Kalahari Karoo (not so) Blues

 How blessed we were to be able to attend opening night of the Kalahari Karoo Blues presented by David Kramer! 

Today our heart beats to the rhythm of Africa and our souls rejoice in the knowledge that we are African!  David Kramer thoroughly deserves a number of awards for this masterpiece, a “national geographic” tour into the historical African and South African music!

 

The Baxter Theatre was packed with such a mix of our beautiful rainbow nation, but we were all united through the African rhythms.  I sincerely hope that the remaining 8 shows will be sold out! 

 

David opened the show with the following phrase:  “This is the Baxter, normally it’s full of music and drama, but tonight it’s full of David Kramer and anything can happen!”. And did it all happen!  It was the most sincere and unpretentious show I had ever seen.

 

The line up consist of:

 

David Kramer as we all came to know and love him.  Those red shoes shining bright and making every one of his, very agile, steps clearly visible.  Man, can he move!  At one point he was playing his guitar while bent over so low that the bottom of the guitar was sweeping the stage!  He does not seem to get any older and will put most of us to shame on the dance floor.  

 

Die Sonskynsusters, Elsbeth Davids and Ruth Hector, whose appearance strongly reminded me of old ladies on their way to church.  The hems of their beautiful dresses gently swaying to the rhythm of their hips, church hats completing the respectable look.  My favorite performance of the night had to be Ruth’s rendition of Calvinia.  A heart wrenching tribute to Helena Kleingeld.  She had me in tears and left goose bumps on all.

 

Aunty Mary Kriel from Vredendal, clad in traditional Namaqua dress complete with “voortrekker kappie” and apron, strums / drums a medium sized coffee tin.  She started of slowly with her first song.  However, when we applauded her  inspiration soared and she went straight into another, more upbeat song.  The Kalahari spirit kicked in and took over.  At this point David helplessly threw his hands in the air and sat back down.  She was an absolute winner and he new better than to try and stop her.  The longer she sang the more daring her Riel dancing became and Hannes Coetzee and Outeng Piet spontaneously joined her in dance.     

 

Hannes Coetzee is no stranger to performing arts.  He became a youtube sensation for his slide spoon method of playing the guitar.  At over 60 he and David were, jokingly, trying to outdo each other at winning the “Salusa45” prize for who could dance and perform the longest!  He took a trip with David to Seattle in 2010 to teach his slide spoon method.  It turns out that the Dolly Parton band are huge fans of his.  Another accolade to his name is that Grammy winning folk group, Carolina Chocolate Drops, will this year be recording his song Mahala.    

 

Then there are the 3 artists from Botswana: Outeng Piet, Ronnie Moipaloi and Babsi (didn’t get his surname unfortunately).  Only Outeng Piet could speak English and Ronnie does not understand a word of English.  David was visibly nervous throughout the show and it was clear that he didn’t know what the audience would make of their songs in a completely foreign language.  His nervousness was in vain.  Their musical abilities drew us in and made us part of their heritage.

 

Outeng Piet was dressed in buckskin and I guess the best way to describe him would be as an Energizer Bunny!  For the life of him he could not sit still and was constantly getting up to dance to the other performers music.  I found it beautiful that, even though he understands no Afrikaans, he completely merged with their music and was thoroughly enjoying himself.  He gave the most heartfelt thank you to the audience.  He plays the one-stringed segaba, which kind of looks like a shovel turned sideways and slung over the shoulder.  He produces the most haunting sounds from it.  Something like a rusty windmill turning in the wind.  He sings mainly to give HIV education to kids.  His first song was about the necessity of using condoms.  His second song had me in stitches.  It is a very funny narrative of the milk man who should never wear a cap while milking (circumcision) and never put the milk straight in your mouth, but in a bucket first (condomize!).  It was great fun.

 

Ronnie is the other internet sensation in the cast.  It took David the better part of 2 years to track him down after he first saw him on youtube.  It was well worth it.  He plays the notes on the guitar much like one would play the piano, with the hands playing from the top, rather than from the bottom as you normally would, even using his elbow at times.  Sometimes he does all of this with the guitar held behind his head, the back of the guitar facing the back of his head!  Very talented indeed.  He sang a song called “Marakaras” meaning miracle and as David said 2013 is a year of miracles and wonders.

 

Babsi in his pristine white suit, who is at 80 also the oldest of the cast, lit up the stage with his performance.   He plays the tendjoro. a 3 stringed guitar made of a Castrol oil can which he plays with a bow made of branch.  It sounds so much like a violin and you could easily mistake it for being a one.

 

The show came to an end with the 3 Botswana performers combining their three instruments as an orchestra, David, Aunty Mary and Hannes doing a traditional Riel Dance and Die Sonskynsusters gently swaying to the melody.  As I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine myself sitting in a remote. village with a fire crackling in front of me.

