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Wayward — Ugetsu EP

CAVEMAN SOUND

SF

Even with all of it’s endless hills and transportation innovations, San Francisco is a walking city. It’s got just haphazardly enough of a layout, plus a history so colorful you could spend a lifetime learning about it, that there’s constantly something new to discover on every exploration, regardless of how long you may have lived here.

A couple of weeks ago the London via Leeds duo of Lawrence Gale Hayes & Louis Greenwood, aka Wayward, released their debut EP Ugetsu, a 6-track set whose eclectically inventive style we find compliments adventure and exploration amazingly. From the lushly sampled, warm atmosphere of it’s lead track Baile, the naturally blissful progression of Reverie, and Hurricane’s funk-infused, alluring piano chords, to title track Ugetsu’s brief yet reflective layers, Waver’s unforgettable appeal, and the outright beauty that is Belize — creating one of the strongest follow throughs we’ve heard in awhile — the guys have…

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From the Heart

BY KYLIE HOLLUDAY
It was early, way too early for any self-respecting student. The sun had barely wiped the sleep out of its eyes and neither had I, in fact I had overslept, which for a 20 year old female is significantly problematic. I, much to my dismay, had to throw on whatever was nearest, hastily run a brush through my hair and most definitely avoid mirrors at all costs before having to race to campus. I got to UCT with just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and swing right on to our make-shift press conference with the king of music journalism in South Africa; Miles Keylock. If you don’t know who he is, shame on you! He is rock star journalist turned boss-man editor of Rolling Stone South Africa.

Walking into the building, my fellow classmate half-excitedly, half-sleepily exclaimed; “Dude, that was him.” What was him? Who was him? My tired brain didn’t have the consciousness it required to process what she was saying, but it all made sense when the man himself sauntered into our classroom shortly after we had taken our seats. The guy, even at 8am, managed to look like he’d just rolled off the cover of his own magazine. If I hadn’t felt hideous before, I certainly did then. I couldn’t fathom what I must’ve looked like with my make-up-less face and god alone knows what I was wearing; it could’ve been anything from my pyjama pants to my old matric dance dress. Luckily next to no attention was paid to my unkempt appearance and our little press conference kicked off. I felt a bit like I was the only, or maybe the most eager, amateur typing like a beast, trying to get down every word dripping deliciously out of his mouth; for this aspiring journalist every word uttered was a gem!

The obvious questions about how the South African publication would differ from the American Rolling Stone were asked, with less obvious answers about how the branding of Rolling Stone South Africa has a voice that is representative of the entire SA pop-culture landscape. Keylock explained that instead of taking the easy way out by slapping Beyoncé on the cover and doing a feature article on her latest whatever, Rolling Stone SA uses our own chart toppers with six out of the so far seven covers being local talent. No disrespect to Beyoncé, but damn is it high time that our indigenous talent gets recognised above and beyond whatever is happening on the international scene! When a guy is hitting on you at a club, will you be more impressed that he’s clued up on what GREEN DAY is up to, or will the fact that he can hold a stimulating conversation about the band on stage result in you saying ‘you had me at hi’?

Then came a real titbit of information that, as a wannabe journalist, had my mouth watering. Keylock doesn’t really care that INSERT BAND NAME HERE is technically excellent; they’ll do just fine without being the next feature, he wants the meat; the story that’s going to make him stop what he’s doing and pay attention. “Just because you’re a good musician, doesn’t mean you have an interesting story.” So here I am, little miss nerd at various gig venues with my pen and paper, looking for the next best thing- South Africa’s hot new talent- when all I really need to do is find someone with a story worth telling? That’s amazing, Rolling Stone here I come!

Keylock points out how as an editor there is little room for ego and that by surrendering to what the magazine wants to be, engaging with his staff and the pop-cultural landscape the stories will tell you, as the writer or reader, what they want to be. He explains that as both a writer and an editor, the biggest challenge but most valuable lesson is simply to get out of the way. Something with which I have some difficulty I must admit, but at least I keep good company.

