Posts Tagged ‘Retoer’

Andries Bezuidenhout. Bleek Berus: One F Music se mediaverklaring

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Release: Oktober 2009

One F Music kondig met genoegdoening die vrystelling van Andries Bezuidenhout se tweede solo-CD, Bleek Berus, aan. Andries is reeds bekend as een van die land se mees toonaangewende singer-songwriters.

Bleek Berus bevat tien splinternuwe songs, waarvan die meeste deur Drikus Barnard tussen 2007 en 2009 opgeneem is. Dit bevat ook “Die laaste brandwag,” wat deur Paul Riekert in 2004 opgeneem is vir KykNet se program “Die liedjies wat ons ken.”

Tematies sny die meeste van die lirieke by die tema “woestyn” aan, hetsy die Namib, of die Hoëveld as menslike woestyn. “Vernichtungsbefehl,” die laaste track, is ook beskikbaar as gedig in Andries se digbundel Retoer. Temas soos identiteit en emigrasie word weer ontgin, maar op nuwe maniere.

Musikaal is Bleek Berus in die styl van baie van hedendaagse Americana en alt-country opgeneem, maar met ʼn plaaslike inslag – sterk akoestiese buitelyne wat subtiel met elektronika ingekleur word.

Die nuwe album volg na Insomniak se Droomalmanak (2003), asook Spergebied (2002) en Terug in Skubbe (2005), wat hy saam met die nou ontbinde Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes vrygestel het. Aan die einde van 2007 het sy debuutdigbundel Retoer by Protea Boekhuis verskyn.


1. Why did it take you so long to release another solo album?

Most of the songs and the concept for the album were ready a few years back. I had initially planned to record and release it shortly after the last Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes album “Terug in Skubbe”. Since the band’s first CD “Spergebied” was followed by a solo one, “Insomniak se Droomalmanak”, I thought it would be a productive rhythm. Kind of like band, solo, band, solo, and so on. But things didn’t work out that way. The band was in a bit of a crisis because of a shortage of new material, so I decided to suspend the solo project and to use the songs for the band. And then that also didn’t work out. I guess the songs were too introspective for the band, which was a rock band after all. When the band finally disbanded, I focused on poetry for a while, but the songs nagged to be recorded. Now, finally, after many years, I can release them.

2. The album is imbued with a sense of loss. Do you think it is time to, “Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira”?

For many it is, but not for me. My answer to that question is in the song “Dis net werk toe wat ek nog deur Hillbrow ry.” I’ve given far too much to this country and I’ve taken far too much from it to pack up and leave. But many of the songs deal with those decisions, and friends and family who decide otherwise.

3. You chose Drikus Barnard, who is a relatively unknown producer. What sparked that decision and what was the experience like?

Drikus, also known as Brixton Barnard, started recoding the songs for the Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes album, as bass player and co-vocalist. It made sense to continue working with him on the songs when the band project didn’t work out. He knows my songs well and is the right cynical antidote to the little bits of sentimentality that sometimes creep into my songs. In the end the recoding process took two years and I think he did a wonderful job. I hope people sit up and take notice of his work as a left field music producer.

4.  Tell me more about your book in relation to this album and also the book launch you are attending on the 21st?

The book is called “As almal ver is”. It is a collection of essays about Diasporas and South Africans abroad, edited by Afrikaans poet Danie Marais. I contributed a piece on my visits to my sister in Australia and to Ockert (the former drummer of the Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes) in Canada. The book also contains comic strips and a beautiful lyric by David Kramer about a man, who emigrated to Canada, who visits the South African town where he grew up. Danie asked my to sing some of my songs that deal with the issue at the launch. But I must say, my album is more about staying than it is about leaving.

5. “Bring die buie, bring die reën, laat die wolke hulle trane oor droë grond ween” – has it happened yet? It has a response almost Nick Caves “Weeping Song” with a beacon of hope and also the “Ship Song”, with a bit of “1000 kisses deep”, this is your Bittervrug, “Ek sien jou in my drome”. You tell me…

The inspiration for the song comes from Lüderitz in Namibia. The town gets its water from deep under the surface of the desert; age old fossil water. The water tastes pure and feels soft on your skin. The Afrikaans poet Wilma Stockenström wrote a beautiful, but cynical poem about this called “Koichab se water.” My song about water under the desert’s surface is an attempt at a love song. I’m not very good at writing love songs, or declaring my love, so it is filled with trepidation. I can only hope that it works.

