SA Music – The Arrows

Check out The Arrows song Lovesick. I can’t get it out of my head – not exactly sure why, it’s just catchy. It just makes me want to sing along – not pretty, I admit. It’s MUCH better when I’m not drowning them out! I especially love the synth action mid-song – a little Jamiroquoi-esque. Another Durban band, they have been in the US touring over the Summer. I’m looking forward to seeing them back here in SA during our Summer – I haven’t really heard many of their other tunes, but they could be fun live.


Music Monday – Farrel Purkiss

Normally being stuck in gridlock traffic just blocks from my house does not make me smile. Quite the opposite, in fact. But today I was actually a bit sad when the traffic started to break up and cars began to move.

Farryl Purkiss’ live acoustic set on the radio was the reason I was smiling.  Oddly, I first ‘discovered’ him in a similar way – driving through the mountains on the way back to the city the local station was playing this fabulous live studio set. I had no idea who the it was, and couldn’t quite catch his name, but I managed to hear the name of one of the songs I particularly liked called Monkey’s Wedding (for all you non-South Africans reading  monkey’s weddings are a sun showers). I forgot all about it until I saw the lineup for the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts, which included the odd name I couldn’t make out from the radio. We saw him in concert, and his music was as rich and intricate as I’d remembered. Sitting out in that beautiful venue surrounded by the mountains and listening to his tunes on a beautiful summer evening was pretty amazing.

Purkiss is a Durban boy, South Africa’s East Coast, and the beachy, laid back, surfer vibe that the area is known for is evident in his music. He has been around in South Africa for awhile, and apparently has been featured commercially overseas quite a bit  lately. On the show today he was talking about an Audi campaign he did in the UK  covering a Bob Dylan song, and he also had a song featured on Private Practice recently. But although his studio tracks are good, I really love his acoustic sets where he just jams out on stage by himself.

Here are a couple of songs – you can check out more on his MySpace page...hope it’ll make you smile too!

Monkey’s Wedding
A Million Grains of Sand

Music Monday – Shake Your Pumerela!

‘Shake your pumerela, hey!’

I woke up this morning shaking my pumerela to the song stuck in my head. I’ve had the chorus stuck on repeat for the past several weeks, even though I was pretty sure I didn’t know what they were saying. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a song on the radio that I actually had the desire to call in and request – normally they just play them to death so that even really good songs are killed within a week or two max. But for some reason I can’t understand, they haven’t over-played this one yet.

Check out the tune (and the oddball video) here. It’s really named called ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’ and it’s a collaboration between Mark Ronson, Q-tip and MNDR. It actually has nothing to do with shaking your pumerela (whatever a pumerela is), but is actually based on the lyrics from Alouette – ‘je te plumerai la tete’. But I’ve decided I like my version better, of course. Come on, shake it. You know you want to.

Musically stagnant in Cape Town

One of the most frustrating thing about living on the other side of the world is the fact that it is so far away from so much good music! And I am in desperate need of new music.

I don’t want to belittle the SA music scene.  To be honest, I haven’t really had a chance to explore it fully, and there are a number of bands that I really want to check out. And of course there are the local acts that I am loving – I’ll have to do another post on all the great (and some odd) SA groups that are doing well.

But on a daily basis, I find it considerably harder to get access to new music that I like. There are a number of radio stations, but as far as I can tell they all play pretty much a variation on the Top 40 theme – some are a little more adult contemporary, some a bit more pop, some more Afrikaans (oh, how I dislike…more on that another time). The only one I can really stomach listening to is a pretty formulaic Top 40 station, 5fm. At least they have some good DJs and play the odd great song, plus their cheese of the day feature rocks. But I simply HAVE to turn it off after awhile – I can only hear Young Money’s ‘Bedrock’, Chris Brown’s ‘Crawl’ or Ke$Ha’s ‘Blah Blah Blah’ so many times before I go nuts….They actually have a tab on their website to show you the 5 new songs they’ve added to their playlist during the week – this gives you an idea of just how repetitive the daily tunes get. And even though they’ve got some shows highlighting local talent, they’re usually played late at night or on the weekends, never when I’m listening.

I assume that most of the music being played on the radio here, with the exception of the local tunes, is the same is what is on the Top 40 in the US, maybe a few months behind – Rhianna, all the American Idol people, Shakira, etc. Though there is probably some music here that doesn’t make the airwaves in the US, given that SA seems to be influenced more musically by the UK than the US, thanks to their proximity and the fact that so many South Africans travel to and live in the UK at some point in their lives. Also, there seem to be a number of Australian bands that make it here – I guess the proximity again.

As for concerts, there are quite a lot of local shows but really no one that I’m into coming from abroad to play. I guess SA is just too far away. The big US artist to visit recently was Kelly Clarkson (um, not for me). Oh, the Killers were here this summer, but it was sold out immediately. Other than that I can’t remember a single international act coming that I was keen on hearing. There are a ton of music festivals here in the summer, but they all feature pretty much the same cadre of local talent, and you can hear them play just so many times live before the thrill goes out of it.

The SA music scene has some good talent, but it’s not terribly deep.  And it is more of a pop, hip hop and dance vibe, not really much in terms of the kind of stuff I like (I’m not exactly sure how to classify what I listen to).

Ok, as I’m writing this I’m realizing that I’m just being a bit lazy. I know I’ve been totally spoiled being in MN where good new music just seems to drip from the icicles. Not to mention that I had friends and family in the US who were equally into hearing new music and sharing it around – I don’t really have that yet here. It may not be as easy to just turn on the radio and hear an awesome new track and know I can probably hear them live at some point, but there are some good bands here to be found. Hmm. I think I need to think a bit more about that and share the good tunes that I do hear here! But I still wish I had a bit more of a finger on the pulse of what is happening overseas in terms of new music to compare things to. Any ideas?

So far away

Ah, it’s the little things…

I woke up the other day with that Owl City song ‘Fireflies’ in my head. It’s been playing on the radio for weeks, and somehow managed to creep into my subconscious – I don’t particularly like it, but it’s one of the least annoying songs on the radio here at the moment.

Anyway, I saw a friend from Minneapolis had posted the lyrics to the same song as his Facebook status that day. Oddly, it made my day! Some times I feel pretty darn far removed from the lives and preoccupations of my friends back in the States. I can’t get into the excitement/hatred/moaning about the massive piles of snow piling up in DC – I can barely even imagine snow in the middle of summer here! I can’t get into the Superbowl madness, and not just because my team didn’t make it (boo), but because I don’t have satellite tv and so couldn’t watch it. I can’t celebrate a fabulous day off with everyone on President’s Day – oddly enough, they don’t celebrate it here in SA and today is business as usual. So there is something comforting about knowing that the same generic pop tunes are playing in the States as here. Or maybe it’s scary, I’m not really sure…but that’s a whole different topic! For now, I’ll take it as comforting.


I heard someone the other day with the ring tone I have been looking for for ages…

‘Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?’

Yes, that’s Lionel Ritchie for you. My mom and sister and I laughed ourselves silly over this idea one overheated afternoon during our trip to Cairo awhile back, and since then I’ve been dying to find it. Apparently, it comes standard on some cell phones here in Liberia! I’m on a mission.