“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