It’s that time of the year again.
The birds are humming the bees are buzzing… well, it’s Spring Day in South Africa
What’s new? definitely not Spring or any of the four seasons for that matter.
“Perfect skies are blue and strange, just to think of what has been arranged
And a bloom of flowers here
But my boots are still too tight
Standing here day by day
All I want to say, all I want to say, all I want to say
Is I think I know what’s wrong with me now”
Something spectacular happened in South Africa 20 years ago… Freedom, yes, but what I’m about to talk about right here is our first post-apartheid rock band… Yeap, You guessed it…
Lead by Arno Carstens, The Springbok Nude Girls were voted the Best South African rock band in a poll conducted by 5FM. As far as music is concerned, that’s the least of their achievements.
Above I quoted lyrics from A Springbok Nude Girls classic, “Bubblegum On My Boots”. This number swings from being a shy-trumpet accompanied arm waving sing along tune to a full on rock n roll head banger.
The song seems to be about a big fish in a small pond, procrastination and all his friends.
It’s about a moment when one realises the boundless-ness of their potential and how they’ve allowed circumstances to keep them from going forward thus far.
What Arno Carstens has done with this number on his 2014 solo release Lightning Prevails is a treat to old and new fans… it’s something you have to hear for yourself.
Like every one else in this world, I’m convinced that I have the best taste in music, and as a person with a good ear for music (that I am), I dub Arno Carstens as one of the greatest rock stars of our time, I’m not basing this as just a fan but because as a musician, he proved that he isn’t The Springbok Nude Girls, that he could make it work with or without his band… I could name a few band leaders who’ve went solo without much success, but I wont.
When The Springbok Nude Girls went on an indefinite hiatus in 2001 not all was lost as two years later (In 2003) Arno Carstens went on to release one of the most anticipated solo projects in South African music history in the form of “Another Universe”, his debut solo album.
Becoming the biggest selling South African English rock album this side of the millennium, “Another Universe” did not only go platinum but won a SAMA for Best Rock Album the following year.
At the wake of my palate as sound was just like the others, no, I mean colour was just like the others, Yes, it was only later that I learned that music had colour, and when I did, it felt like I had been living my whole life in another universe, see what I did there? (
What I’m trying to say is that I think classifying music as either white or black music is total rtyuihg)
“Another Universe” is another classic Arno Carstens reworked… this time, with the help of the legendary Johnny Clegg… This song alone deserves its own blogpost… watch this space.
It’s quite obvious that Arno Carstens is a force to recon with which is why I’m so excited to see him as one of the judges/mentors in X Factor SA starting this weekend on SABC1.
Lightning Prevails is out now! treat yourself.
“Lets play the mellow music slow, leave the car on the highway and go
Nobody needs to know another universe, Make a distance between us and them
Lonely, lonely, never us again”