Die Donker Kom Jou Haal – Valiant Swart
Having a title that translates as ‘The darkness is coming to get you’ is probably not the best way to advertise a song. I mean who wants to be taken by darkness. But when you add Valiant Swart to the promotional package, you have to say, ‘well we should at least give it a try because Valiant is a class act.’ Furthermore, the track is off the ‘Deur Die Donker Vallei’, an album about which the great Koos Kombuis once said that it was the greatest Afrikaans album ever made.
So put aside your fears. All this talk of darkness coming to get you and going through dark valleys with a guy whose surname translates as black is not something to be afraid of. Despite all this darkness, ‘Die Donker Kom Jou Haal’ is blues and blues of the highest order. From the very first guitar note you are sucked into a desolate landscape with vast blue skies, wide open desert spaces and a dizzying sense of being very alive. Albert Frost’s laid back guitar swirls with Schalk Joubert’s bass in a dust devil created by Simon ‘Agent’ Orange’s Hammond organ. It is atmospheric music that is there to comfort while Valiant’s voice tells of nightmares and darkness. It has a sense of being lost is a hell-ish place, yet strangely being at ease with this because the music keeps you safe.
There is space in this song, there is comfort, there is darkness, there is bittersweetness. It is scary yet life-affirming. It is a song that touches the core of your soul and makes you wonder how beauty can be almost painful. You want to immerse yourself in it and never come out. It is arguably the best Afrikaans blues song every recorded (although Valiant’s ‘Die Mystic Boer’ does give it a good run for its money).
Where to find it:
Deur Die Donker Vallei – Valiant Swart (2002), Rhythm Records, SWART004