The Hiervandaan album is the brainchild of current artist in residence at Solms-Delta, renowned South African musician Leslie Javan. He has more than 20 years of experience in music development, community work and activism, and has performed upon invitation at music festivals worldwide. Leslie was also the closest musical colleague of the late great Alex van Heerden, known internationally for his jazz trumpet work and as a pioneer of “psychedelic vastrap”. Alex and Les were the pivotal duo of The Gramadoelas. Leslie is now continuing his own work as one of South Africa ‘s most treasured songwriters. He also makes important contributions to keeping alive the Delta Vastrap Genootskap (an informal association of Afrikaans rural musicians and songwriters created by Alex while at Solms-Delta). This album showcases some of his ongoing work there, with Delta Vastrap Genootskap members, and with farmworkers who participate in the Music van de Caab project.
In 2007 the Delta Trust initiated a Cape music project in the rural Winelands. Research focused on exploring, preserving and honouring the origins of Cape music through extensive fieldwork. Influences on the vernacular music by indigenous Khoe and San traditions, European folksongs, slave cultures from across India, Indonesia and Africa and more modern global dynamics were explored. Rural musical ensembles were simultaneously formed by Alex van Heerden. These included the Delta Optel Band as well as a larger brass band. After Alex’s untimely death in 2009, Adriaan Brand became music project co-ordinator. Today the brass band is called Delta Bluestars. Recently a smaller brass ensemble, the Delta Langbroek Band, was begun for more advanced players. Both these bands play a mixture of local material (old and new) and re-invented material from elsewhere. There is also a women’s choir, the Delta Soetstemme, who perform traditional material and songs by Leslie Javan. Local primary school children are also offered song writing workshops, where they are taught for example that their ancestors said things in song that they dared not say directly. The best way to protect a cultural heritage is to stimulate its future growth!
The CD was launched at the Franschhoek Oesfees in March and is on sale at selected music stores countrywide and online from Rhythm Records – click here to listen and order.
Click here to listen to Les talking to Soli Philander on radio 567 Cape Talk on Thursday 1 April.
Click here for more details on the CD (it is a large PDF, so please be patient while it downloads).
(Picture: Les Javan)