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Tonight SABC2’s Jam Sandwich presents the sweetly-smooth a cappella of The Soil collaborating on a song with the filthy electronic demonica that is Bittereinders. What happened when the creative eccentricity that is Bittereinders met with the dynamic yet cute persona that is The Soil? Did they get on? And what happened when they had to record with legendary rock producer Peter Pearlson?
All these questions will be answered on the show tonight, along with the experience of the recording in the fourth episode of Jam Sandwich.
The show is in its third season and has proved popular with music fans across the board. The premise is simple – three days, two artists, one song.
Devised and produced by Meerkat Media, the idea is to pair two unlikely artists for a three-day period in a studio to create a song. The challenge also includes a bonding day where the artists participate in interesting extramural activities.
The first season was in 2008 and featured collaborations like Valiant Swart and Madala Kunene, and DJ Cleo and Snotkop. The second series proved even more popular with memorable collaborations including Van Coke Kartel and the classic Kalahari Surfers.
“The collaboration between KB and Sibongile Khumalo also proved a big hit,” recalls Meerkat Media producer Deon Maas.
This season has already featured collaborations between Piet Botha and the Soweto String Quartet, Nancy G and Mr Selwyn as well as Mandoza and Afrotraction.
Upcoming shows include Mr Cat & the Jackal and Driemanskap.
“The show with Nancy G and Mr Selwyn had a huge response,” says Maas. “The chemistry was so strong it was almost romantic. Of course, Mandoza and Afrotraction was a testosterone contest.”
For the team-building part of the show, Mandoza and Afrotraction went clay pigeon shooting. “Yep, we gave Mandoza a gun,” laughs Maas. “He was very good.”
“There are so many great stories on Jam Sandwich,” says Maas. “Like Auriol Hays falling off her quad bike and a Driemanskap rapper freaking out because he refuses to ride a horse.”
In another upcoming episode, Jam Sandwich takes Jack Parow and Die Klipwerf Orkes go-karting. “Klipwerf Orkes have been together for 45 years and have sold over 1.5 million records,” explains Maas.
“They are farmers from Calvinia, Namaqualand, who live two and a half hours from the nearest tar road. We took them go-karting and the guitarist from Klipwerf Orkes is as competitive as Jack Parow.”
That show is scheduled to be aired next Wednesday.
The producers have included three new elements to the show. The first is that there will be a different producer on each track. And the catch is that the artists didn’t know who will be producing and vice versa.
The producers list is the who’s who of South Africa – Peter Pearlson, Nutty Nys, Neil Snyman, Amu and Warwick Sony.
RJ Benjamin did the track with Mandoza and Afrotraction. “It was easy,” said RJ. “Afrotraction is so good that I knew if he just laid down the melody then I could add the kwaito house beat for Mandoza. The thing was to get that beat for Mandoza. I kept on layering it until his body started moving and he was saying : ‘Yeah, yeah.’ He is a man of few words, so it was all in his body language.”
Another producer who enjoyed recording the show was Amu, who produced the track featuring The Frown with legendary acoustic African jazz legend, Pops Mohamed.
“I like their individual stuff. Pops is Pops and I was intimidated when I first saw him,” said Amu. “With The Frown I am only getting into electro now as it’s only Daftpunk that I like in that genre.
“When I got there I killed the idea that they had worked on the whole day and we did something different.”
The programme next week features Mr Cat & The Jackal with Driemanskap. “Even though they are born in the greater Cape Town area, Driemanskap come from Nyanga and Mr Cat & The Jackal come from Durbanville,” says Maas. “Those are the most extreme contrasts you can get in Cape Town society.”
Shooting for the fourth series has started. In the meantime, artists and bands can submit a song to the Jam Sandwich Facebook page where public voting will take place. The winning group will then be featured on the final show of the fourth series.