Finally it came time for ‘that annoying PR guy’, expertly played by our lecturer; Evan Milton, to finally get around to letting me ask my question; “What makes a piece of writing stand out, what gives it that quality that makes you go ‘I have to publish this’?” What did he say? What had I sat through a slew of, for my purposes, meaningless questions to hear? “Heart.” No seriously, that’s what he said. I’m not sensationalising it for dramatic effect, the guy is really just that cool. Keylock explained that as a reader you know whether you believe what the writer is saying, and whether they believe it themselves. He spoke about writers ‘singing from the heart’ because the readers are going to make a connection with that sincerity, they’re going to relate to it because it’s from the heart.

Keylock finished off with exactly what I had been wanting to hear, that writing is about sharing a story that strikes a chord because it has been conveyed in an honest way. “Integrity can go out the window if you’re not [writing ecstatically or from the heart], if writing isn’t your passion there’s a problem.”

So what does it take to make oversleeping impossible due to the excitement of getting to write for the coolest magazine to grace the shores of Southern Africa? Heart, imagination, a voice and a story worth telling. Of course being a masterful manipulator of words doesn’t hurt, but being able to write isn’t everything in the world of journalism- who knew?!

Through the decades Rolling Stone magazine has mapped the progression of pop culture- music, film and even politics. Transcending racial and economic boundaries, Rolling Stone has always been famous for its journalistic integrity. But in an era where digital is the new black and online publications are fast becoming the norm, why would Rolling Stone launch a South African version of the publication?

On the 15th of November 2011, the first issue of Rolling Stone, South Africa was released. With an American gangster look, Bra Hugh (Masekela) was the first icon to grace the cover of the new publication. Visionary and full-time music journalist Miles Keylock heads up the endeavor as editor-in-chief. With massive pressure from the public to achieve the international standard of the parent publication, Rolling Stone, South Africa has a large pair of shoes to fill.

Now seven issues in, the publication has stuck to its classic old-school layout, letting the words and poignant photography speak for itself.

Since the dawn of the online era one significant question has arisen.  Why should we bother paying money for a magazine when we can simply find what we want with a few words, a Google search tab and an enter button?

For starters the typical online publication robs fans of the experience of owning a freshly pressed magazine packed with information waiting to be discovered.  Any Tom, Dick or Susan is one click away from being a writer online. Print publications give a sense of professionalism and credibility that cannot be established online. Rolling Stone, South Africa fills its pages with articles, news and reviews written by plausible journalists who hold a name for themselves in the South African media industry. People know that what they are reading is as real as it gets.

Although the magazine has an online sector, the meaty bits remain to be hidden in the pages within the plastic seal of the monthly issue. Music lovers around South Africa will wait in anticipation to discover the latest songs and musicians they should be listening to.  Rolling Stone strives to encapsulate great journalism with substantial opinions, criticism and recommendations that will shape and form the local idea of what’s in and what’s out. This niche publication becomes the all inclusive go-to guide that fans can keep in their homes and refer back to at any time.

Online is instant. You click and scroll, straining your eyes to find the important information- it’s all about immediate gratification. Most articles that you find online you will find yourself skim reading. In truth, no one wants to curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and an online article to get stuck into. Rolling Stone and other equally superior print publications provide the reader with an experience.

It is just the same in the way that live music will always supersede its recorded counterpart. Why? It is a far more authentic and all-inclusive sensory experience.  Print magazines are somewhat the live performance of their online rivals. They offer something you can see, feel and smell- the opportunity to own something genuine.

Rolling Stone, South Africa sets the bar for all music and non-music publications alike. It sets itself apart from the rest. It will always attract the real music lover, the person who is drawn to the old-school style that is permeated through the publication. It provides satisfaction to those looking to read words worth their time.  It is what many people really want and will continue to want even through the current digital revolution.

So why South Africa? Why Now? Over the years the South African music industry has slowly started to infiltrate the international scene. With a growing sense of local individuality, great music has begun to emerge from a country that has long been seen as the underdog of the talent world. The rising original and authentic styles and talents deserved a publication to match. The royal family of Zef, DIE ANTWOORD is the pinnacle of both local and international success. GOLD FISH have played there tribute in Europe along with other local artists who have begun to expand their scope to international audiences.  In a way it became necessary to have a substantial compendium of international and local artistic trends.

