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We interview SA's new folk rock star - Luna - It's only a matter of time

2006-03-29 10:58

MWEB: Your sound is rather eclectic - moving between "folk", "rock", "jazz" and "country" flavours. Who brings what to the party?
LUNA: We all sort of bring in a different taste to the music...Tinus is a big folk and bluegrass fan and likes finger picking styles and odd tunings for the guitar. Barry on the other hand is really into his jazz, which shows in his melodic bass lines...it's as if he decorates my songs... every now and then I hear something new and beautiful that he's added. And Francious - he loves old school jazz drummers, has a very sensitive way of playing. He plays drums for the song - so he's more of a "songs drummer" than a "drummer's drummer" if you know what I mean? I also like blues - I think it's very sexy. So all in all it's a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, little bit of rock. It's something new... at least in South Africa.

MWEB: Is there an ideal time to listen to the album?
Well, Francious feels this music can be listened to at any time of the day. He says it goes well with most activities, anything from doing the dishes to foreplay. I've heard from some friends that it's great "mood" music - if you know what I mean?

MWEB: So creating a "mood" that takes the listener somewhere is essential?
Well, we like to create a mood when playing, especially in intimate venues. We like to burn incense and candles on stage... even once had flowers and a colourful carpet on stage as well. Because the music is not "boogie-down" music we feel it's important that there at least must be something beautiful to look at. Luckily I've got a sexy band backing me! When people come to our shows we want to move them, give them goose bumps, relax them, make them think. Basically we want them to say "wow, that was an experience!" Luckily we've had that effect so far - even though the audiences at the moment are small - they all love it.

MWEB: There's a perception that the Afrikaans public is far more loyal than their English counterparts, actually going to gigs and buying CDs. Do you agree?
I agree. The Afrikaans audiences are much more supportive. I've experienced that at Aardklop and KKNK. It's amazing. Unfortunately for me on the one hand, Afrikaans people mostly support Afrikaans music. And mine is in English. I've got to my advantage that I am Afrikaans, so I do connect well with my Afrikaans audience. But I think the English population will most probably be our main supporters, although they are a bit harder to convince to come and watch new musos. It's just a question of getting them to come and watch.

MWEB: So have you ever considered singing in Afrikaans?
I'm not considering writing in Afrikaans. The reason is simple. I love Afrikaans and I'm not at all shy to say I am Afrikaans. I just feel that when you write songs in Afrikaans, you almost have to be a poet to do so. Writing good lyrics in Afrikaans is hard. It's something only a few Afrikaans artists, in my opinion succeed in doing. I don't think I have that ability. Also, we only had English music in our house and I was influenced by English music only. I feel comfortable singing in English. It's weird, cause you wouldn't think that when you hear me speak English!

MWEB: There's something about your vocal style that is reminiscent of Lesley Rae Dowling. Were you ever a fan?
I've been hearing that I sometimes sound like her since I was about 18 years old and I never had a clue who she was. Then in 2000 I was involved in a project (called Eve: Women in the Garden of Song) where I recorded my songs and performed with a couple of female artists from Stellenbosch one of whom was Lesley Rae Dowling. After that I was definitely a fan. But I can't say she influenced my music at all. I was definitely influenced by Tori Amos, and even Tracy Chapman and yes believe it or not Alanis - although by now I've outgrown her. I liked the fact that they write about issues. Their songs actually show that they have brains, and opinions and that those opinions are strong. I especially like Tracy Chapman's simplicity. But I also think I was influenced not only by individuals but also by eras or sounds. I've always liked the sound of the 60s and 70s. And I think at times this shows in the music.

MWEB: What's more important - creating quality songs or making money?
Money or quality songs? Mmm... in a perfect world one would expect that good quality songs would bring in lots of money. For an artist to be able to do so, money is rather essential. But things are never as easy as they seem and life's obviously not perfect. So if I have to choose I would probably choose the quality songs. I've had people telling me I should sing covers, that I should sing in Afrikaans, or even change my style - make it more poppy! "Then," they say, "You will make money!" Well, I could never find myself doing that. And probably never will. So the answer's clear.

Despite having wowed audiences from small Stellenbosch watering holes to major festivals like the KKNK and Oppikoppi, singer songwriter Luna remains one of South African music's best-kept secrets. With a new band featuring ex-Nude Girl Francious Kruger (drums), Barry Steenkamp (bass) and Tinus van Dyk (acoustic guitar and mandolin) the release of her debut CD Luna suggests that it's merely a matter of time before the major labels start queuing up to find out what fans already know. Forget the pl

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