Monday, May 28, 2012

Artist of the Week: The Kongos

Four brothers: Johnny Kongos, Jesse Kongos, Dylan Kongos and Daniel Kongos formed a band called…KONGOS. Yes, well. They are the sons of a South African singer songwriter John Kongos, quite popular in the 80’s (before my time).
They are a rock band (by now you should know pop is NOT in my repertoire). They have an eclectic blend of alternative, with hints of African rhythms (think Johnny Clegg), Greek melodies (daddy being Greek and whatnot) and you may be treated to some bad-ass accordion type music thrown in for good measure. Confusing? Actually it all works out damn well and I have found myself often rocking out to their songs. My Favourites: Come With Me Now and I’m Just Joking. Come with me know can only be described as being alternative country (I swear you could line-dance/head-bang to it), while I’m just Joking has a syncopated beat that is eerie and may make you feel somewhat disorientated, which works great with the lyrics.
Keep this band on your radar, I think they will go a long way.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Artist of the Week: Lana Del Rey

For a while on MTV I have seen a music video by a young singer entitled Video Games. I didn’t’ think much of it. It was an amalgam of retro home style videos, but the voice of the singer, Lana Del Rey, intrigued me. I only recently found out that it was a homemade video and that it went viral on the interwebs. Seems the way a lot of new artists are being discovered these days. Let the masses choose for themselves what they like, rather than telling them what they should like.
So the other day, when a colleague offered me some music and I saw he had her album BORN TO DIE, I took the opportunity to listen to it. I listened to it again, and again and again. I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Lana’s style of music can probably best be described as indie. Then again, how do you describe Tori Amos and Florence + the Machine? Lana is clearly one of those young women with an intriguing voice (no run of the mill Idols pop tartlet voice), good lyrics and good music.
Turns out that even before I had heard Video Games, I had seen the music video Born To Die made by no other than Yoann Lemoine (aka  Woodkid).
Go check out her music, I guarantee you’ll be intrigued and soon hooked.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Spear of the Nation

For the last couple of days the news has been buzzing with the, apparently, scandalous painting of President Jacob Zuma, by well renowned South African artist Brett Murray. I say apparently, because not everyone was scandalised by the painting. I though it was to the …err…point. Other fractions claimed outrage! A president should not be insulted like that! It’s racism (Huh?) etc etc.

This is the way I see it. An artist may portray what he likes. A gallery may display what it wants. It’s called Freedom of Expression. No-one is asked to like it, or approve of it. Some people will agree with the artist’s statement, others not.  Art is supposed to spark debate, stir emotions. Otherwise it would just be three plaster ducks on a wall.
The ANC need to take a big girl pill. Had they decided not to comment or rather to joke about it, the painting would never have received the publicity it did. The majority of the population would be none the wiser about it (as the art gallery visiting population in South Africa is a very small community). By going on and on about it and kicking up such a huge fuss about a painting (or cartoons as has been the case in the past), the ANC once more has shown that it is petty and full of itself and that it cannot accept a shred of criticism. Earth to Uranus: NOT EVERYBODY LIKES YOU! Grow up and accept it.
As if the painting of JZ junk should outweigh the fact that there is another scandal at a local hospital where there is no medication, no equipment, no staff because funds have been mismanaged. Now you tell me what should get the biggest publicity and is the more important issue?
I also have to take my hat off to Zapiro with his great cartoon after the event. I wonder how long it will take the ANC to sue him… Again…