So the question remains. Will print publications become redundant in the current mass interweb hysteria? How could it be when fans will continue to flock each month to engage in the Rolling Stone authentic experience? Despite the rise of online publications, the desire for dependable journalism and an influencing read will not come to an end.  Rolling Stone South Africa is the proof in the pudding. 

When we don’t know which latest trend suits us best, we always return to the trusty LBD forming the backdrop of our closet. We are indeed creatures of habit. When clicking around on the internet has us confused on who to listen to and what to watch we will always have the classic Rolling Stone, South Africa to turn to. In a recent press conference editor-in-chief Miles Keylock assured us- Print is not dead…and we don’t think it will be any time soon.

 

Rolling Stone has come to South Africa, and hey presto, we now have our own cool music magazine to represent our own cool music scene. But will it? I mean, come on, this is South Africa; a land that is a boiling culture cauldron, bubbling away, with all the numerous and diverse cultures swirling together as a big pot of tasty soup.

Rolling Stone is such a ‘cool’ magazine. It just can’t stop oozing sex appeal and glamour as well as being so full of the hard-core, honest rock n’ roll that the international reader loves. This magazine is drenched in legacy to the point that it’s practically running of the sides.  And now it has come to South Africa, it is sitting at the airport waiting to be picked up, and here is the driver; Miles Keylock.

Keylock seems to be the best man for the job, his suave ‘come at me attitude’ and concrete portfolio make him the person to marry South Africa and the Rolling Stone brand, making a match seemingly made in music magazine heaven. All eyes are on Keylock, we want something just as sexy and rock n’ roll as the original Rolling Stone, but with all the tenacity that South Africa has to offer. The only thing is South Africa has a whole lot more to represent than just tenacity.

Can Rolling Stone South Africa really keep each vegetable, each piece of meat and each salt grain in the tasty soup happy and represented? Or are we just going to have a magazine which ignores the diversity part, instead edging to stay politically correct, or economically afloat?

No one can answer this question. It’s not easy, considering how difficult South Africa is to represent culturally, since, as I said before, we are tasty in our diversity. With such a wide range of people, from varying backgrounds with different stories, loves and interests, people who listen to fundamentally different music, and then having to represent all of that, I must say, no one can really envy Keylock’s job.

He has to manoeuvre the difficult mine field that is political South Africa, driving his magazine through all of the South African social and political tensions, without falling to a flat tire. It is not as if the American brand of Rolling Stone doesn’t have this problem, but it is a whole lot different they didn’t have something to look up to, or the diversity of this country to represent.

Sitting down with Keylock, you could feel the weight of expectancy on him, and physically see it. We stared at the man who would either be the saviour of our expectations, or who would steer Rolling Stone into obscurity, and we all knew what everyone wanted to ask; what are we to expect Miles?

we got this,

‘sometimes I get these guys saying ‘please put a white person on the cover’. No, I’m just kidding. But it feels like it really can get like that… we need to just understand that it is about the integrity of the music – that rock n’ roll spirit’

We are so easily lampooned into worrying whether the magazine would represent South Africa or not, that we forgot that it is not here to do that – it is here to represent South African music. Whatever this means in terms of demographics or political/economic interests, Rolling Stone is a music magazine and it will follow the integrity of music, and the integrity of writing about music.

Rolling Stone SA will represent the icons, the new interesting sounds that are coming out of South Africa and communicate that to its readers. Yes, as a magazine and business venture it must keep afloat and we know about the political tensions, we know about the economic hardships and social injustices of our everyday life, but we need to allow Rolling Stone the place to just show music – all music. Music that is free of politics, money or society. After all Rolling Stone is about the spirit of Rock n’ Roll, which Keylock through Lester Banks thankfully reminded us off,

“Rock ‘n’ roll is an attitude, it’s not a musical form of a strict sort. It’s a way of doing things, of approaching things. Writing can be rock ‘n’ roll, or a movie can be rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a way of living your life

I don’t know if Rolling Stone SA will be successful, and I don’t know if Rolling Stone SA will be able to hear all the music. But I do know that as a music magazine, Rolling Stone South Africa will represent the music made here, not the politics. And after hearing Keylock reassure me, I can rest easy knowing that he is stirring the pot, with a big wooden spoon.

