1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Akkedis”

Reggae Vibes Is Cool – Bernoldus Niemand

Wie is Bernoldus Niemand - Bernoldus Niemand

Wie is Bernoldus Niemand – Bernoldus Niemand

If you put the word ‘reggae’ into Google’s translate machine and ask for the Afrikaans of it, it comes out as ‘reggae’. Odd that. But one man who realised that you can translate reggae into any language, even Afrikaans, was a cetain Bernoldus Niemand. And if you translate Bernoldus Niemand into English you get James Phillips.

Closing the ground breaking album ‘Wie Is Bernoldus Niemand’ (released just over 33 years ago for those of you who want to feel really old), this dub laden piece still feels weird to listen to. Virtually all recorded reggae of note features Jamaican accents and Jamaican slang but with this trippy tune, we find a dude singing in Afrikaans in a heavy East Rand Seth Afrikin accent. And it is only the accent and language that make this feel wonderfully strange as the music could quite easily have been recorded in the West Indies with Augustus Pablo or Scratch Perry at the desk.

Having done with all the other tracks on the album, Niemand decides to end his masterpiece by kicking off his tekkies, lighting up a spliff and seeing out the album in a haze of dagga smoke. ‘Al’s is lekker hier’, he kroons in his slightly slurred voice. And indeed it is. No matter what language he choses to sing in – he mixes English and Afrikaans together – these reggae vibes is almost as cool as the purple sunglass toting dude on the cover of the album. It was mostly Afrikaans rock music that Phillips inspired with his Bernoldus Niemand persona, but he did get a few of those whom he led to try their hand at reggae. Koos Kombuis did, for example, ‘Babilon’ and ‘Duco Box Rasta’, Valiant Swart brought us ‘Onna Cheek’ and Akkedis sang ‘Ai Man Rasta’. These are all worth a listen, but they don’ come as cool as this.

Where to find it:
Wie Is Bernoldus Niemand – Bernoldus Niemand (1995), Shifty Records (distributed by Tic Tic Bang), Bang CD 007

Hear here:
https://bernoldusniemaand.bandcamp.com/track/reggae-vibes-is-cool

Jannie Cocaine – Akkedis

Voortvlugtend - Akkedis

Voortvlugtend –
Akkedis

It’s trippy, it swirls and disorientates…that is until about 20 seconds in when the drums start a-pounding and the guitar start a-blaring and whichever of the Dennis brothers it is that takes lead vocals on this, start a-growling. But then instead of deteriorating into a barrage of noise, it reaches a plateau and sort of relaxes on an uneasy rock bed. From then on, the melodic verses fight with the tumbling chorus.

Akkedis first came to our attention as The Dennis Brothers on the Wingerd Rock CD’s which highlighted the burgeoning talent in Stellenbosch. Dropping the ‘brothers’ thing, they morphed into Akkedis and brought us first ‘Husse Met Lang Ore’ and the brilliant follow up ‘Voortvlugtend’ on which ‘Jannie Cocaine’ closes proceedings and leaves you feeling slightly ill at ease. Like Neil Young’s ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’ where the focus is on the effect of drugs on a friend rather than being an out and aout anti drug song per se.

The guitars, at times abrasive, are somewhat at odds with the vocals that, apart from singing the song title, seem laidback and a bit spaced. But don’t be deceived, there is a menace underlying the voice, a disturbing edge that is in itself almost addictive. The song comes full circle where, after the rock/melody of chorus/verse, it retuns to the intro sounds where it disorientastes, it swirls and it’s trippy.

Where to find it:
Voortvlugtend – Akkedis (2001), SSS Records, SSS001

Video:

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