Music is pure joy and purpose and it is sustainable. In collaboration with SABC staff members, the Wondergigs rolled out January 17 2001 to Nov 17 2002. Many musicians recorded over 250 live, in front of a live audience and together with a live on air broadcast. We marked a period of time with pure effort and love.
Laurence Mitchell, SABC WC (Western Cape) CEO, had a vision to celebrate Cape Town music. Laurence was at that time at the pinnacle of his career of thirty years with the SABC. Laurence had served in the Eastern Cape before relocating to the Western Cape.
SABC Western Cape has the Beach Rd studios, flash, swank, 50's style sound recording gear with a 250 seater auditorium with direct links to several radio stations. The concept to full this venue was live recordings. Music collaborations would actively seek the sound of Cape Town bringing in artists such as Mac MacKenzie, Robbie Jansen, Alex Van Heerden and Khoi Khoilektif. Our concept was: “Music for the sake of music.”
The wondergigs was about a new precedent and together with SABC we brokered a new form of contract whereby the artists received ownership of their work and the SABC in collaboration with afribeat received third party rights. Artists receiving ownership of their work became a draw card to attract the best in music and gave the best back to music. The music could have a free road to join the internet revolution of release on demand if the artists chose it. The wondergigs cast of about 150 musicians reached out to a very wide audience with the live recordings, radio broadcasts and newspaper coverage.
Star performances were recorded: Ernestine Deane sung some of her compositions and 'Amazing Grace,' solo. Kesevan Naidoo performed his composition ‘Eclipse' with Tribe. Jimmy Dludlu created ‘The Shape of Strings to Come,' with his teacher Alvin Dyers and Richard Caeser. Robbie Jansen featured two pianists Hotep Galeta to play ‘Cape After Midnight,' and other classic jazz numbers and Hilton Schilder to play ‘Slow Slow,' and other goema numbers. Alex Van Heerden and Derek Grippe created a duo composition project with Brydon Bolton called ‘Sagtevlei.' The Khoi Khoinextion evolved into a Khoilektif and birthed the Goema Princess V Monica B and Mac MacKenzie with Hilton Schilder and Alex Van Heerden created the Goema Captains of Cape Town. The Cape Town musicians and community gave their all to this project.
Performers and performamces Wondergigs 2001 - 2002 AD : Thank you to Wondergigs cast, from afribeat, Iain Harris, from SABC, Laurence, Estelle, Bianca, Madoda, Reynaud, and from Redshift Jacques BLK SONSHINE : Neo Muyanga Masauko Chipembere Jimmy Dludlu Masauko and Neo, the dynamic Blk Sonshine duo, had just moved down from Joburg and stepped right into some serious Cape Town demand. They had been on Felicia's talk show, all over the radio and on the day of the show the Cape Times ran a cover feature. About an hour before the show was scheduled to start a crowd had gathered outside the Beach Rd. Studios. It was an evening where some beautiful music was made. Jimmy Dludlu was special guest. It was so beautiful that all thoughts of commercial exploitation were forgotten. It was about the moment, you can't bottle that and sell it. And then it was discovered that the tapes had broken. The recordings were lost but for back up onto DAT. This concert preceded the break up of Blk Sonshine. The solo songs, Ascension by Masauko and Nalate by Neo are preserved in this archive. TRIBE : Buddy Wells Mark Fransman Charles Lazaar Kesevan Naidoo Derek Gripper & Alex Van Heerden featuring Brydon Bolton Kerryn Bailey Fiona Greyer Alex Van Heerden and Derek Gripper released their duo composition project live recording session under the title Sagteveli. The preparations for this session included a month of isolated rehearsals in Tulbagh. GOLLIWOG : Rob Nel Kesevan Naidoo Lee Thomson Farrell Adams Leyton Smith Nick le Roux Gorm Espen Helfjord Daniel 3 GUITARS : Jimmy Dludlu Richard Caesar Alvin Dyers Denver Furness Tony Paco Frank Paco John Hassan Lucas Khumalo Eddie Jooste Alistair