GOEMA CAPTAINS OF CAPE TOWN
“If it's the end of the world,play goema.”
Goema Captains of Cape Town was a self-styled orchestral jazz band that wasinclusive, collaborative and enjoyable. Goema Captains were always calling musicians toward it. The action of creating a band is constant. It requires constant rehearsing, performing, collaborating, and doing so until the sound absolutely and completely embodies the intention of the musical cast. From their inauguration at the wondergigs, the Goema Captains did a further thirty collaborative performances in and around Cape Town including two days in the studio. This resulted in their only album, which Mac himself described as 'a befokk-da album.' Musicians featured ... Guitar: Mac Mckenzie Piano Hilton Schilder Trumpet and accordion Alex Van Heerden Vocals Ernie Deane, Zolani Mahola Saxophone Robbie Jansen, Mark Fransman Violin Mike Rennie Drums Clement Bennie, Kurt Davids Bass Eddie Jooste, Basil Moses, Riedwaan Bolie Banjo Kaatjie Davids Choir New Orleans Choir Trombone Jannie Van Tonder Steel Drums Liz Broukhart Producer Struan Douglas ...
The Goema Captains represented a core team, the head of an arrow. The core team represented the philosophy of immaculate expansion whereby a star was to become a cluster and then to become a universe; whereby a spark of inspiration was to ignite an entire scene and pick it up from the bootlaces. Mac McKenzie is a fantastic bandleader and the Goema Captains of Cape Town formed around him and his lifelong collaboration with Hilton Schilder and Alex Van Heerden. Mac together with a team of brilliant Cape musicians created the 'Goema captains of Cape Town.' We began an anthemic journey into the heart of the rainbow nation as witnessed from the Cape of storms, or Tavern of the Seven Seas as this gorgeous land was once known. Mac had ridden the tragic hustle of fame through incredible ups and downs. When I met Mac he had been cash strapped for years. But reputations change as do people. We dropped an album, the Goema Captains of Cape Town and Macs return to the maestro status began in earnest. "Change is slow but change is here."
From their inauguration at the wondergigs, the Goema Captains did a further thirty collaborative performances in and around Cape Town including two days in the studio. This resulted in their only album, which Mac himself described as ‘a befokk-da album.' Ernestine Deane said after recording with the band, “These are such beautiful songs.” We hear the mist of Cape Town on 'Alibama.' We float amongst the whimsical spirit of togetherness on ‘Rosa' and take inspiration of the late summer nights on 'Goema Goema'. After three or four years of constant rehearsing, performing, rehearsing, performing, collaborating, absolutely and completely embodied the Cape Town sound. We hear the mist on Alibama and the wind on Too Wisdom . We float amongst the whimsical spirit of togetherness on Rosa and take inspiration of the late summer nights on Goema Goema. I recall Ernestine Deane, saying "these are such beautiful songs," after the recording sessions of 'healing destination' and 'too wisdom'. I recall the grand finale at the Cape Town stage of democracy, company gardens. That very gig, Craig Parks called me on the telephone to say Robbie Jansen needed to perform with the goema captains that afternoon. In fact it was an order. I thought Robbie was suffering from an infection. Alas he blew like the Cape Doctor of ever. (I hear with the approaching desert from the East, the Cape Doctor can change direction to become a Black Doctor!) What was that choir, dressed in panama hats with a slight of orange in the band? There was a tradition of Cape Malay expressed with such vibrance. All of the choir were heard, the soft hearts of the kind youths and the 'salt of the earth' experience of the heavy weights. This was our proudest moment in recording (even though the recording was straight up onto mini disk). When you changed the words of 'Daar kom die alibama,' to say 'daar gaan die alibama,' the foulest revolutionary injectives were most clearly expressed. Drunks who had not risen from the gutter in many moons were suddenly dancing as if Sufi's! . Our final show was March 16th 2004 and I saw rich and poor dancing together with the intensity of lovers. . The love was bright, so bright, too bright for just at that time, but perfect for now. You can imagine. This was our farewell gig. I left Cape Town after this show and the Goema Captains never played together again like this.