It was that time of the year when the Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival was to take place at the Baxter Theatre. I could hardly contain my excitement as yet another show lay ahead. On Saturday 31 August 2014 as we entered the theatre, we noticed that the place was filled to capacity with people. I was thrilled to bits to find out a week before, that the show had been a sold out event. People stood around enjoying a drink and eagerly awaiting what was about to happen.
The Baxter Theatre was transformed into a beautiful setting with a huge backdrop with sunflowers and a windmill stood on the stage – a true country feeling was felt and this added to the magical atmosphere that is the Baxter Theatre.
When the intercom came on to announce that the show was about to begin, people began filing into the auditorium. Gavin Minter – the organizer of the event, was called out onto the stage. I have to mention, that Gavin Minter has done a superb job of bringing the finest musicians together at these events and to pull off an event of this nature takes hard work, guts, determination and of course love and passion for the industry.
Every year, two artists are teamed up to share the stage. This year they had a competition where two acts were selected to be the opening acts for the event. Jennifer Eaves was first to take to the stage and her voice was light and sweet. It washes over you with a silky softness and you feel as if your heart will melt. Jennifer’s voice never faltered from beginning to end and the crowd loved her. To listen to some of her music, click on this link: https://www.reverbnation.com/jennifereaves?utm_campaign=FacebookSharing_v3&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=thumbnail&utm_content=artist_1646389
Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifereavesmusic
To quote Jennifer: ‘Song writing for me is an out pouring of my experiences and observations intertwined with Faith and God, justice and injustice, reality and dream. Music is the language that brings these things together and continues to hold deep mysteries worth exploring’.
Hatchetman is a a relatively new band, but phenomenal is a word to describe them! Jonathan Tait writes the lyrics and together they form a folk band with an emphasis on three piece harmonies. When I listen to them I’m reminded of some of the late great bands. To get a feel for what they’re about watch them on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUD-ovngMxM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-oqbXEAoeU
Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hatchetmanband
Carla Conradie and Evelyn Hart came together for the evening and captivated the audience with their performance. Carla Conradie is not only a beautiful young woman, but a talented artist that is fast becoming well known around Cape Town. Her voice is melodic and flows easily soothing your soul. Her lyrics are heartfelt and sincere. Take a listen here: http://www.reverbnation.com/carlaconradie and follow her on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carla.conradie.band
Evelyn Hart is a fresh and dynamic musician who I had the privilege to watch at a Fundraiser Event. Evelyn drew people in with her presence and her name is mentioned around every corner. Listen to her here: https://soundcloud.com/evelynhartmusic
Quote: From the intimate space of a writer, the alcove of an artist and the well lived-in hollows of a craftswoman, Evelyn Hart comes with music and a voice that need the full attention of the heart to describe. In her music is a taste of the seasons and the landscapes of the heavens and the earth; of rich storytelling; of love and the darkest wonder.
Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evelynhartmusic/timeline
Error Dyers accompanied David Ledbetter and he is a Jazz guitarist. I had to dig a bit to find some information on this man with a beautiful gift.
Quote: ‘More than anything, it is Cape Town that has influenced my sound”. Unlike many of his contemporaries Errol has not had the good fortune of studying music, but instead learnt his music on the street drawing inspiration from the natural rhythms of both Cape Town and the people of the mother city, allowing people to interpret themselves through the music.
His style can be described as Cape Jazz, and some of the songs on his debut album, ‘Sonesta’, incorporated songs that are almost a hundred years old and stem from the earliest strummings of the Cape people that have been passed down through the generations.
Since his childhood days Errol has looked up to the local Cape Town musicians like The Kwella Kids and of course Abdullah Ibrahim – with whom Errol had the privilege of playing in 1990 when he toured the UK along with Robbie Jansen and the late Basil Coetzee. The highlight of the tour being a live broadcast on BBC. This is just a little tidbit on Errol. To find out more read the full article here: http://www.music.org.za/artist.asp?id=169
David Ledbetter is part of a band called Deep South- Dave Ledbetter and Ronan Skillen – their music is inspired by the natural environment in Cape Town’s southern peninsula, and fuses styles ranging from world and jazz to blues and acoustic groove. It was such a treat watch Errol and David play together. Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DeepSouthDaveLedbetterAndRonanSkillen/timeline
Another duo that bears mentioning was Nadia Kruger and Wayne Pauli – from the moment Wayne Pauli started singing , my spirit felt awakened – not only does he have an exceptional voice, but a quirky personality that grabs you from beginning to end. Find some of Wayne Pauli’s music on this link as part of the band The Stremes:
This was the first time I was watching Nadia Kruger and I had been looking forward to this day for two years. I had been listening to her music online and telling myself I need to get to one of her shows. Everything that I envisioned and more, I experienced on this night! Nadia has such power in her voice.
After listening to her, I realized that Nadia grew up with a deep love for music, because it emanates from her like the air that she breathes. Dynamite certainly comes in small packages. Nadia is part of a band called Nuka – give her music a listen, you won’t be disappointed, here is the link: http://soundcloud.com/nukaandthefire
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Nukaandthefire
Looking around me, I could see that the people gathered here were experiencing something special and it showed in their smiles and excited faces.
The next moment, a man walked onto the stage wearing a ‘techi-colour dream coat’ of sorts and I thought Joseph had just entered the building. The first impression created, was that here is a man with stage presence and personality to boot – a face, that couldn’t withhold a smile and certain facial expressions that added to his whole persona. Listening to him sing, I realized that he sang with every ounce of his soul and it was displayed on his face for all to see. I then found out that this man goes by the name Jack Mantis – a man of mystery and intrique. To find out more about Jack, find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/15337700421/
Jack was joined by the band Touchwood – a band that has certainly made a name for itself in SA. The band is known for their vocal harmonies, guitar, ukulele, violin, cello, African marimba and drums. Touchwood definitely has something very different – I had visions of sitting around a camp fire with nothing around me, except the bush and the stars shining brightly up high and listening to their beautiful sounds – their music embraces you with warmth and makes you feel like you’re living in some fantasy world. Here is the link to their Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/touchwoodtheband/timeline and listen to their sound here: https://soundcloud.com/touchwoodtheband
Derek Gripper is a classically trained guitar player and has gained great renown throughout SA. Derek has also travelled internationally sharing his gift with the world. Derek’s years of experience are evident. His accomplishments are as long as my arm and I can honestly say I was stunned at his ability. I sat mesmerized by his brilliance and you could hear a pin drop.
To quote: “Five stars…Gripper has brilliantly transferred [the kora] repertoire onto a regular six string guitar. He sees [Toumani] Diabaté as the Segovia, or indeed John Williams, of the kora, championing it as a solo instrument. And Gripper brilliantly takes it back to the guitar. He’s opening a whole new repertoire of classical guitar music…bringing African guitar into the classical mainstream.” [Simon Broughton]. A description: His music draws on European classical traditions, avant-garde Brazilian works, Malian kora works, Cape Town’s folk styles such as ghoema/goema and vastrap, and even Indian classical music, all the while synthesising them into a style uniquely his own. Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Derek-Gripper/96324419029
Derek was accompanied by Rheza Kota – no words can describe this man’s brilliance. Please go check out his website: http://rezakhota.com/biog/
Another man that made an appearance was none other than Chris Tokalon – well respected and looked up to in the music industry. To quote – Playing sax and flute since 1979 in a wide variety of jazz ensembles, musicals and cabarets, he has also blazed an adventurous trail of originality in the South African music scene with bands and artists such as Peto, the Jazz Hounds, Steve Newman, Tony Cox, Heather Mac , Hilton Schilder, Jennifer Ferguson, Drum Cafe and his own jazz/ world music project, Soulbird. It is no small wonder that Chris is so talented! Find out more about him on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chris.tokalon?ref=br_tf
Their accomplishments are too many to mention and their skill and techniques are exceptional.
Music truly takes one on a journey and this journey was one filled with many colours.
Find James Grace on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesGraceGuitar/timeline
A husband and wife team brought a special touch to the evening and they are known as Digby and The Lullaby. Farryl Purkiss joined them on stage. To quote: From Cape Town to New York, Rouchelle Hubsch (on piano and vocals), and Darren Peens (on guitar and vocals) have cast their indie-folk spell on audiences everywhere. Digby and the lullaby have a flair for intimate performances, and single out the theatre as their favourite place to play. “Theatres are irresistible,” smiles Rouchelle. “It makes our connection with the audience so real and tangible.”
Truth if ever – you could feel the connection between them and this feeling was conveyed to the audience.
To find out more about them, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/digbyandthelullaby
Watch them on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjlUvQFA2aI
Farryl Purkiss is an artist whose name I have heard on many lips, but I must confess I had not yet listened to his music. One day last week I happened to see him on the Expresso Show on SABC 3. He blew me away with his gentle spirit and gift of music. When exploring the net to find out more about Farryl, I found his website had a list of accomplishments that are so extensive it would take many hours to even put them into words. Farryl is one mighty, talented man who continues to stir the soul with his heartfelt songs.
Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FarrylPurkiss/timeline
Another artist that I had not heard before was Dave Ferguson (aka Lonesome Dave). Dave is very popular in Cape Town and plays at many venues and has taken his solo act to many countries abroad. He has lived in the UK for many years and his knowledge and talent is visibly seen and felt. Dave performs with an energy and vigor that is admirable. To find out more about him check out his facebook:
Listen to his music here: http://www.soundcloud.com/lonesomedave
Blacksmith is a band that is both entertaining and one of the longest playing bands around. The band was formed in 1970 and their music style has drifted towards Acoustic and their repertoire contains Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, English, Irish and Scottish Traditional, Acapella Rap, Modern and Ancient Pop, Hard Rock and Boeremusiek – so no real focus then, but a reflection of a band that has been going for almost 40 years. From the moment they started playing people sat up and took notice. They entertained the audience in every sense of the word. To find out more about them, follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blacksmith/192258127451521?sk=timeline
Two young artists that I’ve had the absolute pleasure and delight to watch perform are Jeremy du Plessis and Miles Sivewright. The two, took to the stage and did what comes so naturally to the both of them. Watching Jeremy I was again astounded by his deepness for someone so young. Music that touches your heart with a tight grip and once it takes hold, it never lets go. https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-douglas
Find out more about Jeremy on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jeremydouglasmusic
When I think of Miles Sivewright I think of the beauty of the earth we live on. His music has a way of creating beautiful images in your mind of nature and faraway places. It is a beautiful feeling and it is therapy for the body and soul. Find him on facebook:
Take a listen here: http://soundcloud.com/milessievwright
Louise Day and the twin sisters Leandi and Lelani van der Berg combined their beautiful harmonies, melodies and rhythm and every eye in the theatre was focused on them. Louise Day is a vivacious young woman with a beautiful heart and her latest video was filmed on the streets of Cape Town. Louise fondly speaks about the people coming out onto the streets to offer tea and cake – this is a lady who loves people and it shows. Louise spent many years in America and no small wonder she has the talent and stage personality that makes her the person that she is. Her brand new video ‘Closer’ is being released in the UK and America, watch it on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NkufLZntSQ
Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Louise.Day.Music/timeline
I have been fortunate enough to witness Mark Haze in action a couple of times. Each and every time it is a new experience. Mark brings his absolute all on a stage and he is a born entertainer. He has an energy that is infectious and rubs off on his audience. His personality is so big and it shouts out for all the world to see. Mark’s passion for music started at a young age and he continues to do what he does with his whole being. Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarkHaze12/timeline
Jesse Jordan teamed up with Mark and I realized that I know very little about him. Here is a little history on Jesse and his band: ‘Jesse Jordan Band recorded their debut album, “Lately When She Cries” released in 2000 through Universal Records. Their first single “Eastern Bridge” garnered widespread radio airplay and bagged them the winning slot for 1999’s “Shell Road To Fame” “Pop/Rock” category.’ Jesse is someone to keep an eye on. Follow him on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JesseJordanBand/timeline
Last but not least was Art Matthews and Vusi Masikela both household names in S.A.
Ard is well known as the singer for Just Jinjer, having sold more than a quarter of a million albums to date. I was excited to say the least, when I heard that he was to perform at the festival. Ard has one of the most powerful voices I have ever heard. His voice has a beautiful tone to it and a deep quality. Rumor has it, that Ard sang at a restaurant one evening while working as a waiter, where he was immediately offered a regular gig, and was soon making a good living on the JHB circuit as a solo performer. This is just a little tidbit of the rich history that is Ard Matthews. Here is his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ardmatthews – Watch Just Jinjer’s beautiful video ‘What He Means on You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxDjJ5h6KaI
Joining Ard on stage, was none other than Vusi Masikela – Vusi was a boy from Mamelodi. Black South African music was hard to come by and was banned from being played on the radio so they listened to American music – James Brown. Motown. The Commodores and whatever South African and African recordings they could find: Mahotella Queens, Mahlatini Queens, Miriam Makeba, Dark City Sisters, Fela Kuti. Young Vusi and his neighborhood friends formed a little band of their own and started making music of their own, inspired by the recordings they heard wafting out of the Shebeen. Vusi built his first guitar from fishing line and a cooking oil can and taught himself how to play. In 1976, Vusi’s political education began as he witnessed the devastating massacre of more than 200 black South Africans in the Soweto Uprising. Vusi responded through his music, inspiring other musicians and listeners around him. This is just a little bit behind the man that is Vusi Masikela – read more on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vusimahlasela/timeline.
Vusi is truly a man to be admired and looked up to and he has a father heart for people and the community, which comes across strongly in his mannerisms and his warm heart as he shares his gift for all to see. I felt so privileged to be part of something so beautiful that was unfolding before my eyes. Sitting there watching Vusi, I felt a feeling of pride for our country and I count it a blessing to be part of such a rich and diverse culture.
I am excited to see what awaits us with the next edition of this fabulous event. To find out when the next event will take place and to stay up to date with all the happenings, follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cape-Town-Folk-n-Acoustic-Music-Festival/113231878787427