Andrews Andrew Ford Ivan Bell Andre Peterson Jimmy Dludlu, Alvin Dyers and Richard Caeser put together a collaboration called ‘The Shape of Strings to come.' The newspaper likened this three guitars collaboration to the three tenors! They played cover versions and the show rolled on. ROBBIE JANSEN & THE SONS OF TABLE MOUNTAIN : Robbie Jansen Hotep Galeta Hilton Schilder Allou April Alex Van Heerden Spencer Mbadu Tony Paco Robbie Jansen produced a powerful evening of music. I like the way he jokingly quipped after the show, 'was that what you wanted!' Yes, indeed. THE ERNESTINE DEANE QUARTET : Ernestine Deane Brydon Bolton Wayne Scholts Ricardo Moretti MIKANIC : Mike Rennie Nick Turner Sylvia Mdunyelwa Ernestine Deane Mike Hardy Lee Thomson Jamie Cloete Schalk Joubert Riaan van Rensburg Mikanic released their live recording session on an album, Swimming with the Women and the Goema Captains went onto an international release. MOODPHASE 5IVE : Ernestine Deane D-Form Ricardo Moretti Brian de Goede Doglas Armstrong EJ von Lyric Burnie Shane MAC MCKENZIE AND THE GOEMA CAPTAINS OF CAPE TOWN Mac Mckenzie, Hilton Schilder, Abubakar Davids, Abdullah Davids Riedwaan Astrud Braaf Alex Van Heerden Liz Brouckaert Kurt Diederichs DJ Hamma The wondergigs was built on 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. Those stars were Mac Mackenzie and the Goema Captains of Cape Town featuring Hilton Schilder and Alex Van Heerden. THE KHOI KHOILEKTIF : Jethro Louw Robbie Rudolf Loit Sols V Monica B Lesley Javan DJ Hamma Songs of the Broken String collaboration featuring the Khoi Khoillectiv moved amongst the most memorable expressions of just being. When the ghetto poet, Jethro sang his freedom song, Loit Sols couldn't help but pick up the clavas and v Monica b couldn't resist singing behind him. It was urban and it was rural, it was a collaboration of the folk tradition that is the Western Cape. SKY 189 PRESENTS : Emile YX? Ray Skillz Thee Angelo Rob Nel Michael Horn Michael Bester David Poole Carla Diamonde The Slowboat Assassin SOS Daniel Multinational Institution Fungus The Mutated Lung Self Frank Talk Nike Jimmy Grinnith Ray Skillz Caramel Animal Chin Judah Bionic Biscuit Mr Pitt Scalywag Brian de Goede Brydon Bolton Wayne Scholts Mizchif Captain my Captive Devious
The Wondergigs Ideology
It was our goal to see the story of Cape Town music united in its culture and heritage and to see the many wonderful colors that make up its diverse population; in a jazz kind of way, whereby music picks up the fragmented pieces of diversity in gathering and creates an urban language from it. The intention was change! Laurence had a vision to celebrate Cape Town music. Laurence was at that time at the pinnacle of his career of thirty years with the SABC. Laurence had served in the Eastern Cape before relocating to the Western Cape. SABC Western Cape has the Beach Rd studios, flash, swank, 50's style sound recording gear with a 250 seater auditorium with direct links to several radio stations.
Together with the SABC we brokered a new form of contract whereby the artists received ownership of their work and the SABC in collaboration with afribeat received third party writes on which the artists received fixed royalties. This was a business revolution. The music could have a free road to join the internet revolution of release on demand if the artists so chose. Artists receive ownership on their work was a draw card to attract the best in music.
We were therefore given an open mandate to create music. It felt as if there was an alignment of stars. Laurence knew about music and illustrated a truly Cape Town yearning to hear a truly Cape Town sound. The idea was collaborative Cape music searching for a unique Cape sound.
In 2002 we recorded live concerts at the SABC for thirteen consecutive weeks. These recording tok us firmly in the direction of defining the sound of Cape Town in that year. There were capacity auditoriums, classic live broadcasts, high quality of musicianship and a general atmosphere of joy and harmony. This is evident on the recordings.
