… but which guitar?

My first electric guitar: a classic Washburn BT-3, black with a white scratchplate. It resembles the Fender Stratocaster shape, with a more rounded body and 3 pegs on either side of the headstock, instead of Fender’s single line of 6 (this is a blog post all on it’s own… how does tuning one string and simultaniously detuning the next a good thing?). This guitar feels amazing, plays beautifully and has been a great companion to me over the last just over a decade or so. This brings me to the topic of this post: the search for a second guitar. Which guitar to choose?

It’s interesting how, over time, one becomes very comfortable with one’s guitar… so much so that I’m tempted to look in the same range for a second guitar, as I love the Washburn. Floor salesmen usually ask what style you will be playing on the guitar… but what if you play a variety of different styles?

Categorized as Music Tagged

South African musos on Twitter: The List

Since my previous post on South African bands on Twitter, I’ve been contemplating drafting a list of South African bands and musos that tweet. After reading Anna’s blog post on the topic, listing South African music industry Twitter users, I’ve decided to draft the list. Twitter is an amazing service that can assist bands in connecting with their fan base, finding out what their fans would like to know, and sharing information with their fans, potential fans, other bands, etc. If used correctly, the technology can assist bands greatly in growing their fanbase. So, without further ado, here’s the list:

South African bands arrive on Twitter

Recently, I’ve noticed an explosion of South African bands and artists signing up on Twitter to promote themselves. It’s taken a while for bands to cotton on, and they’re now chomping at the bit to get going.

The question here is, really, “will these bands use Twitter for it’s intended purpose, or purely as a follower-gaining tool?”

So often, I’ve heard bands showing off how many friends they have on Myspace or fans on Facebook. There seems to be a definite perception that the more friends/fans you have on your online profile, the more “popular” your band is. I believe this to be incorrect. So what if you have 30000 friends on Myspace? If you don’t interact with them, they mearly serve the purpose of making your band potentially look attractive to a record label, promoter or other music industry tycoon. This is that classic “one chance” that every band seeks out. That one chance to “break out” and “make it big”. What good will that do your band though?

Hog Hoggidy Hog set to tour new album

Legendary Capetonian ska/punk band, Hog Hoggidy Hog, have placed a firm hoofprint in the hearts of South African music lovers. For over a decade, the Hogs have toured South Africa, and to Europe, spreading their brand of “hogcore” punk rock to the masses. Throughout their time, the band have released three studio albums, as well as several EPs. After months of preparation and hard work, their fourth studio album is ready at last, with tour dates to boot!

Categorized as Music

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus confirmed for Coke Zero Fest 2009

It’s official. Florida based American rock band, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, are confirmed to perform at Coke Zero Fest 2009. The addition of this rock supergroup to the line-up can only lead to positive things for the festival.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus will be performing alongside Oasis, Snow Patrol, PANIC! At The Disco, Bullet For My Valentine, The Dirty Skirts, Zebra and Giraffe, Foto Na Dans and aKING at Coke Zero Fest 2009. The line-up seems to be growing and is sporting a fine balance of local and international artists. As I have mentioned before, I am excited that South African bands are able to showcase their talents, in front of their local crowds, to international artists and bigwigs. These kinds of opportunities can only lead to a positive evolution of the South African music industry.

More South African bands announced for Coke Zero Fest 2009

Since the innitial announcement of the line-up for Coke Zero Fest 2009 (when it was mentioned that more bands will be added soon), I’ve been waiting eagerly to see who will be added. Would it be more local bands? Would it be more international bands? I’m not sure of the exact date this announcement was made, but it has been made!

Joining the innitial bands for Coke Zero Fest 2009 are locals Foto Na Dans, aKING (only at the Cape Town festival) and Cassette. This is really great. While the bands are all rock bands (ie: no reggae, punk, blues or other bands), this is a great showcase of South Africa’s musical talent. Aside from that, the majority of the South African bands are based in Cape Town. The influence mountain must surely have something to do with this selection.

4 South African albums to expect in 2009

How often have you heard that your favourite band is “in studio recording their upcoming album”? How many interviews have you read, heard or watched where the band has mentioned that they’re in studio recording an album? This phrase seems to be extremely common among bands in general, which begs the question; “Who is actually releasing their albums and is finished with the recording and production?”. This is who.

Below are several South African bands’ albums to keep an eye and ear out for in 2009. These guys have all been hard at work on their albums for the last year or so, at least. Having followed each of these bands for almost a decade now, I can assure you that they have each pulled out all the stops with their upcoming albums.

The Field Band Foundation – Education through The Arts

Music and the arts have always been a topic close to my heart. Having grown up being a musician from a young age, I have felt the positive impact that music, performance and the arts in general have had on my life and development. Watching a passion-filled performance, whatever it may be, always strikes a chord (for want of a better phrase) within me.

Giving selflessly of oneself is a rare and precious gift for the person or people receiving it. Sharing a skill with or making time for someone, even a few minutes, could have a significant influence on a person’s life, both for the giver and recepient. Helping a child learn to read, smiling at a stranger and asking how their day has been, sharing your lunch…all of these things are small, yet impactful, selfless actions.

While browsing through The Trust’s website, I came across a charity organisation that combines both of the above- educating under-privelaged youths in music and the arts. Knowing the influence that music had on my personality, confidence and overall approach to things, this charity comes close to my heart. This charity is The Field Band Foundation.

The Field Band Foundation’s core mission is to influence personal growth, education and development through social interaction, music, dance and the arts, all of which are fun and exciting activities that take place outside of the conventional classroom. The arts are fun, inspirational and can act both as an individual stimulus or as a collective collaborative project, creating a social platform for youths to meet, interact with one another and put aside their heartships to have some fun.

In and amongst this, the participants learn a new skill, be it an instrument, dance style or other art form. All of the above are, as mentioned above, either solo endevours or highly connected collaborative works. Music, in particular,  is an artform that, when collaborated on, is structured and solid, while still being loose and fun and the same time. The feeling of making an instrument really talk (not just make noises) is a feeling like no other I have ever experienced…other than the sound of an instrument, played by someone else, that is really talking…I mean, really talking!

The work that the Field Band Foundation are doing is really second to none. Everyone deserves at least the chance to try. The FBF are providing a platform for youths to seize this chance and gain an invaluable life skill. I am so glad I found this charity and have been able to find out more about the incredible work they are doing for the youth of South Africa.

Learning an art form, instrument or performance skill is, in my opinion, an invaluable developmental stage in one’s life. It is never too late to start learning, so if you feel you’re past your sell-by date on learning an instrument, think again.

Have you had the same or similar experiences with the arts? Please share your experiences in the comments below. 

Red Five Point Star to tour South Africa

I love it when bands tour to South Africa. We get to show them an awesome time and share our uniquely beautiful landscape and our local musical talent with them. Over the last decade, we’ve hosted bands from all over the world, such as Mad Caddies, NOFX and Lagwagon from the USA, and Skaladdin, Drei Flaschen from Europe. Now Red Five Point Star (RFPS) from Slovenia are gracing our shores with their uniquely blended ska tunes.

RFPS  describe themselves as “dirty ska”. This 6-piece outfit have a unique approach to their sound. With a strong use of keyboards and brass over a backline of drums, bass and guitar, these Slovenians know how to do it! An excerpt from the press release reads as follows: