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Sun in my Pocket

As a 50 year, old why write about two youngsters, playing under the auspices of Locnville,  that are playing “gansta rap”and all that crap?  Because these two youngsters that hail from Cape Town South Africa are exceptional. They have some sort of ambience which most groups from South Africa seem to lack – talent. They are categorised as “Electro-Hop” whatever that means. I was brought up in an era where drinking was fun and drugs weren’t heard of,  it was that long ago, so as an ex-Capetonian and now again a reborn Capetonian I should know whether a Cape group have some sort of talent or not? Or what?  Well they do have. I listen to their music daily plus advertisments to their upcoming concert at the the Grand West arena through KFm the regional broadcasters. From the word go I realised these guys had talent and I suppose been related to the late Charlie Chaplin, many eons ago helps. Go Boyz Go!  They are soon to be travelling overseas, European fans seem to be the most eager to see and hear this Double Trouble Duo, twins incidentally.  Why do I write about this. Talent mostly. A lot of excellent groups in this country grow up and become superstarts elsewhere.  Freshlyground, another SA act hopefully not! They are homegrown, I’m in love with Zolani Mahola of course but they do throw in a little bit of authentic township pump and jive, but you know what, Freshlyground is an African act.  I’m not, I’m  a white African, a honky negro. And so is Locknville, but they’re the guys that will put us on the map.  They have an international vibe about them – whatever that means. Fresh faces but mature music.

South Africa is a long forgotten country when it comes to international music stardom. We have had such brilliant artists – yes, Manfred Mann was born here and yes, so was Rabbit, the 70s panty dropping pop group, with golden boy Trevor Rabin. And yes, Trevor Rabin was not just a talent we lost!  We lost one of the most exceptional music writers of our time. Overseas readers will be astonished to read about this man’s accomplishments. A South African? Yes.  But in comes another hero…

Johnny Clegg is possibly one our greatest exports, later to be re-imported, re-exported and thank God re-imported. An intellectual and in may ways a man that painted our blood stained roads with gold, a man with exceptional talent. Yes, overseas visitors he is the White Zulu, Le Zoulou Blanc – a man whom outsold Michael Jackson in France.  Johnny Clegg is our biggest export in many ways. I’d say he is a modest gentleman whom prefers possibly idolising his son Jesse who may even do better than him in the music business in time to come. I sometimes wonder if Johnny Clegg didn’t rather play music for the fun of it than make a statement. But statement he did make. Censorship rules in South Africa in the early years (1980s) prevented him from making too much of a statement. His music is always worthwhile to listen to – I’d  go so far as to say that he was the driving force behind the groups Jaluka and Savuka. I”d go so far as to say he turned our local music,  in may ways a bitter experiment into where it belongs today, albeit in many ways,  still a local act but a brilliant act. For the youngsters it may be Savuka.  But for all ages it will always be “Scatterlings of Africa””. Heart wrenching? Yes. Get this music but do get the original Jaluka version.  It just feels different. And I won’t go into a politcal agenda but some of his more politically inspired songs are gut-wrenching.

I am busy writing this article and contemplating the reason why the group I am listening to, Dire Straits from the late 70’s until the early 80’s in the form of Alchemy, a phenomal album, a phenomenal group has no equal in South Africa my home country?  Why Men at Work in a relatively young country like Australia,  Midnight Oil and AC/DC with 70M in sales made it so big but not south african music?  South African music has phenomenal talent but my God, the ego!  Johnny Clegg made it big because he didn’t have this huge ego. Because he was English born? Maybe. Our south african pop idols are a disgrace with only two out of the five (I think ) making even a mark locally.

At present we have such remarkable groups. The Parlatones are absolutely brilliant. Just Jinjer, phenomenal! Prime Circle! Arno Carstens! The end result – you just wait. Plus many more.

Locnville?  Rising out of ashes they may just be the Phoenix out of Africa.

Editor’s note: This article was written to essentially inspire local young talent in South Africa to think big, become just that little bit more arrogant and carry yourselves well. Locnville I think will do just this. I do not speak on behalf of the many very talented black artists out there. Your music is an inspiration to us.  It may not always reach us but you do us proud. For popular young artists like Tracey-Lee, Jason whom were last years winners of Idols,  make your name – not here, but internationally.  Heinz Winkler came on as possibly a favourite and went out, possibly as the most famous favourite. He has not only grown, that from being a local talent but to an international star. Local Idols producers are looking for flavours with a local taste.  How silly.   Golden Earring is Dutch talent. They still play to a Dutch audience. How sad but yet they reached that international status that so  many strive to reach.  But yet they remain there.

4 Replies to “Sun in my Pocket”

  1. Dear author

    Rabbit? Now that group certainly rings a bell..
    SA rocks lately with great music-artists like Freshly Ground and Locnville. The twinbrothers are new in Europe and absolutely hot as a ringtone on the cell-phone in an adolescents(and adult’s)pocket. Their music certainly causes a fresh breeze from the South.
    Pity to learn that SA culture recent years is being attacked and replaced with MTV popstars and celebrity-fascination. Does this not draw up some kind of curtain? And is it not difficult in a country that is filled with diversity, enthusiasm, frustration and mostly hope to produce that authentic group that will blast all the other ones away? But alas this is just a personal reflection and who am I to know the right answer.
    But I DO know the ground is fresh…and filled with surprises..

  2. Hi M-C, you sound as if you are from Europe. SA does rock. Top groups currently are the Parlotones, Just Jinjer (big in the USA, hence the name change from Just Ginger, they pronounce that differently and Prime Circle. There are lots of other groups, Locnville has a pretty diverse audience – we joke about it but these guys are popular with the 30’s (women) as well. Makes one think. South Africa has an Independent Broadcast Authority which ensures that south african radio stations give equal exposure to SA musicians – before there was an unfair advantage from the MTV variety. Hence the growth in SA music industry. That doesn’t stop migration though. I think in the next 5 years there is going to be huge inroads in SA music. Let’s just not hope that the recording labels are mature enough to handle these musicians appropriately. I don’t think they have. This will change hopefully.

  3. SS: Yes, well detected, I am an European.
    Apoligise to you if you detect a dissonance in my language, my English is not that perfect.But I guess it’s the tone that sets the music.
    Sounds like different intonations in SA music-industry. Pity about the downfall. But is there still time to own your music or your country?.Definitely some internal problem. SA needs to market it’s own music and guess it’s time for backup and support from the government. SA has worldclass-music and proven this before.
    How about programs for musicians getting just the right skills needed in music-marketing/-management-audio-engineering etc. Should make that weak point strong…it just asks some effort and passion, but it’s worth the music!

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