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Octavia's interest in music started at the age of 12 when she sung in school concerts at high school. She arranged music of the trends of that time. When watching her father, Barney Rachabane, perform live at the Market Theatre, with Gloria Bosman, Octavia decided she wanted to perform with him. She said, "music was all around me. I was bound to it in a way. I decided that this was the way I want to take. This is where I want to be. I love it, I enjoy it and I would be happy doing it and making money out of it."
After matric, Octavia studied at Pretoria Technikon and started performing professionally.
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Second Interview Octavia Rachabane
Leonard is the third born of Barneys children. He was about seven years older than me. He played the tenor saxophone. He studied at Natal University. He was good at his craft. Unfortunately he passed on at the age of 26.
He had some compositions, it i just that we don;t have any record of them. The guy who actually had some of his recordings passed on before we could actually get them from him, He lived in our area around Pimville. He was a good musician. The talent was passed on from his dad. Before he died he had a girlfriend called Claire and she actually came to the house at some time. And then she fell pregnant. Leonard couldn't be with her for some reason. She was a cute little young lady. She was white, she was from Durban. They had a child and apparently this child was given up for adoption. He actually told my sister about Claire being pregnant before he passed on. He said he doesn't know how to get hold of Claire but he knows that the child is there. He said he doesn't know what to do, which steps to take so he can see the child and the family get to know the child and maybe connect with them. This year, about a month ago I got a friend request from someone called David Webster. I confirmed the request and then he started asking immediately if I know the late Leonard Rachabane and said how do you know him. And he said, I was told that Leonard is my birth father. I was taken for adoption, the year after I was born and taken to Australia with my adoptive parents. We actually went looking for this child in Durban sometime ago. And with no luck. Barney kept on asking the friends around Durban when he went there to perform with Darius Brubeck and nobody knew anything. They knew the lady but the did not know about he child or they didn't want to tell I don;t know. That is how we got connected with David. He has documents as well saying that his father his Leonard Rachabane.
Besides the jazz side, I love Jill Scott, I think she does what she feels and not what everybody else is saying to do. Not having all the dancers and what what just to get the money. For the mere fact that she is also a poet, she's informed. She knows how to put words together and write beautiful lyrics. And her style of singing is also influenced by jazz and R & B.
First Interview Octavia Rachabane
Your background in the music …
I decided after matric I would go and study at Pretoria Technikon and from then on I met other musicians and I started performing professionally getting paid for what I was doing and not just doing it for the fun of it. From then on that was it. I never looked back.
As far as this demo is concerned the music was recorded because it was some ideas that I had in my mind that kept coming up and I thought maybe one day I could make an album out of this. It is not easy to make an album and get a record deal or whatever because I have already taken the demo to a few recording companies but there was no response towards that but I am still trying to push and if I get enough money I can do it myself and maybe get to market it and do my own thing. It is a demo, there are lots of songs, there are four. I have a lot of songs that I actually wrote with the help of Glen Mafoke who used to stay here at one of the back rooms. I would take my ideas to him and we would put things together and come up with some nice stuff and eventually we got to go to Chisa Records and just lay down the four that I have right now. Actually there are more.
And what do you think your dad still needs to achieve in his life time?
Do you think by giving so much to your dads' career you are undermining you own?
It is not that I am undermining my career. I look up to him a lot because of his experience and what I have seen him go through these years. I am a grown woman. He has been through a lot as well, but he has pulled through. And still playing the music and not diverting and saying I am going to get a job from 9 till 5. He knew what he wanted. And he did what he wanted. And he followed his dream and his passion. I am wiling to do the same.
What will make you stand out in your career?
If I get to do my own music, instead of me being featured in his concerts. Have my own concerts as Octavia Rachabane instead of Barney Rachabane featuring Octavia Rachabane. I want to be an individual. I want to make it on my own.
I don't know how they labeled it township jazz. He would say it is township jazz because maybe they played a lot in the townships. It started in the townships and all that at that time. But, now it is all over. It is broad. It is bigger than just calling it township jazz. The music is people's emotions, people's experiences. It is their lifestyle.
Your dad is part of the old school of the recording industry. Are you part of the technological revolution?
It looks like if you are under a record label, then they restrict you to what you can do instead of going with what you feel and what you want to do. Doing it yourself, you get to grow as an individual. You are free to do what you want to do instead of being restricted to saying this won't sell. The other thing that makes those record labels which I took my demo to reject me, was because I wasn't of that trend at that time. I don't want to follow a certain trend. I want to do me.
I am working on getting people who are willing to work with me. Money is the only problem. Otherwise I am willing to make it with people who can see into the future that there is actually hope to revolutionise this thing instead of trying to say it is all about money, and if I do this with you, you need to give me money. It is money money all the way. If I can get this going I think I will be a step ahead of where I am now. To get people to work with me without any reservations or saying I will be busy today or I can't come. The other one is going to pay me, so we will see you later because there is no money or funding in this project at this moment.
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