The wondergigs collected musicians across the city and region, bringing them into studio for inspired recording sessions. These sessions were largely collaborative. We marked a period of time with pure effort and love.
With thanks to the Wondergigs, Laurence, Estelle, Bianca, Madoda, Reynaud , Jacques, family Harris and a beautiful family of friends featuring: BLK SONSHINE : Neo Muyanga Masauko Chipembere Jimmy Dludlu TRIBE : Buddy Wells Mark Fransman Charles Lazaar Kesevan Naidoo Derek Gripper & Alex Van Heerden featuring Brydon Bolton Kerryn Bailey Fiona Greyer GOLLIWOG : Rob Nel Kesevan Naidoo Lee Thomson Farrell Adams Leyton Smith Nick le Roux Gorm Espen Helfjord Daniel 3 GUITARS : Jimmy Dludlu Richard Caesar Alvin Dyers Denver Furness Tony Paco Frank Paco John Hassan Lucas Khumalo Eddie Jooste Alistair Andrews Andrew Ford Ivan Bell Andre Peterson ROBBIE JANSEN & THE SONS OF TABLE MOUNTAIN : Robbie Jansen Hotep Galeta Hilton Schilder Allou April Alex Van Heerden Spencer Mbadu Tony Paco THE ERNESTINE DEANE QUARTET : Ernestine Deane Brydon Bolton Wayne Scholts Ricardo Moretti MIKANIC : Mike Rennie Nick Turner Sylvia Mdunyelwa Ernestine Deane Mike Hardy Lee Thomson Jamie Cloete Schalk Joubert Riaan van Rensburg MOODPHASE 5IVE : Ernestine Deane D-Form Ricardo Moretti Brian de Goede Doglas Armstrong EJ von Lyric Burnie Shane MAC MCKENZIE AND THE GOEMA CAPTAINS OF CAPE TOWN Mac Mckenzie, Hilton Schilder, Abubakar Davids, Abdullah Davids Riedwaan Astrud Braaf Alex Van Heerden Liz Brouckaert Kurt Diederichs DJ Hamma THE KHOI KHOILEKTIV : Jethro Louw Robbie Rudolf Loit Sols V Monica B Lesley Javan DJ Hamma SKY 189 PRESENTS : Emile YX? Ray Skillz Thee Angelo Rob Nel Michael Horn Michael Bester David Poole Carla Diamonde The Slowboat Assassin SOS Daniel Multinational Institution Fungus The Mutated Lung Self Frank Talk Nike Jimmy Grinnith Ray Skillz Caramel Animal Chin Judah Bionic Biscuit Mr Pitt Scalywag Brian de Goede Brydon Bolton Wayne Scholts Mizchif Captain my Captive Devious
These recordings presented a number of albums including: A Moment in Cape Town by Various Artists from of Cape Town: 17/11/2002 “ A moment in Cape Town” compilation disk was launched with the generous funding of the Dutch council. It made everyone smile. The album couldn't be printed fast enough to meet the demand.
Mikanic, Swimming with the women Nick Turner and Mike Rennie teamed up to create a gorgeous live session that featured many great contributions and collaborations
Alex Van Heerden and Derek Gripper Sagtevlei: Alex Van Heerden concept album expressing the rural sound of the Cape with a string orchestra featuring Derek Gripper and Brydon Bolton.
Goema Captains of Cape Town Healing destination: A poitjie van die Kaap created out of collaboration.
About the Goema Captains of Cape Town album release
'Healing Destination' - a tribute to Cape Town City, the mother city with her mountain, sea and port.
A musical role call of alumni, centered around the delightfully romantic composer lauriet of the city, Mac Mckenzie. This is the re-emergence of goema, the unique music of Cape Town City. Mac Mckenzie, son of the great banjo player and carnival leader Mr Mac, rose as if a phoenix proclaiming the re-emergence of the underground into the mainstream. 'Ex gangster makes good through music,' wrote Iain in the Cape Times, James at the Big Issue called it 'Bargain Box erotica', and 'penthouse playboy's sound is smooth suggested Jayne in the Times with delight. Within a moment the entire city of Cape Town was abuzz with this sound of goema and the brilliant humour of toothless Mac.
