1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

What Do I Do Now – Sonja Herholdt

Reconstructing Alice - Sonja Herholdt

Reconstructing Alice – Sonja Herholdt

The turn of the millennium found Sonja in an introspective mood. She made a brave move and hooked up with Theunis Englebrecht from Die Naaimasjiene (who held the distinction of producing the only Afrikaans album to be banned in its entirety by the apartheid powers when he was going under the name of Randy Rambo & The Rough Riders).

The international equivalent, I supposed, would be when Kylie Minogue hooked up with Nick Cave to perform one of his Murder ballads, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’. It was light meeting dark, sweet meeting sour or Bambi meeting Freddie Kruger. But do you know what? It works. Theunis provides a dark cloud build up piano while Sonja’s voice desperately searches for answers to a broken marriage. It’s not the koeksuster sweet voice of ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’ or ‘Waterblommetijies’ it’s a cracked and mature voice that walks around lost, unaware of the impending storm. Then in a sweep of drums and swirling orchestration, the rain comes pelting down and Sonja’s voice rises majestically above the anger of nature. She gets drenched, but doesn’t care. She is so absorbed in her problem.

The album that this comes from, ‘Reconstructing Alice’, gained critical acclaim (making the SA Rockdigest’s list of albums of the year for 2000), but fans were confused. For those that liked the old Sonja, this was too dark and brooding, and those that didn’t like the old Sonja stuggled to see past leifdeliedjie Sonja, so it was not a huge success. This was a very brave move by one of the stalwarts of the local music scene and ‘What Do I Do Now’ deserves more attention than it got.

Where to find it:
Reconstructing Alice – Sonja Herholdt (2000), Universal, MORMCD724

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