The Music van de Caab Heritage Project on Solms-Delta has recorded a brand new album, titled “Bamboesbos”, which was released at the Franschhoek Oesfees on March 24, 2012. It is the second CD to be released by the Delta Trust, which funds the Music van de Caab Project. The first album, ‘Hiervandaan’ was released last year, and was nominated for a SAMA award.
This year’s album is titled after the bamboo copses found on so many of the lush estates of the Cape Winelands. It honours the musical heritage of the descendants of the slaves of the colony of old, while thanking the ancestors for bringing the bamboo over from Batavia. The album is co-produced by project manager Adriaan Brand (himself a three-times SAMA winner) and project tutor/songwriter Nick Turner, who recently returned from a fruitful artistic stint in New York. ‘Bamboesbos’ comprises 12 tracks. The material is a mixture of medleys and arrangements of traditional songs, as well as original songs composed and arranged by Leslie Javan, Adriaan Brand, Nick Turner, other Music van de Caab staff members such as Carlo Fabe and Oslin Jacobs, as well as the Delta Soetstemme and the Delta Langbroek Band.
As such the new album showcases the songwriting journey of the people of the Franschhoek valley and greater Cape Winelands. Songs written by their ancestors are re-appreciated, with new life breathed into them. Great examples are ‘Op ‘n Dam se Wal’, ‘Baboesbospatapata’, and ‘Moses Medley’ (a deliciously foot-tapping string of traditional ‘koortjies’). Songs which resulted from the efforts of a resident composer programme, were written by Leslie Javan (also the producer of the ‘Hiervandaan’ album). Some of Leslie’s most brilliant songs on this album include ‘Daar ver in die Gramadoelas’, ‘Cape Jazz se Ghoema’, ‘Die rots op Golgota’, ‘Amalie’ and ‘Roos’. The resident composer programme has the explicit aim of providing high standard modeling of the songwriting process as performed by a technically proficient composer, while project participants are encouraged and helped to bring their own ideas to the table, so that new songs can be developed from them. The latter process is now in full swing, as the ‘Bamboesbos’ album demonstrates: songs written by project participants assisted at grassroots level by Adriaan Brand and Nick Turner, are also showcased. Some of the best examples are ‘Kapalerings’, ‘Huiskind’ and ‘Solms, my tuiste’. The latter song is of particular interest. The choir wrote the most touching poem about resilience in the face of oppression in the past, and were assisted to put this to a melody which will serve as a landmark in the empowerment experience of generations of residents both on Solms-Delta and in the greater winelands.
The feel of the album is thus proudly indigenous, and winelands-local, while influences from the urban surrounds are honoured and acknowledged: gospel, roots pop and Cape Jazz flavours waft in and out through the vastrap fabric in a near-seamless fashion.
Several well known artists also offered their voices for free: Anton Goosen, Karen Zoid, Pieter van der Westhuizen, Valiant Swart, and classical violin maestro Piet de Beer came in to record cameo appearances on several tracks, completely pro bono and in the interest of music development and positive identity construction amongst the farmworkers of the winelands.
Recording work was done at the University of Stellenbosch Studios, at truly wonderfully concessional rates, engineered by Gerhard Roux. This gave Music van de Caab participants a rare opportunity to experience world class recording facilities, and a pleasant recording experience. Gerhard Roux also did the mixing of the album, and is the angel behind all the free nightly editing time that Adriaan Brand was afforded, to tighten up the recorded takes. Some additional recordings were also done at Bellville Studios, with the facilities there also kindly offered pro bono by Adriaan’s Springbok Nude Girls guitar playing colleague Theo Crous.
If the success of the first Delta Trust CD is anything to go by, the potential of the second release is enormous. Valuable lessons were learned, and the current album is the product of a year of focused work and planning. Come into the Bamboesbos. You’re in for a big surprise!