7th July 2021
Today I am featuring three South African musicians of varying styles and all of exceptional talent. Two of them are from the same era and have been a part of the local music scene for decades. The third is a much younger, lovely man who hails from the South Coast of Kwa Zulu Natal. The three songs all hit my suggested clips over the past week so I thought it a good time to go local.
We start with a new track from Robin Auld. I remember Robin Auld playing in Cape Town late night spots like Hazels and Speakeasy during the early 80s and he already had his own distinctive sound, both as a solo artist and with his band Z-Astaire. Since those far-distant days he has released in excess of 20 albums, is a published author and now runs Shoreline Songs, a music placement agency that promotes local roots artists. A visit to their YouTube channel will lead you to a selection of playlists with music ideal for any advert, movie or presentation. It’s also a great source to hear South African artists who may not have as much airplay as they deserve.
Our first song comes from his latest album, Fingers in my Pocket, released in April this year. The song Martha’s Aces shows that Robin Auld hasn’t lost any of his skill over the years. If anything, he’s only got better. This is world class.
The second musician is considered one of the most accomplished guitarists in South Africa, three-time SAMA award winning Tony Cox. There are few local music lovers who don’t know his name and his finger-picking genius, but for our far-flung friends I’ll give a potted history. Zimbabwe born, South African for many years and now living in the UK, Tony assimilates folk, Jazz and classical guitar styles with an underpinning of African and world influences. He often recorded with another huge name, Steve Newman of the band Tananas, and to date has released 19 albums, all of them exemplary.
The World Went Quiet, his latest album was released last month and in Tony’s own words; “ I am so excited about the new music that make up this new album, I am champing at the bit to get it done. The tunes range from foot-stomping instrumentals like Elephant Stomp, a fingerstyle thumper that has a highly infectious tempo with blues/rock overtones and a dash of jazz, to thought-provoking songs like One and Only, a song about gender-based violence, or the tongue-in-cheek, country love-song, I Meant to Put a Heart, that should have you smiling or even guffawing, especially if you’re South African.
The album has come together during the Covid19 pandemic under the strangest conditions that I personally, have ever experienced. The world’s heart missed a beat. It feels like we took in a collective breath and are yet to exhale. Many lives have been snuffed out before their time and people all over the world have been broken by the aching loss of loved ones. The World Went Quiet and its eponymous instrumental, will mark in this time, this period of uncertainty”.
I’ve chosen the haunting instrumental ‘Empty Dance Hall’ as today’s second choice. Enjoy.
The final slot in today’s mini-feature features Wren Hinds who I first met as a young teen when I would visit his mom, the talented artist Dianne Erasmus occasionally when I lived on the South Coast of KZN. I have featured some of Wren’s songs as a part of duo with his brother Aiden The Hind’s Brothers whose 2014 album Ocean’s of Milk was nominated for a SAMA, and as a part of the ethereal folk duo with Faye Oakes, Faye & Wren, who have released a number of songs on Bandcamp and are a part of the Shoreline Music catalogue.
The Hinds name is well known in South African music starting with father, Kevin Hinds, who was signed to EMI and CBS in the 1970s. He was a part of the bands Jade and Leatherbone and had a successful career both with the bands and as a solo artist. Kevin’s eldest son, Craig Hinds is the man behind the very successful band Watershed, who are regularly in the charts. Add the talents of Aiden and Wren to this list and you have a pretty impressive musical dynasty.
The closing track comes from Wren Hinds’ new album A Thousand Hearts and was filmed recently on a beautiful day on the Cape Peninsular. Wren has his own distinct style that draws from many influences. He has recently been signed to international Faber Music Publications, which is wonderful news. I hope it brings him the recognition he deserves. Here’s the track ‘Run”.
I hope you enjoyed today’s line-up of local talent. As always, thanks for spending time with me and my musical whims. Catch you soon – Stay Safe.
The Loving the Music mini-features are written and compiled by me to support Loving the Music’s Facebook page and group. Join the community for regular themed three-part posts that does more than just share a song.
The Author owns no copyright on the images or videos in this article. All images and links sourced from YouTube and Google and within the public domain.
Words © Andrew Knapp 2021