sets/. He does work on commission basis for many clients and is open to new projects.
A couple of months ago the Longbeach Mall hosted the Cape Town World Design Capital incentive and welcomed Donny’s initiative to bring on board traders from all walks of life. They came from Masiphumele as well as further up the line, showcasing their creative works of art. It was such a joy to see handcrafted items for sale by our very own locals. So often we tend to support big business, so watching shoppers place money into the hands of those who worked long hours to proudly produce such fine pieces, was a heartwarming experience. The chandeliers were some of the hottest items for sale. Clothing, jewellery and many other beautiful works were on display. The feeling of brotherhood was visibly felt, as one walked through the mall. Donny’s purpose is to empower the community by reaching out to them and enabling them through these kinds of initiatives and this is just a very small part of a very big picture. Donny is part of an initiative called Mamma Gogo, which is a non-profit organization. Read more here: https://www.facebook.com/MammaGogoAdventures
Now that I have painted the background of the artist, let us move on to the gifting of music. Donny is a team player in every sense of the word and he approached Mellybird to join him as a duo for his performance for the evening. Mellybird is a unique young lady who specializes in flute and violin and her passion is visibly displayed on her face for all to see. It has been twelve years since this lovely lady played and we left richer for the experience.
Mellybird also has her own little business – namely MellyBird&You, which has an artistic flair to it. Find out more on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MellyBirdandYou
We wish her well with her future career.
Donny’s opening song swept across the room like a powerful wind – intense and gusty.
It was as if something within him was waiting to be released. This is the power of music and it was felt by everyone in the room, because that is what wind is to nature, it is a force that sweeps through nature –invisible, yet visible by what it touches – a deep mystery. I heard some folk whisper ‘he sounds like Neil Young’.
Keep your eyes firmly peeled, as I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of these two talented artists.
Next up was the Stone Jets – Given and Manfred make a fine pair and together they create music that tugs at the heartstrings. From the very first moment I experienced them I was moved. Given has such soul.
His voice can melt the hardest of hearts. On a cold winter’s night his voice would bring internal warmth, which will start out as a small flame and soon it will ignite and become a glowing fire. When I listen to Stone Jets my mind envisions the soul singers of an era gone by, an emotional expression is felt.
Given has a natural gift and if there was a fitting name for him, it would have to be ‘Mr Personality’, because his personality and stage presence is something rare – it is a gift that he shares with great gusto. From sad songs to joyous ones he brings it alive on that stage.
Manfred is Given’s right hand man and does back-up vocals and plays guitar as well as bass and keyboards. Manfred has been playing for about 11 years and started at the tender age of 14. Manfred literally became addicted to making his dream come true. He runs his very own sound and recording studio. These guys are on a roll. Catch them at Blonde&Beard every Sunday afternoon in December. It is an experience that you will never forget. Their links: https://www.facebook.com/stone.jets and https://soundcloud.com/stone-jets-music and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvUD3SVTamA
Steve Van is a man that has a heart for folk and rock. Since listening to Steve’s album I have discovered true beauty in his unique style of music which isn’t just this, but so much more. His music is easy on the ear and when listening to him a certain peace washes over my soul. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve when he agreed to do a few couch jams at the Longbeach Mall in aid of the Mamma Gogo Initiative. Steve’s music ‘wows’ people wherever he goes and he has played extensively throughout the country. His songs are written skillfully and with much thought and feeling. Steve’s latest album is entitled “Words for Walls” which is a collection of his acoustic/rock/alt rock songs from past to present.
Steve’s “Into the Sky” was used in the television ad for Volkswagen, namely “Saying Goodbye to Citi Golf“. One of Steve’s most powerful songs written is Faceless (Rhino Song), it was written to raise awareness of the disgraceful act of rhino poaching in Africa. Together with Goosebump Film Productions, Steve has produced a beautiful music video for Faceless, which can be viewed on the following YouTube link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEXg-v_ZFJ0 – I know of people that have become firm fans through the years and some attend almost every show, this in itself speaks volumes.
To find out when Steve is performing in your area, follow him on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/svanmusic and listen to his songs here: http://www.reverbnation.com/stevevan
Sean Koch was up next and I was deeply touched that Sean agreed to come and join us for our evening, despite it being his birthday. Writing his own songs, he writes them creatively and he has a strong reggae/alternative folk feel to his music. Sean has played the djembe from an early age, which he taught himself. The rhythm and beat subtly speaks through his smooth guitar riffs and softly sung lyrics and it is this fresh and individual sound which has garnered him a rapid breakthrough into the incredibly rich and diverse Cape Town music scene.
His creative style is so evident of those who hail from Kommetjie, a quaint little seaside village where mountains, sea and nature surround you. It was not the first time I was experiencing Sean as a musician, as I had watched him at the Cape Farmhouse about a year ago.
Many gathered together to listen to Sean’s music, which has the ability to get the feet tapping, the heads bopping and soon thereafter the people were swaying to the hypnotic sounds. This particular day the community were in high spirits as they danced freely under the African Sky.
To find out more about Sean, here are his links:
Just before Paige Mac were about to take to the stage as the final act, a man dressed in black picked up a guitar and walked onto the stage – this man was none other than Joshua Grierson.
Joshua has just returned from his final folk tour from up country and it was a delight to have him join us for the evening, let alone sing a few of his heart rendering songs. Joshua is currently doing his last couple of shows before he undertakes a brand new venture, which promises to be exciting and thrilling. Joshua is well known throughout South Africa, having performed at most of the major festivals – his name is well known and is featured extensively in the media world. He astounds audiences with his captivating performances and many a review has been written about him. Let me share one:
The sweat rolls down his brow
His entire body aches and weaves with some internal, now exposed dance
His fingers are rattling on his fret board like scattered bones on the sand
And the feet connected to his rubber legs, are stomping a new hole in the stage
Passion and soul – this is Joshua Grierson in a nutshell.
Joshua is one of the most versatile artists I have experienced. His music is like a wild roller coaster ride which can take you to new heights. As one of Joshua’s greatest fans, I eagerly await this new identity/ride which will be unveiled soon. I wish him well on his journey, which I am sure will be a very fruitful one. Here are his links to keep up to date with where he is performing and all the latest news: https://www.facebook.com/joshuagriersonmusic
Paige Mac took to the stage at the end of the evening and did what they do best. A band that is entertaining, soothing, enthralling, captivating, beguiling and delightful – just a couple of words that encapsulate what Paige Mac is about.
Once experienced, Paige’s music infiltrates your heart where it remains. It is like a budding flower that keeps getting more and more beautiful with time.
A little quote about their music – Paige Mac’s sound could be described as progressive acoustic soul with a folk rock edge. However they chose to describe it one thing is for certain, it appeals to people with diverse range of music tastes. With Paige Mac’s ability to cross cultural, racial and age boundaries, this band is going places!
As a band they give their all in each and every performance and each show is something new and fresh and they touch lives wherever they go. Paige Mac, I know the future is yours and it is a very bright one. Keep shining that beautiful light.
Follow Paige Mac on Facebook:
So a beautiful night came to an end. I want to say a big thank you to everyone that played such an important role in bringing this night together. Without you, it would not have been possible. Thank you!