S: What does this say about contemporary white Afrikaans speaking music culture?

T: That Van Coke Kartel prefers True Blood over sushi? That Francois van Coke is still a better actor than he is a singer?

How I wish they’d come up with something fresh… I hope these guys (in this video) have got the crediting all sorted:


S: The tune’s not that great. Sounds like your average Country Music Television band.

T: That tune’s terrible, no need to be diplomatic, I was pointing to the fact they’re now even openly recycling. It’s as if the only one getting something right/original is director/animator Louis Minnaar (who, admittedly, also did some stuff for Van Coke): check his work (and lyrics) for Bittereinder for example:

S: I like how the Bittereinder video is shot.

H: This is the first time I’ve seen/heard Willim Welsyn, and the first time I’ve seen the Bittereinder video–just recently listened to their CD for the first time. But this brief first listen did not impress me much–their music struck me as rather lame and clumsy (there’s one track on the CD with Tumi and the Volume which is not too bad – the parts with Tumi in them). The Welsyn song’s politics are predictable and transparent–perhaps a cheap trick–but there’s something in the tune’s nihilism that I quite like – like it could have been made into a decent song by a band that had a sense of humour about bleakness (I thought of e.g. the Belgian band Gorki).

T: About Tumi: a fair piece was published on Mahala today.  There’s a video of that Bittereinder/Tumi/Jack Parow song as well: A Tale of Three Cities:

I grew up with Gorki. Their song ‘Mia‘ anually ends up in the Top 3 of Radio 1‘s “Tijdloze Honderd”. Rightfully so, but then I wonder whether it would resonate across our borders (apparently it does, H?). I don’t think Willim Welsyn resonates beyond the Afrikaans festivals. Do they appear on MK at all?

H: I’m not sure Gorki resonates beyond weirdo’s like me. I once interviewed them when they were invited to an Afrikaans festival in Potchefstroom (in the Northwest Province, a highly repressed Calvinist outpost) and nobody seemed to care about them. Afrikaans audiences only like Dutch/Flemish stuff when it’s schmalzy like Stef Bos or Herman van Veen.

T: Don’t forget Dana Winner (got ripped off by her manager when in South Africa during her last tour, forcing her to cancel many shows, disappointing hundreds of tannies). I’ve done five months of fieldwork in Potch. That was enough, really. On the other hand, I saw an Afrikaans interpretation of Festen (the play) at Aardklop. Now that was quite something.

H: Five days in Potch were enough for me.

T: Ethnographic fieldwork can bring you to the most interesting places. Speaking of festivals: have you seen this year’s Woordfees line-up? With the exception of a handful of authors, all of them were also programmed the first time I attended it five years ago. But I read Arnon Grunberg has also been invited. They don’t know what’s gonna hit them. Oh, and there was one other song I liked last year: Will Mono & Jan Joknie’s “Seks vir Plesier,” [Sex for Pleasure] nominated for this year’s MK awards in the category ‘Beste Pornster’:


Further Reading