‘Oh, that’s fine. I will just quickly download it’ is what I heard from a friend yesterday. We were talking about the new pop sensation Lana Del Rey, and how great her new album ‘Born to Die’ was. When I told her to go out and buy it as soon as possible, she gave me that response.My first reaction was to slap my hand over her mouth, scared that the FBI was hiding in the bushes behind us, ready to pounce on her. Instead I was caught with an anxious expression on my face, and she mocking me. I just couldn’t believe how casual she was at the idea of ‘just’ quickly downloading it.

Image

The Pirate Bay Welcome Image

I have never been one for music collections, like some of my older friends. They take a pride in collecting these vast amounts of CD’s and albums, labelling and sorting them to perfection and displaying them in some monstrous teak and glass thing in their rooms. I could never afford that. Instead I buy my

favourite classics, like some of the best blues artists or oldies from my child hood like Pink or, yes, even Britney Spears. I do digitize these, and share them with my friends via Ipods and mix CDs.But it seems some people are taking ‘digitizing’ to a whole new level, a level I have yet to really begin playing in. Everyone has become music Pirates.

This ‘Pirate Generation’, is increasingly resorting to ‘I will just quickly download it’ as a way to get hold of not only music, but films, software, games and even books! It is as if going to the story and actually buying the product is a ‘waste of money’. I can’t see why showing your appreciation for something, buy spending money on it, is a waste. I don’t know if this generation understands that they are destroying the money legs that the music industry stands on.

There is an incredible irony in Piracy. By illegally downloading your favourite artist for free, you are causing your favourite artist to starve. Ok, maybe not ‘starve’ but you are probably not helping them make any money, allowing them to carry on doing what they, and you, love.

What causes people to download illegally? I understand that there is a level of convenience in downloading, where you don’t have to go out and buy something, and that it is for free, so you are not spending money, but what I don’t understand is why this Pirate Generation has not realised the implications, and great irony, of their downloading; they are ruining the integrity of the music they love.

In 2000, the internationally recognised South African journalist Rian Malan wrote an article titled ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ for the May edition of American Rolling Stone. The article detailed the beginning of one of the most recognised tunes of the 20th century, ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’. The article began tracking it through from its first recording by Solomon Linda, a Zulu singer, to its adaption by 60s ‘Doo-wop’ bands, like The Weavers and The Tokens. And what’s the crux of the article? Malan reveals that Linda never received any royalties for the song, not a single penny.

The creator of the iconic song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, died without nothing but a roof over his head, 4 daughters to feed and a destitute life to leave as a legacy. This is the great and unjust crime in the music industry, which to some extent every Pirate perpetuates. By illegally downloading music, the Pirate is perpetuating a situation where the artist is left without any thing from his art and he, like Linda, is left in a situation of destitute rejection.

This sad story, however, does have a happy ending. His song became wildly popular after it was adopted by The Weavers and The Tokens, making it a household name and international anthem. Ultimately it seems like the ‘piracy’ of Linda’s song, meant it was able to be heard on a mucher larger scale.

Many artists are choosing to have their work available for free download on the massively popular illegal downloading website, ThePiratebay. After putting their debut album on the site, Monster Cat justified this move by stating,

‘Music is meant to be shared, and heard, by the people. Artists should let go of their work, and make it available for everyone.’

Many other musicians and bands are similar to Monster Cat; by uploading their tracks on Youtube and Myspace there music becomes just as easily accessible, and illegally obtainable. This could be, alternative to Monster Cat’s justification, a marketing ploy instead of a bid for the open sharing of music. Where the band receives, in many cases much needed, publicity and recording deals – thus being a life saver for all the little Indie bands out there.

Maybe this downloading thing is not altogether bad, since the music industry would still keep on making money with advertising or stage performances and it is not as if any of the artists my friend downloads are starving. But we just cannot ignore the injustice against Linda, or the fact that these artists receive nothing real from their fans.

It seems Linda’s terrible example dupes the bid for piracy, since no one should go unrewarded for genius, no matter how ‘famous’ their song gets it.