Mac was at the core of a musical revolution like Jobim in Brazil or the tango of Argentina. 'Hier kom die goemerati,' proclaimed Theuniss in Rapport. Goema was musical but it was political too...like the times, mid fifties, when Mac's dad coached the Cornwalls carnival troupe and in two years turned them around from being hopeless hobos and hookers to a tight musical unit. He hired a Fred Aistaire fellow with the fleetest moves in town to lead the troupe, enlisted rows of dancing girls and men with trumpets and piled them onto the back of a large van with the band - double bass, piano, drums and Mr. Mac in the middle with his banjo. Hundreds of brightly dressed carnivaliers would rush the streets dancing in its wake.
They won the annual competition of that year and some to come. Gympie Street became the Moulin Rouge of Cape Town, a flamboyant, indulgent entertainment strip, which shone with the confidence of knowing its carnival team was the champion. Gympie Street with its extravagant goema was transformed into the sort of stylish gangland you see in the movies. And the carnival was at the centre of it - a tremendous sport, with a wealthy and influential hierarchy and massive support.
...There was a time in the late 80's when Mac junior brought goema back into vogue with his powerful pop quartet The Genuines. Alongside Hilton Schilder, Gerard O`Brien and a young Ian Herman, these gents were very excited and popular. After a few albums and some success the band disbanded in Amsterdam when Mac's van fell into the canal. Wherever they went these guys were the party. And they ran it dry.We're twenty-five years from the Genuines and fifty years from the Cornwalls. The Goema has always been there. We ignore the silences and respect the goema's resting for when it re-emerges it is beautiful.
Mac hadn't played much in the last ten years since the Genuines but in the Winter of 2002 things started to change. Vince Colbe took Mac to the District Six Museum and settled him amongst his peers: Hilton Schilder and Alex Van Heerden. Hilton is the son of Tony, the original Mr Cool in the lounge. Alex is a tall, slim accordion and trumpet player with the punctuality of Piazzola. When he left home for Cape Town by bus ten years ago he made it as far as Bridgetown, Mac Mckenzie and Hilton Schilder and that's where he settled.
Things went well but took on a new dimension when Mac Mckenzie and his all star band - the Goema Captains of Cape Town, took the stage. The musicians had interpreted the goema exactly as it was meant to sound. Sultry, sexy, stealthy, emotion-packed.
The Goema Captains of Cape Town is a Cape Town band. But beneath the obvious lies the significant. The Goema Captains are the Cape Town band. Never before has a band in Cape Town so widley taken in the fabric of Cape Town culture, lifestyle and fantasy.
Mac's legacy is Christmas Choirs, Malay Choirs, Coon troops and music on every corner. Hilton Schilder is from Grassy Park on the Cape Flats, he's a pianist from a musical dynasty - the biggest musical family in the world. He's Mr Cool in the lounge, playing the piano better than anybody in the whole wide world.
Alex Van Heerden is the boy in the bubble from the small Afrikaans republic of Tulbagh who left his home with no direction - only purpose. Of course his end point is sleeping on the floor of Macs home, performing with the last breaths of the Genuines and imbibing the intoxicating history of Cape Town. Alex is Alex in Wonderland, dancing the streets in his leather winkelpickers, caressing the movement of the sea with his accordion. He follows his path with diligence and delight, embroiled in a spontaneous comedy.
From Delft, one of the greatest gangster zones in the Cape, comes double bass player Riedwaan Bollie. He's been playing since he was 10 and his brilliance lies in playing the rhythm of life. It's his blood.
From Kewton, just below Bridgetown comes the coach, banjo and mandolin player Kaatjie Davids, from Port Elizabeth comes drummer Clement Benny, from Woodstock there's trombonist Jannie van Tonder and from Elsies River there's the Cape Doctor, Robbie Jansen. Robbie is the great lion. He plays the saxophone as if he had consumed all the pain of a lifetimes generations and is breathing it out with the furious roar of yang and a loving ying whisper.
Goema Captains of Cape Town was a self-styled orchestral jazz band that was inclusive, 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.