We received the sad news of the passing of Colin Shamley this week. Although Colin’s wasn’t a well known name to many, he was a leading voice during the apartheid years of South African music and well known, particularly on the folk music scene of the 70s.
Early last year I shared the smouldering, bluesy track ‘My Friend Kevin’ from Dax Butler. Unless you were involved in local music in the 70’s and 80’s, you may not remember his name, and that’s a shame. Today it is my aim to rectify that with a few tracks from his first album since the release ‘Drink in Everything’ in 2012. This is thanks to a heads-up from our friends at Cape Town’s Shoreline Music.
I first became aware of Lake Street Dive when I saw a clip of them performing The Kink’s Lola live about 18 months ago. Since them I have made a point of getting to know them a little better and got the heads-up that they had released a new album in March of this year. It’s time to share some tracks and a bit of background from an extremely talented of Jazz musicians who took their music beyond just that.
I woke up to a distinct chill on the air and the first snow on our side of Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains. The weather certainly called for something to keep me warm and it came in the form one of South Africa’s top international EDM duo’s, GoldFish. Thanks to them I bounced my way through my morning chores and set a happy mood for an otherwise grey day.
Last weekend we said farewell to one of our original Loving the Music members, Greg May, who was senselessly murdered in his Smithfield home. Today is Greg’s wake, and although I can’t be there, I will be joining the proceedings on Zoom later. I have dedicated today’s post to him. Greg introduced me to some rather special musicians since we linked up on Facebook some years ago, and what better way to honour his memory than to revisit some of them today.
I have heard lots of Reggae during the years, some good, some mediocre and some just plain awful, but the band I have decided to feature today falls in the realm of exceptional. I have posted tracks from them occasionally, and today feels like another Groundation kind of day.
It has been one of those weeks that left me feeling emotionally, creatively and spiritually drained and I think some serious cheering up is in order. The stand-out laugh of the week came when my long-suffering housemate shared a surprising version of William Shatner (yep, Captain Kirk himself) ‘singing’ Pulp’s huge hit ‘Common People’.
My brother sent me a heads-up about an album a few days ago. The musicians recorded it under the name Equador, and I was happy to uncover that Equador is the brainchild of the uber-talented Henry Binns (of Zero 7 fame) and his lovely wife, the Lady Catherine Anna Brudenell-Bruce (daughter of the Earl of Cardigan), otherwise known as Bo Bruce.
A South African band that truly deserve the recognition they received is Henry Ate, the hitmaking outfit founded and headed by vocalist Karma-Ann Swannepoel and Julian Sun. From the duo’s first live appearance at Wings Beat Bar in Johannesburg in 1995, they went on to become one of the country’s biggest hit machines, holding their own on the charts against the slew of international acts over the years.
I’m glad I am late to the party regarding some musicians. It gives a better sense of perspective of the artist when you have a collection of work to draw from, and the amount of work that Imogen Heap has put out since she started writing songs as a 13-year-old is nothing short of phenomenal. Not only in the world of album releases, but in everything from theatre, film and TV compositions, music production and engineering, talks and lectures, and some groundbreaking inventions and innovations to boot.
Today, i’m featuring three songs from the 1970s that cover the same theme – gender bending. I was a young gay man when these songs hit the charts, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The gay community of the time lapped them up, which is understandable, but the popularity wasn’t restricted to the underground minority and went on to become international hits.
Hip-Hop can be a polarizing topic amongst older music-lovers. I always found that British Hip-Hop tends to be more melodic and easier on the ear than its American counterpart. Although pure Hip Hop and RAP are not be my favourite genre, their impact is undeniable. The genre outlived trend status and has been incorporated into numerous musical styles.
This weekend we honour Human Rights Day in South Africa. Although human rights cover so many areas that are an ongoing global challenge, today I am exploring the role that music played during the 46-year-long apartheid regime that cruelly divided our nation. It is an interesting, if uncomfortable, topic that covers a very dark area of our history. To imagine what kind of country South Africa would be had apartheid not happened is in the realm of speculation, but this misguided system of racial segregation did manage to produce some memorable music.
I’m staying local to finish off the week with a band that emerged in 1995. Broadly speaking, Egyptian Nursey could be regarded as South Africa’s original Trip-Hop outfit, and although they only released one album, went on to influence a number of acts to follow. Considering the nationalities of the members, there is often debate as to if they can be considered South African? Whichever side of the fence you sit on this topic, listeners and critics adopted them as ‘ours’ on the first hearing.
I was recently asked to repost an article I wrote early last year about a South African band that has always fascinated me, Falling Mirror. Being formed in the late 70s, they fit perfectly into the mish-mash of musical styles and cross-overs that the era started to produce.
I was taking a look at some of the original stories behind some of our most popular songs recently and realised that the subject was far too big for a three-part feature. There are far too many great examples. I’ve decided to turn this ‘strange beginnings’ idea into a main feature and select a couple of extracts for the Facebook page and group.
I posted a brief glimpse behind the band, The Guess Who, early last year and I think it time to look a little deeper into the band that was regarded as the Beatles of Canada. With names such as Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman as key members, you can be assured of an interesting dip into musical history today.
I was updating my World Music playlist recently and came across a name I haven’t listened to in any depth for a while, the Burundian beauty, Khadja Nin. I only got to know her music around 2004 after she had, unfortunately, dropped out of the mainstream music world following her 2006 marriage to racing driver Jackie Ickx, but we do have her four acclaimed albums that chart the career of this talented songbird.