While we finished our lunch after the profession of my friend’s illegal ways, I couldn’t help but tell her what happened to Linda. She seemed taken aback, as if this was the first time she could see what it meant to be a pirate, what the affect would be on the artists she was ‘just quickly downloading’.  I don’t know if it meant anything to her, or whether she would stop downloading music, but what I do know is that this Pirate Generation is changing the way music is being shared, be it for the good or the bad.

Tainted Superstars

by Sarah Farrell

If I had to ask you to hum the tune of a song called “Mbube” you would most likely look at me blankly and say you’d never heard of it…but if I asked to belt out the melody of “The Lion Sleeps tonight” you’d get your friends to chant the ‘wimoweh’ chorus while you gave it your best shot. What you most likely don’t know is that these two songs are one and the same (apart from the miss pronounced Zulu word ‘uyimbube’ and added lyrics about lions from jungles.) Solomon Linda was “Mbube’s” proud creator- A humble man who lived in South Africa his entire life and whose talent was exploited for millions. From its creation, “Mbube” was destined to be taken from Linda and transformed by so many artists, that  it would be eternalised in a global culture but Solomon Linda would quickly be forgotten.

Now, more than seventy years since the conception of “Mbube”, most people still remain ignorant to the fact that a world favourite song is stained by deception, greed and thievery.  This made me wonder and begin to worry. How many other injustices had taken place? How many other artists, like Linda, had been exploited for their lack of social position, wealth and knowledge? Unable to let this slide, I did a little digging. But, believe me; they say ignorance is bliss for a reason.

I was brought up on the music of 80s pop and musical theatre. My mom had a thing for Madonna and one of my dad’s all time favourite modern composers was Andrew Lloyd Webber. What I didn’t know until now is that both of these “prolific” superstars are tainted by copy-right infringement scandals, lies and unoriginality. That’s some earth shattering stuff to discover.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has been hailed for his genius in the musical theatre genre. He has six Tony awards, an Oscar and his Broadway show Phantom of the Opera is the longest running musical in history. The question is does he even deserve any of it? Lloyd Webber has been discovered to have reworked many classical music pieces and passed them off as his own. The song”The Music of the night” from Phantom of the opera was partly a ripped off and reworked version of Puccini’s “La Fanciualla Del West”. A law suit was leveled against Lloyd Webber by the Puccini estate, but Lloyd Webber settled with them out-of-court. “I don’t know how to love him” the infamous piece from Jesus Christ Superstar also turned out to be a‘re-modeled’ work of a violin concerto by Mendelssohn. In addition to this, Webber was accused of stealing his opening of “Phantom of the Opera” from Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” Floyd frontman Roger Waters simply retaliated by saying: ‘life’s too long to bother with suing fucking Lloyd Webber.’ Pink Floyd did, however, write a tell-all line into their “It’s a miracle”;

‘Lloyd Webber’s awful stuff/Runs for years and years/An earthquake hits the theatre/But the operetta lingers/Then the piano lid comes down/And breaks his fucking fingers.’

Queen of pop-Madonna, hardly needs an introduction. She is arguably the most famous living female artist in the world. However, she has also been accused of being the greatest musical fraud of all time. She has been criticised for stealing melodies, lyrics, concepts, album covers and even music videos from lesser known artists. One of the largest scandals surrounding Madonna’s copyright infringement was when she stole Ingrid Chavez’s concept and lyrics for her song “Justify my Love” only changing one line from Chavez’s original. Madonna was also publicly accused of stealing the music from “She comes in Colours” by Da Capo for the riff of her song “Beautiful strangers.”  The list of copyright infringement accusations surrounding Madonna’s name, even if unproven, show a general trend of  deception which has been going on since her “like a virgin” days.

Sadly, it doesn’t end there. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Metallica, Shakira and The Black Eyed Peas are some of the other many known artists who have stolen songs and passed them off as their own. Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” was a revolutionary, history making tune with the most recognisable and famous guitar riff to this day. It’s not so revolutionary when the riff is an out-right rip off of a jazz standard called “Maria Moite” by Astrud Gilberto and Gil Evans.

