1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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The Highveld (Is A Shit Place To be In The Winter) – Buckfever Underground

Jou Medemens Is Dood - Buckfever Underground

Jou Medemens Is Dood – Buckfever Underground

The Buckfever Underground are a strange local band. They don’t sing, they talk. But when they talk, you listen. Led by Toast Coetzer, the band underpin his sardonic delivery of his insightful poetry to produce strange but fascinating music. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but Coetzer has an excellent eye for detail and a great sense of imagery.

In ‘The Highveld (Is A Shit Place To be In The Winter)’ Gilad Hockman provides a beautifully desolate guitar that is gently plucked while Coetzer’s ‘kakpraatery’ (as is noted in the liner notes) describes the underbelly of the highveld. Far from the glamour and glitz of Sandton City, the words scrape together the dust and smoke (‘the endless flavour of winter’) of the land that almost chokes one. It gathers together those that populate the area (‘The people here are ugly in their cars and pretty in their bars’) in all their glory and ugliness.

It is uneasy listening this, but doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know, it just does it in a way that you have never heard before. The images and words that Toast uses along with the gentle guitar bring a kind of beauty to all the ugliness in a juxtaposed way that despite the Highveld being a shit place to be, it is home to many. ‘The Highveld’ is taken from their debut album, ‘Jou Medemens Is Dood’, which showcases Coetzer’s remarkable ability with words both in English and Afrikaans. The music creates the outlines of wonderful caricatures of South African life while Coetzer’s spoken words provide the colour and detail. The Buckfever are a remarkable local band who condense the wide open spaces of the Highveld into four and a half minutes of stunning observations and melancholic beauty.

Where to find it:
Jou Medemens Is Dood – Buckfever Underground (1999)

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