Radio Kalahari Orkes - Heuningland

2009-11-30 11:06
 
Radio Kalahari Orkes
 
Their many collaborators on Heuningland aren’t exactly cookie-cutter entertainers, either – former cross-dresser Chris Chameleon, foul-mouthed snert rapper Jack Parow, and Valiant Swart, the Mystic, lisping Boer all lend a hand. In total, seven of fifteen tracks have been infused with guest artist gusto, giving the album an almost communal feel.

Chameleon’s cameo, “Staan By My”, echoes the never-say-die bravado of “De La Rey” without leaning too heavily on the Afrikaner nationalism that made Bok van Blerk’s runaway hit so controversial. On the one hand, it’s gratifying that Radio Kalahari Orkes seem so uninterested in polarising Afrikaners any further between themselves or any other group. On the other, what’s the point of a rally cry if not to take a stand against a specific threat? In either case, “Staan By My” and its fellow colabs (barring the excellent “Jolie Marie” with Valiant Swart) are not the most interesting songs on the album.

“Transboer” is where Heuningland really gets going. An old, tired boer trekking through the global village may not be the fodder of FAK songs, but it’s priceless folk poetry nonetheless. With “Een voet in die verlede / Twee oë loer vorentoe”, Radio Kalahari Orkes become much more than a nostalgic novelty and take on the dimension of historian-troubadours.

That’s not to say the album is short on fun. Frank Opperman’s madcap turn in “Solank die Kar Nog Daar Is” strikes all the notes of a Leon Schuster comedy, but because it’s only three odd minutes long we can have a good chuckle and move on long before it becomes tiring. “Lobola”, Rian Malan’s story of a white boer who demands lobola for his daughter’s hand, is even more tickling: “Eks ‘n Afrikaan in ‘n Afrikastaat / As jy ‘n dogter wil hê gaan jy betaal, my maat...”.

The colabs give it scope and scale, but what makes Heuningland truly memorable is storytelling ability, and for that, we have Malan and Roberts to thank. Like fresh water in the Kalahari, Afrikaans should be grateful for every quality album it gets.


It’s appropriate that something so Afrikaans could come from such unconventional Afrikaners. Like David Kramer, Ian Roberts and Rian Malan weren’t raised as Taal-toting boerseuns. But the bug bit somewhere down the line and today, many recordings later, Radio Kalahari Orkes are giving boeremusiek, that most Afrikaans of genres, a new lease of life.

Dries Joubert 2010/07/19 9:56 PM
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Heuningland is the best Afrikaans music at the moment. I realy enjoy the sound of the violin. Whats interisting is that Ian is not Afrikaans but he and his band is showing the Afrikaans "doef doef" crowd how to make good Afrikaans music without repeating a stupid catch phrase over and over again. Riaan Malan is a revelation as songwriter. I get the feeling that during his "exile " he longed for Afrikaans.
Ferda du Toit 2012/01/23 8:58 AM
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I would like a program of where Radio Kalahari Orkes give shows
PAUL STANDER 2012/03/17 7:34 AM
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MY FAMILY LOVES RADIO KALAHARI MUSIC - BEST EVER IN AFRIKAANS. ITS ABOUT THE ONLY AFRIKAANS MUSIC MY FOLKS LISTEN TO. THE LYRICS IS EXCELLENCE IN EVERY SONG WITH MUSIC THAT COMPLIMENT AFRIKAANS MUSIC.
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