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Oppikoppi veteran Albert Frost lets us in on what to expect at this year's festival

2015-07-28 07:00

Cape Town - The man known as the Dark Prince of South African blues, Albert Frost, continues his unbroken streak of playing at every Oppikoppi since its inception with not one, but two planned shows this year.

Channel24 got hold of Frost prior to this year's festival to find out what he's got planned for the Limpopo dust, and getting his point of view on how the festival has changed since its inception.  

C24: You've played at every single OppiKoppi since its inception (though the author does stand to be corrected). What keeps you coming back year after year?

Albert: The Bornmans (owners of the farm) are like family to me so it’s the best excuse to see them at least once a year - haha! I’m the only fortunate muso to have played every year since inception so they don’t really have a choice - I’m always there. Oppikoppi is also the perfect place to catch up with just about everyone in the industry and also catch the coolest bands around.

C24: You're playing in two separate shows this year, one with Robin Auld, and the other with Lee Thomson and Toya Delazy. Does doing so give you an opportunity to spread your wings and try different things or is it merely to have the chance to work with different artists, or, for other reasons?

Albert: It’s a bit of both. As I have been here so many times I have to mix things up - you can’t go back year after year with the same material…

C24: How did your show with Robin Auld come about, and what sort of music can we expect from yourselves when you take the stage? (This author selfishly hopes your combination graces the acoustic stage up atop the koppie).  

Albert: I first saw Robin performing at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay when I was 13 and still think he’s the best guitarist in South Africa. To top it all he is my brother-in -law so we have been playing music together here and there for about 15 years! Expect a guitar show featuring gems from our respective repertoires.

C24: On the other end of the spectrum, your show with Thomson and Delazy, how did that come about, and what sort of show will Oppikoppi goers see?

Albert: We were ‘thrown’ together recently for a few shows, and there was an instant chemistry between us so it’s a special colab. Things are a bit toned down but musically very strong so expect an emotionally driven performance.

C24: Delazy was born in 1990. Looking broader, what does it personally mean to you, and to your music, playing with people younger than yourself, and on the other end of the spectrum, a guy like Robin Auld, who has been around for quite some time?

Albert: I get inspired by working with musicians of all ages, colours, backgrounds and genres so working with Toya is great as it shows yet again music is a timeless exercise and is what you make it. Playing with Robin is a treat for me. He is one of the most seasoned pros out there and I keep learning a lot from playing together, so it’s a testament to myself that I’m still valued and respected by the older generation of musicians. That inspires me a lot and vice versa hopefully.

C24: Being a man who has seen Oppikoppi's beginning and gradual evolution into the festival it is today, particular in its size, what do you think the pros and cons (if there are any) of this evolution to festivalgoers and musicians?

Albert: The remarkable thing about the Oppikoppi fest is that even though it has grown and expanded in leaps and bounds, it has retained the initial party atmosphere from the early days. It’s still blatantly purely about music. It’s the only festival in South Africa where you can enjoy black metal to jazz and it works. A true South African music festival! As for the size, I think they have kept improving and evolving with the attendance growth so it is a pleasure to attend.

C24: You are a person who has graced South African stages consistently for years and experienced a lot within the hive of the local music industry. If there were three short pieces of advice you could give to an artist or band just starting out in South Africa, what would it be?

Albert: Don’t be full of bullshit! This industry is too small to mess up. Play music for the love, not just the money.

C24: Beyond your own shows, what else on this year's Oppikoppi line-up are you most interested in checking out?

Albert: Gogol Bordello is going to be something else, their energy is going to explode there, what a perfect fit.  I love just going between stages and seeing and hearing the best local bands with great sound always!

C24: After OppiKoppi, where can South Africans see you play over the coming months?

Albert: As usual I will be playing in the major cities, just staying in touch! No major plans for a tour right now.

*Catch Albert Frost at Oppikoppi, which is taking place from 7-9 August in Northam. Tickets for the festival cost R750 and are available here.

Read more on:    oppikoppi  |  local music  |  music
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