1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the tag “Boo!”

Muur – Chris Chameleon

Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou - Chris Chameleon

Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou – Chris Chameleon

By the time Chris Chameleon released his album ‘Kyk Hoe Lyk Ons Nou’, he had made a name for himself as a solo artist. Gone are the quirky punky sounds from his Boo! days (except for the cheeky ‘Apie’) and we now find a maturing musician who is performing some of the most polished work of his career. Having Springbok Nude Girls’ Adriaan Brand and Theo Crous help out on the album with Crous producing it, certainly helps.

‘Muur’ (which translates as ‘Wall’) is probably the stand out track on the album. It features orchestral sounds over which Chameleon stretches his vocal range, moving comfortably between the mid-range verses to the soaring higher-register chorus which helps the song soar. It does not, however, visit the outer reaches of his amazing range, but the song doesn’t call for this. It is a serious song and has an aching longing feel to it made more pertinent by lines like ‘en soms verbeel ek my dat ek dit met eimand deel’ (and sometimes I imagine that I share this with somebody).

There is a melancholic feel to the track, something you would not have found in his work with Boo! but can be seen in some of the Nude Girls’ work like ‘Blue Eyes’. But where the Nude Girls would generally have been more hard hitting, Chameleon keeps this on the pop level. It is a song to float along gently with, perhaps thinking about life and all it means, or just losing oneself in the beauty of the music.

Walls can keep things in or keep things out and this song gives you the option be introspective and use it as a soundtrack to your thoughts, or you can look outward to the vastness of the world that is out there and let the song take you into those spaces beyond. Either way you use the song, one has to acknowledge that it is another brick in the wall of hits that Chris Chameleon has brought us. It is a track to check out, however, if you have already heard ‘Muur’, then I guess you don’t need no education.

Where to find it:
Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou – Chris Chameleon (2009) Rhyhtm Records, RR98


Lucky – Boo!

Shooting Star - Boo!

Shooting Star – Boo!

Those Boo! Boys (yes, despite the dress sense of their lead singer and names like Princess Leonie they were boys) were pretty lax in the spelling department as this song has appeared as ‘Lucky’ and ‘Lucki’ on various of their releases. However, this is not the list of ‘1001 songs you have to see mis-spelt before you go blind’ so we can give them the benefit of the doubt and put this down to typos and then get on with listening to the song.

A popular live tune at their gigs, this songs fairly bounces along on a funky bass line with Ampie Omo’s trumpet blasting hot air into the song that give it a slightly Latin-American sheen, while at the same time maintaining the ska-punk feel that pervaded Boo!’s music. Chameleon’s vocals are, as always on his Boo! material, gloriously quirky with a few primeval yelps thown in for good measure.

Boo! were one of the best fun bands around on the local scene in the late 90’s early 00’s and a tune like ‘Lucky’ is a prime example of how the music and their comedic repertoire blended together in what at times seemed to be a shambolicly lucky way, however, don’t be fooled, the band were not lucky, they got to where they did by having a serious amount of talent going on which carefully orchestrated the chaos. This song was just another example of how good they were at that. You say lucky, I say lucki, you say quirky I say quirki let’s call the whole thing pretty darn excellent.

Where to find it:
Shooting Star – Boo! (2002),Sheer Sound


Apie – Chris Chameleon

Screenshot from the video for Apie

Screenshot from the video for Apie

A chameleon goes ape. Well, it’s not quite as bad as all that, but if you weren’t familiar with Chris Chamelon and his amazing voice, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was a chameleon on helium as he employes the upper part of his range for this fun filled frolic that is as cheeky and cute as a monkey. However, those in the know will know that Chris Chamelon has such an amazing vocal range that he was able to execute this song without the aid of studio wizardry or extra tight trousers (and that includes the cartoon like aping of the ape of which he sings).
Aside from the vocal talents on display in this song, we can also hear the influence of Europe (Belgium and Holland in particular) where he has had some success, initially as a member of Boo! but also as a solo artist. This shows through in the street-busker accordion that pervades the song.
After the break up of Boo!, Chameleon seemed to be heading in a more serious musical direction as his solo material had less of the light-hearted feel of that he created in the group, but there were still the occasional smile-inducing tracks around and none more so than ‘Apie’. Others in a similar vein include ‘Soen’, ‘Kersfees In Afrika’ and ‘Klein Klein Jakkalsies’, and when one contrasts these to some of the more serious material (which in itself is very good and I’m by no means dismissing it here), you realise just how versatile this Chameleon is and no matter what your mood, you can find a song of his to suit it. ‘Apie’ is for your more playful moments.
Where to find it:
Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou – Chris Chameleon (2009, Rhythm Records


Blue – Chris Chameleon

Shine - Chris Chameleon

Shine – Chris Chameleon

It took just 2 years for Chris Chameleon to go from Boo! to Blue. After he broke up with bandmates Ampie Omo and Princess Leonie in 2004, Chameleon released a solo album in 2005 called ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’. The following year he released ‘Shine’ and ‘Blue’ was the opening track to the album. It is quite a dramatic start to the album. Starting with a riff similar to Blur’s ‘Girls And Boys’ and followed immediately by a synth riff that reminds one of Visage’s ‘Fade To Grey’, the song is a thick stew of synths and beats.

Chris himself is in fine voice, coming over just as strong as the music, albeit an octave or so higher. He throws in a little of his vocal gymnastics with ‘oo-oo-oo-oo’s and ‘ee-ee-ee-ee’s and such likes at the end of each line. It’s not quite an Olympic perfect 10 score with a high difficulty vocal (which he is quite capable of), but rather a sort of stretching exercise before the routine, but this is what the song requires.

‘Blue’ is wall-to-wall bounce and beats. It has as much energy as a three year old stuffed full of sweets and chocates and let loose on a bouncy castle. And the reason for it being so cheerful? Well that’s because he is in love and ‘Blue-oooooo is no longer my favourite colour’, or to use the title of a Bombay Bicycle Club album title, ‘I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose.’ This was Chris striking out on his own, making a thundering statement and doing so as only the most versatile voice in the country could. This was nothing like the punky sounds of Boo! or the REM does Boeremusiek, guitar heavy music of ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’. This was a new colour for Chris and not surprising given his surname.

Where to find it:
Shine – Chris Chameleon (2006), Rhythm Records, RR070


Wishboan – Boo!

Seventies Eighties Nineties Naughties - Boo!

Seventies Eighties Nineties Naughties – Boo!

A bass guitar saunters out of your speakers as an anxious xylophone flaps around it. Then Chris Chameleon’s shifty-eyed vocals come sliding across this. A monkey (punk) impersonating a harmonica adds a ‘woe is me’ background and then the song swells with warm trumpets as Chris pleads “Oh my wishboan/oh my shooting star/walk with me”.

This is a less hectic Boo! track that threatens to bubble over, but only loses control of itself mometarily at two points in the song when Princess Leonie goes a little ape on his drums and Chris Chameleon’s attacks his bass with a little more vigour, but just as they try and lead the song down a heavier path, the Nordic Viking looking Ampie Omo calms them down with a soothing trumpet.

Boo! were better know for more punkish and faster songs, but occasionally they would calm things down and produce deliciously laid back songs like ‘Wishboan’.  Somewhat melancholic it has warm brassy moments and the occasional moments of letting off steam but overall it is a song that draws you in and makes you feel safe.

Where to find it:
Seventies, Eighties, Nineties, Naughties –Boo! (2000) Monki Punk Productions, BOOCD03


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