As promised, music- related stories from my visit to Paris last week. Both happened on Saturday. The first was in the beautiful Montmartre district where, after doing the requisite tourist sites, we were ambling through the cobbled streets in search of the “second-hand hat, not a beret” that the infamous MC and man-about-town, Huck Auben, had instructed us to buy him.
We come across a second-hand clothing shop called Vintage. On walking in, the twenty-something hip young proprietor is easy to spot, the hat on his head perfectly fitting the bill for our quest. Alas, it is not for sale, so I set about rummaging through the rack of those that are. The missus and the proprietor strike up a conversation and he asks where we are from? “Durban, South Africa” is the reply.
He smiles, clicks his fingers and says “Sixto Rodriguez”. What a surreal moment. We ask if he has seen the movie, as we had both watched and enjoyed it on the flight over. No, but he has Rodriguez’s albums and knows all the lyrics. In hindsight, I wish we had spent more time discovering how he knew Rodriguez’s music and why, of all things, it was him that he immediately associated with South Africa.
We returned the next day to ask those questions and get his picture but the store was closed. I guess this is the sort of Rodriguez story that you are going to hear at Rock Bottom Music Bistro, Station Road, Umzumbe, on Sunday, when the weekly gathering of musicians co-ordinated by Dave Marks will be paying tribute to this very South African phenomenon that stands up as a beacon of hope against the terrible Booysen and Pistorius stories of the past two weeks.
All gets going from 2pm, and if you wish to get up on stage and perform a song or two or share an anecdote about Rodriguez you need to contact Marks on 083 359 5610 to book a slot. For table bookings contact 079 396 5724.
Back to Paris. In the evening we headed along to Espace Confluences to watch a performance by Kelin-Kelin Orchestra led by Cameroonian drummer Brice Wassy. I first worked with Wassy when he was the drummer on Busi Mhlongo’s groundbreaking Urban Zulu album in the late nineties.
The orchestra is a pretty new project and the objective of the concert was to drum up support for the recording of an album, following the route of getting supporters to put up the finance for the recording.
In all the conversations I had with musicians and industry people while in Paris, the theme was pretty similar to our situation in South Africa. Things are not easy for musicians this side of the 2008 credit crunch. It is a hustle just to stay afloat.
From a technical point of view, it was clear that the use of drum microphones to capture much of the brass section for the live recording they were doing was indicative of a show cobbled together on a shoestring budget.
If your French is up to it, you can find out more at www.kelinkelinorchestra.com
Uthando Gospel Singers with The Soil, Abanqobi and Ithimba Le-Africa in support at Umlazi Mega City from 6pm. Tickets R60 from Computicket.
Love is in the Air is the theme that Miriam Erasmus and Fiona Tozer will be playing to at Emoyeni Lodge’s Sunday lunchtime acoustic session. Gets going from noon and for directions and bookings you can contact 031 785 1740 or 082 652 6018.
Mais Que Nada is the guest act at the weekly Blues Train session hosted by Bobby and The Dynamites at Zack’s, Wilson’s Wharf from 7.30pm. Table bookings on 031 305 1677.
An Evening with Lu Dlamini and Steve Newman at UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music sounds very inviting. Doors open at 5.30pm with music from 6. Entrance is R35, with student and pensioner concessions. 031 260 3385 for info.