Sadly, it seems, that even the most unsuspecting artists are willing to squander their artistic integrity and morality for the sake of a money making tune. The unfairness of it all is that real musicality and originality are sidelined for the sake of it, whilst others make millions from something that is not their intellectual property. One can argue that it has been going on since the Baroque era of composers like Bach and Vivaldi who all reworked and rearranged the work of others. In terms of today, Music mash-ups have been emerging as a very popular genre amongst the youth. It is becoming more and more accepted to sample sounds and mix different songs into one. Famous artists constantly cover songs that aren’t there own. So where does one draw the line?

When it comes down to it, there is a difference between creating your own version of a song if you accept that it isn’t yours and simply fooling your fans into believing something is your own when it isn’t. Allowing those in lesser fortunate situations to suffer for your fame is simply not acceptable at any level.  Famous artists have a code of integrity that needs to be followed in order to be respected.  Artists like Lloyd Webber, Madonna, Led Zeppelin and Deep purple are all superstars who I profoundly respected and looked up to. However, once you discover the truth of their indiscretions, your perception of them will forever be tainted by the shattering knowledge that you were fooled by them.

Flaura, fauna and scantily clad pre-teens would seem an unlikely combination, but Goldfish is playing and the hippie-hipsters and “bohemians” have turned out in droves. There are a few pensioners settled on their blankets, pointing excitedly as the band’s equipment is set up, and the rest of the crowd is a mixture of reluctant mothers, and middle-aged couples hoping to “try something new”. The duo (David Poole and Dominic Peters) finally appear on stage, followed by a wave of screeches and “Woohoo’s”. All the pre-teens go gaga, and everyone else straightens up, anticipating the saxophone’s hum.

The unusual combination of bass and brass awakens even the most the discerning listeners, and not more than two minutes into the first song-“Get Busy Living”-heads are bobbing, feet are tapping and GOLD FISH fever has spread all the way to the picnic blankets. That is GOLD FISH‘s winning quality-there is a lot of something for everyone. It is that combination of musical mastery and DJ persona that has everyone up on their feet. Yes, the stage looks busy, with flashing lights and big screens in the background, but it is the performance that makes the crowd come alive.

By the time the symphony rolls into “This is how it goes” the mood has mellowed, and the duo responds by stripping down the song to its bare essentials, returning to their jazzy roots. It is something different for the front-of –the-crowd tweens, but that doesn’t kill their enthusiasm and the pace picks up again as Poole delivers a sensational solo on the saxophone. The instrument itself is probably not the most riveting for the younger crowd but the passion with which Poole plays makes one forget their ‘old-foggy’ perceptions and let loose.

It is not so much that the duo re-invent Jazz but that they can take it back to when Jazz was rock n’roll-THRILLING. There is something dazzling about the way Peters glides over the keyboard like a sixty-something year-old sage playing in a blues bar, or a concert pianist on the world stage. It is not surprising that the two have played everywhere from the pumping night clubs of Miami to the elegant Sydney Opera House.

After what felt like indefinite Euphoria, the set was over, but as always the duo came back “Cruising” when the audience chanted ‘encore’. They are cool, casual and down-to-earth. There is no sense that Poole and Peters are international superstars with better things to do.

The duo savour every moment just as the audience do, and make their music move for the audience, letting their fans set the pace. When a passion for music and a passion for people meet the results are bound to be mind-blowing. There is no doubt that the band has more success on the horizon!

The duo will be playing   again at Auckland Park Gardens, Johannesburg the 13th of May

After countless meetings with lawyers, record executives and journalists, the Linda family will finally receive some royalties for their father’s masterpiece, Mbube.  However, one question remains unresolved -who will pay them reparations for the years they spent in poverty?

The narrative has been that they were poor because their father, composer of one of the most widely recorded melodies of all time, was never recognised or compensated for his brilliance. I am sure many journalists thought themselves geniuses for recognising this “irony” but, truthfully speaking the Linda sisters did not languish in poverty because their father had not received royalty cheques. The Linda sisters remained impoverished because they had, just like their father, been disenfranchised by that thing that happened (as if by magic) called apartheid. That thing that most South African’s-including those who would later defend Linda- let happen.