6. Explain the themes intrinsic to your album, and the relationship with Joburg – do you hope she misses you?

I initially wanted to call the album “Dorsland,” but that title had been used by someone else. Most of the songs are about the desert. I love the Karoo, the Kalahari, and the Namib. That is where I feel at home. Those are also the parts of southern Africa where Afrikaans is mostly spoken. In the Karoo Afrikaans cannot pretend to be a European language, it is unashamedly indigenised. Like the landscape, it is a tough, barren language, filled with sand and dust. I don’t feel I belong in Johannesburg, as if I’m just one of many immigrants from across the world who scrape a living here. But the Highveld also has its own beauty, especially in winter. That is what the song “Hoëveld-utopia” is about, where the album’s title comes from – bleek berus – bleak resignation. Even though the Highveld is a cold human desert, people seem to find beauty and warmth here. When I think of the place as a desert, I do too.

7. Do you make the same statements with your visual art as you do with music and your written word projects, do you speak the same ‘language’ in each medium? Not necessarily a written but emotional language?

I’m currently working on landscapes, or rather cityscapes of Johannesburg as seen from the balcony of my apartment. So I guess so. But painting allows me to escape words. When I paint I stop thinking in language and go numb. Without it, I think I’d go completely mad.

8. Making an album is making something and letting it walk its own road, Nick Cave likened his songs to being sad eyed children, your poetry, music and visual art – what is your relationship to these?

The problem with recorded albums and printed poems is that, unlike people, they can’t grow further. It’s final. So they’re not children. But some psychoanalysts argue people make art because of a fear of death. Apparently they also have children for this reason. So art and children are both attempts at immortality. Since I’ve never been in therapy, apart from the occasional session with Jack Daniels, I’m not sure about this. I’m happy to live a life that is only examined in lyrics. Who cares about immortality? That is the joy of working in a dying language. You know there won’t be people who speak or read Afrikaans two centuries from now, so Afrikaans songwriters and poets can never have pretentions of immortality. I hope this doesn’t sound too melodramatic, but at least we’re allowed to give our language a decent funeral.

9. This is certainly your most eloquently written album – tell me how your studies have broadened your ability to communicate what it is you wish the listener to “see”.

Thanks for the compliment. I guess you’re referring to the course in creative writing I’m doing with Marlene van Niekerk and Willem Anker? That is more for poetry, but I hope in future it will improve my lyrics as well.

10. Why are your comments on life so ‘bleak’ – why the dry, dark, ironic side of life – comment?

I don’t know. I don’t think I’m a particularly depressed or depressing individual. I hope people hear the humour in the lyrics and appreciate some of the tongue-in-cheek arrangements as well. After all, a little light makes you see the dark even better.


Spergebied, Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes (2002)

“Firmly in the middle of the new wave of Afrikaans rock bands, BMRO plays driving folk rock – kind of like Koos du Plessis had he ever heard Nirvana… Their debut album is uncomplicated in sound and filled with great songs (good lyrics is one of their hallmarks) about women, drinking, Jo’burg, yuppies, road rage and life in general… On the whole, music that will make you feel better the morning after you did something reprehensible.”
– Toast Coetzer, SL Magazine, December 2002/January 2003

“Afrikaanse rock het liriekskrywers soos hierdie nodig.”
– Pieter Redelinghuys, Insig, Junie 2002

“This is not a very cheerful album on the lyrical side, but the music really rocks. So, to mis-quote Syd (Kitchen, not Barrett), this CD is not for sissies, but the brave listener who ventures into this Restricted Area will be rewarded with some very unrestricted Afrikaans Rock.”
– Brian Currin, South African Rock Digest

“Afrikaans music in the folk or folk/rock style has been around for ages, producing excellent song writers like the superb Koos du Plessis and Koos Kombuis, reflecting many aspects of life in South Africa. This album carries on in that fine tradition… No-go areas of the human psyche, despair, hope, deterioration, love and violence are confronted with humour, anger, irony and sensitivity using brilliant imagery…  Don’t let me give you the impression that this album is all doom and gloom. There is a great balance and serious fun, some great lines and good music that will leave you wondering when the next Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes CD will be coming out.”
– Etienne Creux, Pretoria News, 21 August 2002

