Hi everybody on HIVE! I am writing to you from Cape Town, South Africa!
One of my main hobbies is song-writing in a variety of styles and emotions, and I perform my songs mostly with acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals. (You can read about my most recent gig with fellow Hivean @Clairemobey here: @jasperdick/music-live-videos-our-first - it went really well and was super encouraging!)
South Africa has 11 official languages, and there is a local demand for music in some of them, like Afrikaans and isiZulu. However, English is also an official South African language, and it happens to be the language that I speak and write songs in.
Many of the larger English radio stations in South Africa will play music from all over the world, and our “top 40” won’t sound too different from those in the USA or the UK, with everyone from Justin Bieber to Coldplay to Demi Lovato… Because of this, there isn’t really a huge demand for local English original music, and the audience who makes a point of supporting local music in English is a bit of a niche.
With that said, it can be difficult to become successful enough to break out, get onto the radio, and then even start to get known in other countries, especially if you don’t have the money for studio recordings, etc…
Several South African artists have managed to pull it off and become famous outside of the country through talent, hard-work and some luck… let me name some off the top of my head:
•Goldfish – a dance music act that is a hit in Ibiza
•Jeremy Loops – recently collaborated on a song with Ed Sheeran
•Die Antwoord – well, actually their music is mostly in Afrikaans, which is based on the Dutch that was spoken by settlers in South Africa, and so people in the Netherlands and Belgium can vaguely understand it and Die Antwoord have fans there apparently.
•The Kiffness – he has made an international following based on his Youtube videos that mix musical talent, with humour and creativity (such as incorporating animal sounds as the main hook to base a song around).
•Dave Matthews from Dave Matthews Band is actually South African
•Johnny Clegg of Juluka / Savuka mixed traditional Zulu music with Western Rock to become much beloved in South Africa, but also places like France…
•Black Coffee is a DJ who has just won a Grammy…
And several more… that list actually grew as I was writing it!
However, the point I would like to make is that there are many other talented South African musicians and song-writers that I think are extremely talented, that are completely unknown in the rest of the world, and are actually only known to those special people in South Africa who bother to go looking for local talent.
Besides playing my own songs around Cape Town and getting to meet local artists at gigs, I also used to be on the committee of the Barleycorn Music Club that used to provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talent.
So, if it is okay with the moderators, I really want to use the HIVE Music Community to share a few videos to expose some South African English music talent (besides myself) that I think people out there might enjoy! Yes, I will make sure I share my own music sometimes as well!
So here comes the first in what I hope will become a series:
Another South African Talent I think You Will Enjoy – Wayne Pauli / The Stremes
When I was on the Barleycorn Music Club Committee, Wayne Pauli was one of the performers who could play an acoustic solo set and make beautiful music with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. The older members of the committee, who had served for many years, since the Club had concentrated mainly on folk music (and had since become more versatile and welcoming to other genres) thought that Wayne Pauli on his own was simply sublime. And he was.
And then sometimes Wayne would bring his bass player and drummer along, and plug in his electric guitar, forming his band he called the Stremes. Suddenly, it was the same wonderful song-writing, but with a more pop-rock sound to it:
Listen to these two songs and tell me they’re not World Class?
(Source: The Stremes Youtube Channel)
(Source: Belinda Botha’s Youtube Channel – a good friend of Wayne Pauli’s)
I really hope you enjoy those songs and try look up the rest of Wayne Pauli / The Stremes online to find more!