“The audience went wild … This is the strangest, most mystifying talent I have seen in six years of Grahamstown festivals. Seriously, seeing is believing!” – Herald.
So who is Gavin Bonner? And do you want to hear what he sounds like??
Well, Gavin Bonner’s brand new CD, ‘Of Beasts and Kings, Skins and Strings’ is hot off the press, and now available online (details at www.gavinbonner.com) and also at Mabu Vinyl.
This new album features four powerful traditional tales from China, Baghdad, Venda and Russia rewritten and narrated by Gavin Bonner. Each story has a soundtrack and at the end of each tale a full length original instrumental track is provided by Gavin on percussion instruments from around the world, with Natalie Mason (UK) on Viola, plus special guest musicians, Guitarist Reza Khota (SA), Anastasis Sarakatsanos (Athens /London) on Qanoon, and Kyle Shepherd playing Uhadi Bow.
The CD is beautifully presented in a digipack format with a beautiful12-page booklet featuring original artwork with illustration and graphics by Nicole von Hasseln and photographs by Sarah Schafer and Ference Isaacs.
So who is Gavin Bonner?
Ashley Ramsden, the founder of the International School of Storytelling, described this unique Cape Town performer as follows: “Gavin Bonner is an inspiration! A poet, storyteller, musician and praise singer in one, he lets his wordplay weave and speak spontaneously to whatever is happening in a group of people.”
So here’s a quick history for you…..Gavin was born in London, and spent much of his childhood in South Africa growing up with a love of rock and African music and rhythms. A move back to London aged 14 opened up a world of musical diversity and he played with all kinds of bands touring round England and playing at many festivals including Glastonbury!
Years of travel followed to Australia, Europe, Canada, India, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and more where he absorbed different philosphies, languages, stories, and musical styles. Some great percussionists he has studied with include Glen Velez (USA), Zohar Fresco (Israel), Pete Lockett (UK), Achu and Prosper Gagadu (Ghana and Numan Elyer and Tarik Tuysuzoglu (Turkey )
He has performed and recorded alongside legends such as Bill Bruford, Gary Husband, Juan Martin, Congolese percussionist Douze Balles, founder and leader of Mbonda Loningisa, and cellist Julia Palmer ( Nigel Kennedy ).
While living in Sydney, Gavin earned his living as a street performer playing the Djembe Drum. After a while he began to make passing commentaries in his mind about passers by (the tone often determined by the tip they gave or not!). When he started vocalising these rhyming commentaries, the tips became larger and more frequent!
Slowly this developed into the ability to tell stories spontaneously, in rhyme, often accompanying himself on drums – his humour and lightning quick improvisational skills always go down a treat with audiences.
Gavin does regular storytelling performances fusing traditional tales from around the world, modern tales and improvised stories . He usually has a large selection of drums with him and loves to collaborate with fellow storytellers, poets and musicians.
A recent 3 month intensive study period at The School of Storytelling in the UK deepened and informed his storytelling work. Stories have the power to entertain, to heal,and to transform perception and Gavin loves to share his story and storieswith children and adults alike.
Gavin currently lives in Cape Town, and regularly performs in the UK and elsewhere……
“A story has many feet, but poet musician and storyteller Gavin Bonner, a Londoner living in South Africa, gives it wings “ Cape Argus Tonight
Further information at www.gavinbonner.com
There’s a growing band of devoted followers who will tell you without hesitation that Joshua Grierson is one of the best emerging musicians currently plying their trade in South Africa.
He’s a strong mix of some of his influences, like Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Ryan Adams and even newcomer Dylan Leblanc, but Joshua, who writes, sings and plays a mean guitar, sounds like no-one else. With his sweet and growly vocals, emotive lyrics and delivery, and energised stage presence, Joshua has been impressing audiences for a few years now since he first emerged with his excellent debut solo album, ‘Emo Kid Josh’.