“Hierdie is woordemusiek, maar nie daai kak soort wat traai diep wees nie. Lyrics gaan oor gewone stuff soos die lewe in Joburg, hoe kak yuppies is, armgeid, en road rage. En wie sal ooit weer kan stry dat daar meriete is in dronkword op mens se eie?… Doen nou julself ‘n moerse guns en gaan kry die CD of check die ouens live. Die CD het 12 befokte tracks op, dis bedonnerd gerecord met ‘n lekker cover en dis meer as die moeite werd. En moenie by ons kom huil as jy jou broek natpis na “Geraamtes in jou kas” nie. Sterk wees vir daai song.”
– CHopper CHarlie, watkykjy? Augustus 2002

Insomniak se Droomalmanak, Andries Bezuidenhout (2003)

“It has taken more than ten years, but at last there is a proper follow-up to Koos Kombuis’ seminal ‘Niemandsland’. On ‘Insomniak se Droomalmanak’ singer/songwriter Andries Bezuidenhout has taken Koos’ knack for melody and bittersweet Afrikaans lyrics and catapulted them into the new millennium. The fourteen songs tackle life in Gauteng, with its suburbia, yuppies and old lefties now living behind huge walls. There’s irony, protest and literary references. And not a single trace of Afrikaner nationalism.”
– Fred de Vries

“While some idiots give Afrikaans music a terrible name with their badly produced songs about rugby or Rooi Rok Bokkies, at least there are some artists like Koos Kombuis, Kobus! and Piet Botha to save the genre from becoming a line-dancing joke. Andries Bezuidenhout subscribes to the introspective, thought-provoking school of minimalist philosophical expression, commenting on life and the world, from the little things to the bigger picture. The poetic themes of the dream world, the waking dream, sleepwalking existence and the reflection of South African city and suburban life, changes, angst and being white these days may be a heady mix, but it works. There are reflections on idealistic student-type causes and ideals, on hope, longing and the current dispensation – not merely politically but socially, economically and everything else. While it is quite obvious, the only really accurate comparison to be drawn would be with Andre LeToit (better known as Koos Kombuis), both in style and some subject matter. Bezuidenhout loves the language and uses it expressively…”
– Paul Blom, Cape Argus, 27 October 2003

“Daar word baie gepraat oor ons land, sy probleme en die mense wat in hierdie omstandighede vasgevang is. Wanneer hierdie kwessies deur rym en sang getakel word, kyk jy weer op ‘n ander manier na die vreemde en wonderlike land waarin ons woon. As kunstenaars nog oor die moeilikhede kan sing en humor in situasies raaksien, kan dit jou help vrede maak met elektriese heinings en sekerheidsmaatskappye wat moet sorg dat vriende veilig kan kuier. Andries Bezuidenhout (van Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes) se kommentaar op die hedendaagse Suid-Afrika is skerp, op die man af en hartverskeurend mooi. Die lirieke vir sy CD Insomniak se droomalmanak maak vir elkeen sin, of hy uit die generasie linkses van ouds kom, of ‘n produk van die reënboog-situasie is…  Soos die titelsnit aandui, is die saambindende tema wakkelê(wees) en droom van rus. Die ironie van iemand wat die wêreld juis in die donker nag duidelik sien, blyk uit feitlik al die lirieke. Op die meeste albums is ‘n snit of twee wat minder indruk maak as die ander. Selde gebeur dit dat elke snit op sy eie manier onder die luisteraar se vel kruip. Sonder om opdringerig te wees, maak Bezuidenhout ‘n sinvolle stelling in elke lied…”
– Mariana Malan, Die Burger, 6 Oktober 2003


Terug in Skubbe, Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes (2005)

” ‘Wie wil nou ‘n mens wees?’ vra Moord Greeff in ‘Vis’, die eerste lied op die Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes se jongste album, Terug in Skubbe. Daar sal sekerlik stemme opgaan van skepsels wat mens wíl wees juis omdat dit vir óns ore is dat die musiek van hierdie album bedoel is. Dis net ménse wat sal verstaan waaroor die seer en die soet in die lirieke gaan. Visse, honde en voëls het voorregte, maar musiekwaardering is nie een daarvan nie. Hierdie album laat ‘n mens opnuut wonder oor rockers se intense kennis van die lewe… In die geheel het hierdie (die groep se tweede) album se musiek meer verskeidenheid as die eerste, wat hoofsaaklik folk-rock bevat… Hul aanslag wys kennis en begrip van poësie en kombineer dit op unieke wyse met die musiekgenre wat hulle gekies het.”
– Mariana Malan, Die Burger, 11 Maart 2005

