Soen – Chris Chameleon
Soen. The Afrikaans word for kiss. Prince did a song called Kiss and, well, this is not the same song, however, one could draw some parallels here. For starters, Prince’s ditty was sung in a strange falsetto voice and Chameleon’s voice on this one (for as well know he has a remarkable vocal range) is in one of his higher registers and, where Prince sounded a bit weird, Chris doesn’t.
The next thing one notices is the stripped down arrangements of the two songs. Prince was a master of creating complex songs with simple arrangements and while not quite in the same league, Chris has created a rather joyous, finger-poppin’, foot-tapping piece of pop with a simple strummed guitar, some nifty drumming (with a few bongos thrown in for good measure) and the best use of handclaps in a South African song ever (possibly).
Prince was also known for his sexy content and ‘Kiss’ is a very sexy song and tends to be a bit more adult than Chris’ ‘Soen’ which is more about a first love and those awkward first encounters with the opposite sex. Compare Prince’s “I Just need your body baby from dusk to dawn” with Chris’ “En ek stotter as ek met jou praat en my stem breek”.
Chris’ version may not ever be covered by Tom Jones and The Art of Noise, but is one of the most life affirming Afrikaans songs since David Kramer’s ‘Mesise Sonder Sokkies’. Maybe one day we’ll see Piet Botha team up with Bengula for a cover version.
Where to find it:
Ek Vir Jou – Chris Chameleon (2007), Rhythm Records