I heard Margaret Mcnignana (aka Singana) on the radio today singing I never loved a man (the way that I love you). What a song! She also sang the lead vocals for Shaka Zulu (Bayete) and a number of other songs, and was as famous as they come in South Africa. But from what I understand, she died in abject poverty, almost penniless. Our beloved Solomon Linda was another muso who was raped by the industry, and died with less than $25 in his bank account in 1962, the year his song Mbube became the smash hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Read more
I have huge respect for these people because they just keep on going. Chuck Berry is sometimes regarded as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, while Tony Bennett has turned his love for jazz into a 60-year career. Tori Amos, who recently performed in Jozi and Cape Town, refuses to become an irrelevant old woman. Read more
They are all in their 70s or headed there very soon, and they are all supposedly over the hill. If you watch a movie like Cadillac Records, you will see how people made fun of them when they were first starting out – whether that is true or just for dramatic effect remains to be seen. Read more
I guess this blog post will read as slightly more anecdotal. My singing teacher always used to say to me, persistent and consistent work is what makes a voice. After training with her for ten years, I mastered the technique, and am today able to teach singing because I stuck with her, even when it was very tough. She fired me after those ten years, because I always used to give her so much grief. She left this world in 2012, at the age of 81. I only started training with her when she was 66. I count myself as very, very lucky, that I was able to learn from the wisdom of her many years of teaching. Read more
SA is generally regarded as one of the largest House markets in the world. House owes its origins to the great city of Chicago, but has found a modern home in Miami, and is also part of the pulse of what makes Johannesburg such a cool and vibey place.
Some would argue that House emerged as the contemporary successor of Kwaito, though this line of thinking would stimulate great debate among die-hard fans of Kwaito, and puritans of House. Some may even argue that this is one of the reasons why Mandozahas lost his spark, and why a song like Nkalakatha would probably not work in 2014. Well, that really IS a matter of debate.
But perhaps one of the reasons House music has become so prevalent is its engagement with the DJ – this is music that is easily translated onto the dance floor, and easily translated onto the decks. Many a DJ is also a producer, and the music that is born in the studio often makes its way into the public arena when the producer goes out to DJ at a gig or a club.
Of course, the irrepressible Soul Candi Records is the doyen of House music in SA, and has given the music scene the likes of RJ Benjamin, Crazy White Boy and most recently, MiCasa. Soul Candi’s incubator of House beats in the past was their music school, which taught DJing and House music production. This function has subsequently been seconded to another college, but is still done in conjunction with Soul Candi.
And although downloads and music file sharing are becoming a bigger issue with the local music industry, such activities actually fuel the growth of House music, as it becomes popular organically and virally when it spreads across computers, phones and flash drives. To quote Sergio Botelho of Soul Candi: “Music is actually more popular now than it has ever been.” Preach it, brother!
Okay, so unless you’re North American, and even then only of a certain ilk, chances are that when you hear the word “bluegrass’ it will conjure up images of what people do to their lawn when the Bulls roll into town to play rugby…
But here is a no-brainer recipe for musical success, at least in the dance genre: take one half of country singer (specifically ‘bluegrass’), not well known outside of his circles performing with Alison Krauss, and mix together with one half of young Swedish hotshot DJ, and the result is music nirvana. Well, maybe… Read more
It’s been 40 years since the Swedes won Eurovision with their Waterloo. Well, actually it’s three Swedes and a part German who grew up in Norway. But Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid conquered the musical world back in 1974, and have never looked back. Even though it’s been more than 30 years since they last recorded anything, despite numerous requests and pleas to do so (all of course turned down), ABBA still sell millions of albums every year. Read more
Whatever happened to that sweet little girl named Hannah Montana, and how did she become the twerking queen of the world?
Miley Cyrus (nicknamed Miley Virus by non-fans) is the offspring of one Billy Ray Cyrus, who in 1992 (the same year Miley was born) had a scorching hit with Achy Breaky Heart. His equivalent of Pavarotti’s white hanky or Joss Stone’s scarf around the microphone was the mullet, which subsequently became all the rage – and still is, in dodgy suburbs of urban areas around South Africa (and other parts of the world). Billy Ray, complete with his double-barrel name, did for country music what the Three Tenors did for opera: he moved it into the mainstream. Suddenly line dancing became a phenomenon, and like the Macarena, everybody was doing it (even if they wouldn’t admit it now). Billy Ray was Vernon Koekemoer before Vernon Koekemoer (remember him?), and after his flash-in-the-pan hit (which you will still hear at an occasional party today), he moved on to TV, where he became Doc and then starred with his daughter in Hannah Montana. Read more
Simon Cowell will tell you himself that he cannot sing a note in tune. But this is the man who has slayed the dreams of many a wannabe artist – and has also been instrumental in launching the careers of a few others.
The man who started out in the mail room at EMI Music Publishing and rose to the top of the music world has an uncanny knack for sniffing out a new concept in music and turning it into gold. Enter One Direction, the latest drool-delicious eye candy material that makes young girls go weak at the knees. It’s Elvis and The Beatles all over again, with girls swooning and fainting and crying – and we love it! It makes life so interesting…