I’m going to throw a rather strange concept at you here – boerepunk. About 30 years ago this would have been laughed at or even worse, regarded as some sort of heresy and worthy of banning. But Afrikaans music has come a long way in the last few decades and one of the stranger developments has been the fusion of punk/blues with the traditional accordion heavy boere musiek.
Early pioneers of this sound were Beeskraal (which is Afrikaans for ‘cattle enclosure’ for those not familiar with the language). Led by Charles Smidt, they opened their first EP (simply entitled ‘Beeskraal’) with this little gem, ‘Strate Van Pretoria’. From the word go you knew you are in for something new. The accordion kicks in within the first few bars, but there’s a punky guitar bashing out a reggae beat and the bass is not the usual dom-dom dom-dom langarm sound, instead it dares to have a little bit of a melody to it. And none of these sounds take centre stage. Even Smidt’s slightly off-key vocals don’t take command. And that’s fine as the song is more than the sum of its parts. The mish-mash of styles works because the ingredients compliment each other.
In an earlier entry on this blog, I likened The Genuines to The Pogues and Les Negresse Vertes in that they were bands who took their somewhat old fashioned traditional sounds and injected them with a punk attitude which made the old sounds cool again. To this collection of names we can add Beeskraal. They made boeremusiek kool.
Where to find it:
Huis Toe – Beeskraal, Woema Music (2001), WMCD2004