In his seminal piece, In the Jungle, Malan chronicles the genesis of Mbube from its inception as a masictanya melody to its most profitabele, and final reprise in the Lion King as In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle. The characters and charactures are terrific-from duplicitous record executives to morally compelled lawyers, and jiving labourers. It reads like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking bird and would, without a doubt, make a blockbuster biopic.

However, the only  mistake Malan makes is that he talks much about the  villains and the  antagonists, and even “the local black bourgeoisie” who had a distaste for Linda’s style of music,but there is little discussion of Linda‘s life as a migrant worker. It was, after all, this life that had inspired songs like Yetulisgqoko” (“Take off your hat”, Gallo GE 887) which recall treatment by Pass Office officials. The writer forgets to mention that proverbial backdrop against which all of this took place, and the quiet protagonist who only reveals their true identity in the end-that white South African.

For many, it is all about those people from overseas who did that bad thing to Linda, but how does one imagine that a man who did not have his human rights protected would have had music rights to anything. It would be wrong to say that no exploitation took place on the part of Gallo Records or RCA or even American composer David Weiss. None the less, the fact is that not a single South African who could really do anything acted for Linda until years later, much like Howie Richmond and Al Brackman, whom had nothing “preventing him from making a claim on his (Linda) behalf”.

The only thing worse than the blame-game, is the let’s-shift-the-blame-game. Why was it Richmond or Brackman’s responsibility to ensure that Linda was protected? Malan himself describes how “even though they had no legal obligation”, the two should have acted on Linda’s behalf. The same could be said for the millions of South African’s who failed to act against that unjust system. It was that system which meant that Linda could have no equitable recourse. Apparently, allowing the exploitation of black people is only bad when other people do it. In fact the only time white South Africans were involved in the misfortune was when they came to the rescue.

Malan applauds that “young Afrikanner lawyer” who years later “devoted countless hours” to correcting this injustice and without whom none of the recourse would have been possible. We cannot deny that what the young man did was “good” but it was not a good deed. Why is it that for pale people it is “the administering of justice” or “the honourable thing to do”, but for the brown it is seen as a kind deed. In reality this was due legal action which someone had to initiate eventually, and work that was rightfully Linda’s. Even all those eloquent articles that emerged from the controversy were not acts of kindness they were good journalistic practices-uncovering the truth at any cost. There is  a sense that what had been done was morally outstanding in one way or another, like the white lady who so “honourably” called the police when her neighbour, Chris Hani, had been gunned down in his driveway.

In light of this apparent act of kindness, why should South African’s pay reparations to the Linda family for the years they spent in paucity. Why should we ask where Malan was at the time of the crime? It is not as though he was responsible for brokering the dodgy deals that meant Linda would never receive full compensation for his work.

The answer is patently obvious and yet thus far no writer, definitely not Malan, has been willing to accept this truth.  No South African has been willing to accept that whether they were sunbathing at luxury resorts, rubbing shoulders with those sinister “architects of apartheid”, or very simply getting on with their lives, they were part of the reason why Linda died almost as penniless as he was when he was born. His children could have had better prospects for their lives. They could have been allowed to get an education, and could have had the chance to make something of even the little they had. Maybe that $12 000 would even have been the pittance that it really is or they would have made the claim themselves. In this alternate plot, all they would have been fighting for was the memory of their father.

We would like to believe that this account has been addressed, but the story of Solomon Linda, forces us to visit the possibility that today is yesterdays chronic hangover-throbbing and uncomfortable.Stories do not begin with prefaces or end with post-scripts; they extend beyond those pages and take on a new form and a life of their own. If you are a Malan, or even Hendrickson they may haunt you. These are not characters, they are human lives-they are the culmination of actions or the failure to act. These are trajectories that no amount of writing or reparations could ever undo. It is all very simply, too little too late.

