So onthou ons... - So onthou ons... Koos Du Plessis. Various

2006-03-29 19:25

At his best, Koos du Plessis was a singer/songwriter who beautifully, lyrically captured aspects of life, aspects that were both universal, and particularly South African. At his (infrequent) worst, he was cloying and sickly sweet.

Testament to Du Plessis' potential for writing the odd schlock song is the fact that Richard Clayderman, he of the inexecrable tinkling keyboards, covered "Kinders van die Wind". On this album, we're treated to Laurika Rauch's stirringly traditional version of the same song. Also contributing are Theuns Jordaan with "Vermiste Mense", Koos' daughter Karla du Plessis, and in fact a veritable Wie's Wie of Afrikaans singers.

Johannes Kerkorrel weighs in with two songs, including the gorgeous "Spore op die Maan", from his own tribute album Johannes Kerkorrel sing Koos du Plessis. If you can get hold of this album, do so - it's a far less uneven offering than So onthou ons..., and contains some wonderful songs.

Steve Hofmeyr's contribution is self-penned, the only song on the tribute album that isn't written by Du Plessis himself. Possibly, this says more about ego than about homage, but since we don't know for sure, let's not speculate too much.

I can't help wishing this album hadn't been quite so reverential. What price Fokofpolisiekar covering "Kinders van die Wind", or Kobus doing a version of "Skadu's teen die Muur"? But this cd is aimed at a particular market, and it works for that market. It has some great moments, and for every weak moment, like Dozi's overblown destruction of "Gebed", there's a beautiful song like Amanda Strydom's emotional "Woorde".

- Chris Roper

Remember the Sarie Awards? Probably not, but if you do you'll be the kind of person who knows the work of Koos du Plessis. Like other South African musicians, such as Tolla van der Merwe, Bles Bridges and James Phillips, Du Plessis had his life cut short in a car crash, and his legacy is a meagre three albums. Hmm... is there a conspiracy to kill off the songwriters of South Africa? Could Steve Hofmeyr be next? Let us pray not.

John Morgan 2007/06/13 8:01 PM
So onthou ons... Koos was diep en Karla is klasiek!
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