Now, Joshua tells us, he is about to begin work on his upcoming second album proper, called ‘Borders’. Since ‘Emo Kid Josh’, there have been a few of his other other tracks released in various formats, but ‘Borders’ should cement his position as one of Cape Town’s finest new acts.
For this album, and the launch gigs to follow, Joshua will be accompanied by his new backing band, The Town Criers.
This new album will be produced at Dreamspace Studios in Cape Town by Wayne Joshua (Merseystate) and Jon Savage (Cassette), and a few signed pre-copies are going to be made available in advance at a discounted price for those who want to get in early for these collectable limited edition copies….one day they’ll be worth a fortune, we think….!
There was a huge New Years party at the commune next door last night, and it went on till early this morning. The house got sold recently so the young crowd who live together there decided to throw one last big bash, and they did, cool for them..
But now its early morning in Cape Town, New Years day 2011, and the wind that has been terrorising the city for about a week now has stopped, and has been replaced by a moody overcast sky and some light rain to dampen down and sooth all those hard-partied bodies.
Mabu Vinyl is closed today in honour of the New Year and to allow the staff to recover.
So, as I begin my first blog of the year, which will focus on the realities and many joys of running a record shop in Cape Town in this century, its a good time to pause and reflect on the simple fact that we have a well-supported record shop, here in 2011.
We do still stock CDs, that rapidly fading musical technology that was supposed to sound the death knell for LPs. All those LPs that now occupy the large portion of our shop in their proud boxes with their hand-written name tags.
Those full CD shelves that most people now walk right past to see the Record section, some thrilled to find so many records available for sale, some excited to see and remember and show their kids what a real old school record shop used to look like back in the 60s, 70s and 80s.
But we are not a museum we tell those people who come in and ask us, in all seriousness, if people still buy records.
We are a functioning record shop that sells The Beatles and the Stones and Miles Davis and Bob Marley and Fleetwood Macs Rumours and Dark Side Of The Moon, and any Hendrix or Doors or Elvis or Smiths or Joy Division or Tom Waits vinyls that we get.
And we only get stock from people who bring in their boxes of old vinyls to sell to us, or to trade for other stuff in the shop, like books or CDs or DVDs. Its all second hand, so the universe has to bring it to us.
So, the current stock in Mabu Vinyl is simply what people have brought in, minus what people have bought, and whatever is left is what we have. We cant order old records, we can just look out for them in the boxes that come in, and they do come in, all the time, and we never know what we are going to get next. But what we get is what we have.
So working at Mabu, if you love music and records and CDS and books and movies and hanging out with other people who also like those things, will constantly bring you into contact with all kinds of stuff that comes in as well as all types of interesting and strange customers and other people who come in all the time with their requests and questions and opinions and tastes.
Thats how it is with music and music shops and music fans, its like a strange cult that those in it dont have to explain, but those who arent, find it kind of quaint, but, those who are in it know the thrill of finding that special vinyl, in good condition, or just the thrill of going through a batch of R10 record and finding a gem.
Heres how it works. You go to a party and youre sitting with a group of people and they start talking about what they do. And then you tell people that you have a record shop. And you find that people really connect to that, to the fact that such a thing still exists, and runs.
And that conversation always stirs up a host of memories and emotions for anyone participating your first record player, your pile of records, your dad bringing home the new Beatles record and hearing it for the first time, remembering records that soundtrack a special time in your life, the records your parents used to play.
Lawyers and accountants and even doctors dont get that kind of reaction when they tell people what they do. But music still touches people very deeply.
So, these days we are fortunate to get to spend our days in a record shop, in Cape Town, and every day we get to experience all kinds of stuff like interesting customers, new batches of records, strange requests, and lots of other things that happen in and around Mabu Vinyl, and Im going to tell you about some of that.
We are in Rheede Street in Gardens, just off Kloof Street, and still, Just a muffins throw away from the Vide e Café.