Long before we had Stormzy, we had ‘Stormsee’. And while Stormzy is a rapper, ‘Stormsee’ is a song from 2001. It was the second track on Mel Botes’ excellent ‘Oomblik Van Waarsin’ album and would give him a number 8 hit on the SA Rock Digest charts with the song spending 5 weeks on the charts.
The title of the song, which translates as ‘Storm Sea’, is at odds with the intro as it starts off calmly with Botes’ borrowing Anton Goosen’s voice to speak-sing over a mellow piano sound. This is not the sound of a storm, but much more a calm ocean with barely a ripple in sight. It could easily be an Afrikaans song by John Oakley-Smith at this point. But you are not too long into the track before you feel the storm coming as the song suddenly builds up to a crescendo as Botes is joined by a female backing vocal track and his voice takes on a rougher edge. Suddenly you are caught up in a brief maelstrom of sounds as guitars begin to swirl around the piano which starts to make its own waves.
You are barely into this sudden change in tempo when you find yourself in the eye of the storm as things return to a calmer, quieter sound. Again this only lasts for a short time before it builds again and you find yourself being blown from side to side once more, before the storm subsides, calm returns as the song fades out.
While there are the peaks and troughs in the song, it never becomes as chaotic as a storm in real life. It may be about a storm, but there is no loss of control as Botes steers his ship through the track with the confidence of an experienced captain.
Where to find it:
Oomblik van Waarsin – Mel Botes, July 2001, Janus, SELBCD 387