“Terug in skubbe is ‘n tema wat gaan oor omgekeerde evolusie. Soos die meeste songs op die album gaan dit ook oor persoonlike verval en agteruitgang, terwyl die tunes terselfdertyd die mooi daarin probeer raaksien. Gekompliseerde songs wat smag na die ongekompliseerde. Dis min of meer die uitgangspunt. Wanneer jy na dié band se goed luister, gaan dit nie anders kan as om te dink aan ‘n besonderse eiesoortigheid nie. Dit is ouens wat weet hoe om te jol, maar ook weet wat hulle uit hul musiek wil hê. Sover soos true school gaan, is jy hierso op die regte pad.”
– Angola Badprop, Beeld, 18 April 2005

“To bring out a great first album is wonderful but to sustain that growth and creativity and come up with an even better second album (albeit more than two years later) is impressive… With all the social commentary and insights of their excellent first album Spergebied, the new album is much tighter, with a harder edge, in music as well as the lyrics. The brilliant imagery, which is at times cutting, humorous or cynical but never bland, explores the human psyche, especially the darker side… While the powerful poetry of Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes’ lyrics is probably their best feature, it is the beautiful tunes and arrangements with great vocals that complete the whole package to make this very fine album.”
– Etienne Creux, Pretoria News, 20 April 2005

“Die verskillende stemme is wat die CD laat werk. Nie noodwendig sangstemme nie (maar dié is daar ook). Eerder stemme wat iets te sê of te vertel het, iets wat nog nie tevore gesê of vertel is nie. Terug in skubbe is ‘n lieflike CD. Die grootste gros in hardekoejawel-rock. “Vis”, “Spoed”, “Sussie se sweep” en “Terapie” staan uit. Maar daar is ook dié wat die vrug van folk en country pluk. Bowenal soek ek die Afrikaanse tunes wat vanjaar by songs soos “Lisa Forward” en “Trane van ‘n terroris” kan kers vashou. Terug in skubbe is ‘n juweel.”
– Pieter Redelinghuys, Insig, Mei 2005

“Die manne van die Jo’burg Afrikaanse underground het weer gedilver en ‘n CD uitgebring waarvoor heelwat ander moet terugstaan. Terug in skubbe is ‘n tema van omgekeerde evolusie, maar dui eintlik op ‘n hunkering na eenvoudigheid in ‘n goor samelewing… Ander Afrikaanse bands gaan beslis ‘n paar tips in songwriting kan vang.”
– Angola Badprop, Beeld, 2 Mei 2005

“Brixton Moord en Roof se musiek dra ou, afgeleefde Cats; groet jou met ‘n ghrieserige hand en ruik effens na sweet en ou whiskey. Dis liedjies oor middelklas- en minder-as-middelklasmense in middelklas- of minder-as  middelklasbuurte en die middelklas- of minder as middelklasdinge wat hulle doen. Die liedjie waaruit die CD-titel kom, Vis, verwys na ‘n gedig van D.J. Opperman waarin dit gaan oor die vrees om die evolusieleer mis te trap en ‘n paar trappe te gly… Kry dit as jy nie bang is vir musiek wat ‘n effense ghriessmaak in jou mond laat nie…”
– Jaco Jacobs, Volksblad, 9 Mei 2005

“Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes haat dit as mens hulle die Afrikaanse rockgroep met ‘n gewete noem… Maar dis waar. Terug in skubbe is hul beste album tot dusver, hoofsaaklik vanweë die baie afwisseling wat produksie en musiek betref… BMRO rock hier harder as ooit tevore. Maar onthou ook om te luister wat hulle sê.”
– Dirk Jordaan, Beeld, 11 Mei 2005

“BMRO extend their survey of South Africa’s psycho-geography with Terug In Skubbe. With their driving garage blues rock blow-outs (“Vis”), pastoral luisterliedjie pit stops and gothic rock overhauls of Koos Doep ballads (“Dagboek van ‘n Swerwer”), the cult Afrikaans rock outsiders percolate a potent post-Voëlvry brew.”
– Miles Keylock, CD Wherehouse, Mei 2005

One F Music