Bringing it all back home

The two-sided album, Bringing it all back home by folk singer Bob Dylan cleverly mixes acoustic folk with rock n roll blues to make for a killer album any fan would be proud of. The album was released in 1965 by Columbia records and is Bob Dylan’s fifth studio album. Robert Zimmerman, more commonly known for his stage name Bob Dylan takes on a minimalist approach to folk music up until the point of this album. His lyrics show his complete lack for what people think of him, even being labelled as a communist for speaking out against the American government at the time. This album is liberal and not for the faint hearted, although the album is very different from previous albums such as The times they are a changing and A freewheelin Bob Dylan which were softer, more acoustic and contained lyrics which were thoughtful and more personal. He now gets down and dirty with faster lyrics, an electric guitar and less personal story telling. The first track on the album, Subterranean homesick blues is one of Bob’s fastest tracks. He almost raps through the song about his withdrawal from the protest movement in the 1960’s and instead uses the song to mock it. One has to laugh at the line, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” which completely epitomises what Bob Dylan was trying to do with the song. While the majority of the tracks are pure lyrical genius and can be played over and over again, songs like Outlaw Blues and On the road Again stand out as the more mediocre of the set, with less appealing lyrical content. The most famous song on the CD has got to be Mr Tambourine man which was made even more famous by The Byrds in 1965. Other tracks keep the theme of liberal protest going such as Gates of Eden which seems to speak about the loss of innocence in society referring to war and hopelessness in the lyrics. The track, Bob Dylan’s 115th dream reinstates the way Bob does not care what people think but not cutting the laughter we hear at the beginning of the song in studio but rather leaving it in an attempt to possibly engage with is audience more, one which was turning against him for not being a pure folk singer anymore.  The album is well rounded and easy to listen to. It is a definite must for any fan and even those who aren’t fans will be able to appreciate the cynicism and genius of every individual song.  One must simply remember that during this time in history, ‘the times they were a changing’ and this album tells that story.

 

 

This Cape Town born musician, singer, and songwriter is a force to be reckoned with. Ruthanne Harbour grew up playing guitar and listening to her mom play the piano is her family home.  She is currently studying at The Campus of Performing Arts in Cape Town with voice being her major. She is sure of herself and is it clear her heart is in the right place to be the next big thing on the South African music scene.

Ruthanne learnt to play the guitar on her own, playing from what she heard, a talent not many young musicians have. She recalls picking up her dad’s tennis racket at a young age and turning it on its side imitating playing a guitar thinking,’ if this were a real guitar…’ and that was the beginning of her journey.

With an acoustic style, her songs are all accompanied by the gentle strumming of her guitar and persistent rhythm in her music. She tells me of the first song she learnt to play, Wild Thing and how since then she has been teaching herself as much as she possibly could to improve and learn new things. Ruth took a gap year in 2011 to take time out for herself to work on her career as a musician and develop into the kind of musician she wants to be. She recorded her first demo album with 7 original tracks, her favourite and most prized song being ‘together in harmony’. She tells us about the recording, ‘it took 3 months days and night in a very small studio’. Ruthanne is proud of the final product but it is no surprise she hated hearing herself on the album as most artists do not hear themselves as others do. She is determined to stay true to herself and her way of making music and that is exactly what she will do. Drawing influences from Adele, her faith and people in her life, Ruthanne makes music that is easy to relate to and easy to listen to.

Just like any young artist with little experience in singing in front of people Ruthanne feels nervous about revealing her original tracks to the public. ‘It’s about people accepting your music’ and although she is confident in her music she wants people to see her music for what it is, real. She wants to inspire listeners, to uplift them and to build a personal relationship with people listening to her just through her lyrics. Her first showcase in 2011 was in front of 70 people and she organized it herself. This is simply an illustration of the drive this girl possesses and how determined she is to make it.

Ruthanne feels the South African music industry should be taken more seriously. She feels that there is so much individual talent out there and that the space for musicians in South Africa is too commercialized for them to be showcased. Completely blown away by the dynamic of South African group, The Arrows, Ruthanne feels they are the kind of South African music that should be pushed into the spotlight as much as possible.

 

Ruthanne is well established on twitter, facebook and Youtube. She has a Youtube account with various video recordings of original songs and covers she has sung. ‘It is about putting yourself out there’ she says. Her album is privately produced and is available on order from her at rhopeh@gmail.com. So check her out on these various platforms and give this muso a chance. She is real. She has heart. She has soul and more than anything she has an incredible talent and is here to stay.