1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “Sonja Herholdt”

Jantjie – Sonja Herholdt

Sonja

Sonja

‘Jantjie’ is one of Sonja’s well-known hits and Sonja herself is one of Afrikaan’s music’s well-known personalities. With her super-innocent image and voice, she takes this Anton Goosen penned tune and makes it a heartbreaking song of a woman missing her man. Quite where Jantjie has disappeared off to is not clear in the lyrics. It could be that he’s a restless spirit and is off who knows where again. It could be he’s a child who has run away from home and the Katryntjie waiting for him is a small sister. Perhaps (given the time when the song was released) it is a youngster who has been called up and Katryntjie is a girlfriend.

Somehow Sonja manages not to give anything away as she sings and this leaves the listener to make up their own minds about the back story of Jantjie and Katryntjie. She could be singing as a little girl missing her brother, or a girlfriend missing a boyfriend who is doing his army stint, or a woman deserted by her husband. She is all these in one.

Often the subject of jokes and a symbol of all that was perceived to be wrong with Afrikaans music pre-Voelvry, one has to take ones hat off though to Sonja for her perseverance and longevity. (There is an interesting connection between Jantjie and the Voelvry movement as the b-side of Sonja Herholdt’s single was ‘Al Le Die Berge Nog So Blou’ which Johannes Kerkorrel recorded for his ‘Ge-Trans-For-Meer’ album). Love her or hate her, she is an icon of South African music and ‘Jantjie’ is one of those songs that made her the Queen of Afrikaans music.

Where to find it:
Sonja Herholdt – Gunsteling treffers (1992), CDOA115

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What Do I Do Now – Sonja Herholdt

Reconstructing Alice - Sonja Herholdt

Reconstructing Alice – Sonja Herholdt

The turn of the millennium found Sonja in an introspective mood. She made a brave move and hooked up with Theunis Englebrecht from Die Naaimasjiene (who held the distinction of producing the only Afrikaans album to be banned in its entirety by the apartheid powers when he was going under the name of Randy Rambo & The Rough Riders).

The international equivalent, I supposed, would be when Kylie Minogue hooked up with Nick Cave to perform one of his Murder ballads, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’. It was light meeting dark, sweet meeting sour or Bambi meeting Freddie Kruger. But do you know what? It works. Theunis provides a dark cloud build up piano while Sonja’s voice desperately searches for answers to a broken marriage. It’s not the koeksuster sweet voice of ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’ or ‘Waterblommetijies’ it’s a cracked and mature voice that walks around lost, unaware of the impending storm. Then in a sweep of drums and swirling orchestration, the rain comes pelting down and Sonja’s voice rises majestically above the anger of nature. She gets drenched, but doesn’t care. She is so absorbed in her problem.

The album that this comes from, ‘Reconstructing Alice’, gained critical acclaim (making the SA Rockdigest’s list of albums of the year for 2000), but fans were confused. For those that liked the old Sonja, this was too dark and brooding, and those that didn’t like the old Sonja stuggled to see past leifdeliedjie Sonja, so it was not a huge success. This was a very brave move by one of the stalwarts of the local music scene and ‘What Do I Do Now’ deserves more attention than it got.

Where to find it:
Reconstructing Alice – Sonja Herholdt (2000), Universal, MORMCD724

Ek Verlang Na Jou – Sonja Herholdt

Ek Verlang Na Jou – Sonja Herholdt

Sonja Herholdt - 20 Gewildste Treffers

Sonja Herholdt - 20 Gewildste Treffers

This is probably not a favourite with the more rock oriented music fans. Nor, I have no doubt, will it be one that kwaito fans have on any of their playlists. But, ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’ is almost as entrenched in the South African music psyche as songs like ‘The Buccaneer’ and ‘Weeping’.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it is a fine example of pre-Voëlvry Afrikaans music with its innocent lyrics, sugar sweet singing and lightweight, easy listening music. It was never far from a Mother Grundy’s gramophone, as was a lot of Sonja’s material and sailed to number 6 on the Springbok Radio charts in 1975.

Roll the clock on 25 years. Afrikaans music has had a complete make-over and Sonja, her success waning somewhat, did a Kylie Does Indie and tried a completely new sound. Working with Theunis Engelbrecht from Die Naaimasjiene (who covered ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou’ on their Die Saai Lewe album in 1997) and a group called Spiral Staircase, she released an album of harder edged music called ‘Reconstructing Alice’. Included on this album was a reworking of ‘Ek Verlang …’ The music on this version is menacing and dark and Sonja even manages to get some of this feeling into her voice, but it’s still ‘Ek Verlang Na Jou.’ That said, if you really can’t face listening to the original version, try the Reconstructed one. It’s far more palatable to a rock fan, but whichever recording you prefer, the song will remain a well known one in South African music history.

Where to find it:

Sonja – Sonja Herholdt, (1976) CDBRS 417

Afrikana – Tradisionele Afrikaanse Liedjies Volume 6 (2011) Next Music

Lyrics:

Ek verlang na jou.
Na die winde wat sy arms om my vou.
So verlang ek as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor my gaan
Verlang jy ook na my?
Daar waar jy nou in die verrelande bly.
En verlang jy as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor jou gaan?
Oh!, ek verlang na jou.
Na die winde wat sy arms om my vou.
So verlang ek as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor my gaan.
Verlang jy ook na my?
Daar waar jy nou in die verrelande bly.
En verlang jy as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor jou gaan?
Waai … wind.
Bring … hom terug na my.

Waai … wind.
Bring … hom terug na my.
Oh!, ek verlang na jou.
Ek verlang omdat ek baie van jou hou.
Ek verlang so as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor my gaan.
Verlang jy ook na my?
Daar waar jy nou in die verrelande bly.
En verlang jy as die son en die maan en die wind en die wolke oor jou gaan?
Waai … wind.
Bring … hom terug na my.

Waai … wind.
Bring … hom terug na my.

(Written by: J de Wet / Hamman)

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