1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

Zen Surfing In The 3rd World – Robin Auld

After his 1991 album ‘Love Kills’, Robin Auld moved across to the innovative and essential Shifty Records label, a label known for its political and renegade attitude. With Lloyd Ross on the production desk, Auld recorded and released his 5th album ‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’. Those who may have been worried about Auld changing record labels, expecting a totally different sound and style would have been put at ease almost from the first note of the title track which opens the album as within a few beats there is that jaunty jangling guitar sound fans would have known and love.

They would have been further put at ease when a few second later Robin’s distinctive vocals come through like a gentle wave singing ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday/anywhere where the sky is blue’. And that’s the Robin we know and love. When you put this track on, the sun shines, the surf is perfect, and you feel your spirit lift. And there doesn’t appear to be a heavy political message that was an integral part of the Shifty ethos. But then this was 1993. Things were changing in the country and there was a lot of optimism and worry sloshing around as we transitioned.

‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’ was a great anthem for the time. It is soaked in positive vibes, rejoicing in the changes and looking forward to better times, but also acknowledges the past and high level of emigration, especially in the lines ‘Do you maybe want to sing a freedom song/it don’t matter where you stay/the world gets smaller every single day’. But he goes on to add later in the song ‘There’s no battle to fight now baby’.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Zen’ emphasises rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind and nature of things’ and on ‘Zen Surfing In The Third World’ Robin perhaps doesn’t do too much rigorous self restraint (he’s too busy being happy) but he does sort of meditate on what has just transpired. The song is a study on the nature of mind and nature of things, but it is also a thing of the mind and a thing of nature as he conjures up sunny skies and white beaches. So grab your cozzie and board, surf’s up!

Where to find it:
The Best of Vol 1 – Robin Auld (1999), TicTicBang, BANGCD888
Zen Surfing In The Thrid World – Robin Auld, Shifty Records (1993), CDSHIFT (WL) 53

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