 

A most magical evening, one we will not forget.  The culmination of 12 years work for David, a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

 

Cape Town, get to the Baxter!  The show runs until the 19th of January and it is worth every cent and more.

 

Thank you David!  You have reminded us of our African roots.

Taste and Tweet!

Despite having BlackBerry maps as well as printed directions from the Baxter’s website and Google Maps, we had a slight friendly banter on the way to the event: men, woman and directions. Oi, those three just don’t go together! All’s well that ends well and we arrived with plenty of time to spare.

With it being our first time at the Baxter Theatre we were blown away by the sheer size of it as well as the décor. Of course we were looking for someone to take a photo of us, but for some reason none of the Baxter personnel, and I mean nobody, are allowed to take photos. Strange but true! We eventually managed to find someone willing to take this photo.

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On arrival we were met by the marketing manager, Fahiem, a delightfully friendly guy! When he heard that we were from Somerset West he turned to Deon and Leon, tasting staff from Solms Delta, and said; “Get these guys a dop, they’ve come ALL the way from Somerset West!” (only about 30 minutes away!). As luck would have it, he also had his seat right next to us and he was an absolute encyclopedia of information throughout. Thanks Fahiem, you’ve added some extra sparkle to the night!

Taste and Tweet!?! Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what this is, until last night I’ve never heard of it either, but what a brilliant concept. You can get some more info on it here or on twitter at #tasteandtweet. What it boils down to is that a group of like minded people get together taste the food and wine on offer and then tweet their opinion. That then gives others the opportunity to connect on a social level with people that they might never have met and to discover new places and know what to expect in terms of the food and wine on offer. One of the first questions asked to everyone who arrived was: do you tweet?! It was a tweeting frenzy and they even had a projector up to the side so everyone could see what the others were tweeting! It turned out to be so much fun with everyone trying to out-tweet each other.

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The main attraction, the reason for actually being there, the food and wine, ensured that everyone had a lot to say!

The food part of the Taste and Tweet was presented by Chef Shaun from Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta. The menu consisted of the most divine canapés: Mini Cajun Beef minute steak on roosterkoek with wild herb pesto, vegetable samosa, sesame tandoori chicken and vegetable skewers, Cape style sausage rolls and (my personal favorite) Blue cheese and caramelised onion puff tart! Yes, it all was as mouthwateringly good as it sounds! If this is any indication of the food on offer at Fyndraai, I will definitely be going there in the near future!

The wine part was presented by Solms Delta. They had a wide variety of excellent quality wines on offer at ridiculously good prices. I would definitely recommend making a stop at the estate whenever you are in the Franschhoek area. The top two that we enjoyed most were Hiervandaan and the Shiraz bubbly. The bubbly also turned out to be the crowds winner of the night and priced at only R80.00 per bottle it is sure to sell like hotcakes!

Leon and Deon who were in charge of tastings at the light whites (Deon) and dry wines (Leon) added so much to the feel of the evening with their knowledge, personality and friendliness. I especially enjoyed Leon with his rich descriptions of the wine, his explanation of the cultivars and what they bring to the wine. He is an absolute gem and I would do a wine tour with him any day!

The food and wine created an atmosphere of relaxation, indulgence and laughter and definitely set us all in good spirits for the show to follow.

The highest level of compliments needs to go to the organizers, Chef Shaun and the Solms Delta staff.

You have brought everything together beautifully to ensure a most memorable evening!

A night at the theatre

Wow, what a fantastic evening it was. There is so much to be said that I’ve decided to do this in three posts:

1 How it came about (will be covered in this post)
2 Taste and Tweet
3 Kalahari Karoo (not so) Blues!

How it came about!

As you all know by now, I am a huge believer in The Law of Attraction. Again, this week I saw it working for me.

On Tuesday morning, on the way to work, we saw an old VW Kombi and got reminiscing about the old David Kramer TV ads. Do you still remember those! Jacques has been a fan of his since forever and we said that it would be nice to see him perform “one day”. Step One in the Law of Attraction: Put the wheels in motion.

During the course of the day, I came across a competition by Wine Extra, whom I have been following for some time now. The prize: Double tickets from Solms Delta to see Kalahari Karoo Blues presented by the legend himself: David Kramer at the Baxter Theatre! Needless to say, I immediately entered and started the long wait! Step Two: Believe and wait for it to come to you.

The competition was due to close at 4PM on the day with winners to be announced shortly thereafter. Well, I must have checked my BlackBerry about 100 times between 4PM and 11PM. When I arrived at work on Wednesday morning, my enthusiasm got the better of me and I sent them a message enquiring about the winners. I nearly jumped out my skin when they announced a bit later that I had won. Step Three: Show gratitude!

Jacques was extremely happy and of course, impressed by my winning skills, which once again managed to ensure something which was guaranteed to be a cracker of a night.

So a huge thank you to Wine Extra and Solms Delta for a fab night!