Towards the end of the previous millennium (can you remember that far back?) David Kramer was asked by Jan Horn to be the presenter in a documentary he was doing called ‘Langpad’. The aim was to find, interview and record a variety of local guitar players. This led them to discover some of the lost guitar players of the Karoo and ultimately a showcase concert at the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunsfees in 2001. They followed this up with the show ‘Karoo Kitaar Blues’ at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.
One of the discoveries during this process was a guy called Hannes Coetzee whose guitar playing style included holding a teaspoon in his mouth and sliding it across the guitar strings on the neck while plucking the instrument. This unusual player would collaborate with Kramer in writing the song ‘Ek Ko Huistoe’ which would be show’s closing hit. This song does not showcase the ‘teaspoon’ antics of Coetzee (some examples of this can be found on Youtube or in the DVD documentary of ‘Karoo Kitaar Blues’) but it is a lively, life affirming track.
There is a kind of Kaapse Klopse ‘ay-chika-lay’ beat to the track with Kramer in ‘cheeky grin’ voice, singing about the joys of coming home to a loved one. There is a delightful line to the chorus ‘Ek wil kaalgat-lepel langs jou lê’ (I want to lie naked like spoons next to you’) which sums up the joy and simplicty of the song which cannot help but make one smile.
There is a slower, more serious version which Kramer recorded for his 2004 album ‘Huistoe’. This has a gospel kind of sound to it, with a ‘choir’ joining with the somewhat melancholic, music. Kramer uses his ‘nostalgic’ voice for this one. It is interesting to compare the 2 versions with the faster ‘Karoo Kitaar Blues’ version bringing up images of Kramer in his rooi velskoene and on his trademark bicycle, his braces caught in the door of the Hiace as he speeds home with a big grin on his face. The ‘Huisetoe’ version, is closer to picture on the cover of the album where a solitary figure trudges down a long dirt road in the Karoo. It is a weary soul taking the langpad, driven on only by the thought that he will eventually ‘kaalgat-lepel langs haar lê’.
So, if you are in a joyous mood, the stick on the ‘Karoo Kitaar Blues’ version, or better still click on the link to the live version from the Baxter Theatre show and dance round your living room with the same abandonment that Kramer and the Beaufort-Worchester Social Club show in the clip. Alternatively, if you’re feeling in a more introspective mood, put on the ‘Huistoe’ version and sit and stare at the album cover and lose yourself in the awesome beauty of this version and that of the Karoo pad.
Where to find it:
Karoo Kitaar Blue – David Kramer (2002), Blik Musiek, BLIK07
Huistoe – David Kramer (2004) Blik Musiek
The direct link to the Youtube video has been disabled, but you should be able to link to it by clicking here.