Stef Bos - Donker en Licht - Who's the Bos?

2006-03-29 18:26
Aching accordion lilts ("Schepen in de Ochtend", "De Eenzaamheid", "Kroniek van Een Dorp") supply a nostalgic cabaret noir timbre to proceedings, fashioning a suitably intimate listening environment for what is unquestionably pensive, if not totally downbeat singer songwriter stuff. The good news is that Bos' evocative baritone drawl always manages to transcend any inherent monotonous mood, steeped in a poetic sensibility free from any saccharine sentimental baggage.

The carnivalesque swirl of "Vergane Glorie", the brisk boereorkes breeze of "Zij Weet" and the defiant anthem "Niemandsland" all peel away the "donker" introspective curtain, allowing the "light" to shine gently through on the standout smooth jazz shuffle of "De Leeuwenkuil" and the understated lyricism of "Ik Mis Jou". Naturally, there are the occasional MOR misfires ("Verstild in Steen", "Liria"), yet on the whole you can't help lamenting the fact that they don't make songwriters like Bos much anymore.

While Donker en Licht might struggle to capture anything more than a niche market, the bonus companion CD Ek en Jy shows just why Bos remains so popular in this country. Showcased live in South Africa late last year, the Belgian troubadour runs through a selection of his best loved luister liedjies, as well as crowd pleasing renditions of several Afrikaans songs including Johannes Kerkorrel's "Hillbrow" and two Ingrid Jonker adaptations ("Waar Slaap my Liefde" and "Wagtyd").

Listening to Stef Bos' latest offering is a bit like watching an art house movie without the benefit of any sub titles. Yet despite the fact that you may not understand Dutch or your Afrikaans isn't as fluent it used to be, the prevailing emotional subtext often transcends any linguistic cul-de-sac.

goda 2003/11/20 1:23 PM
A bit cheesy I find the arrangement of his music a bit cheesy at times. Some quite special melodic moments though. Almost worth it...
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