|Lost Legends - Part 2||<1 2>|
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Who is the angel man on the right who dedicates his life to take care of Aids & abandoned children? Does Freedom's Children ring a bell? That's the legendary wild & explosive Freedom's drummer Colin Pratley and wife Cheryl with two of their many abandoned baby children that they have saved & take care of, in their Shepard's Home on the Bluff in Durban. Colin hails originally from that musical East Rand Mining Township, Springs, but he went to a school that produced some great rock & pop musicians - Belfast High. Robert John 'Mutt' Lange, who was just a year ahead of Colin, is considered by some, as the most successful music producer of all time. Not because he's married to Shania Twain, but because he has produced more hit songs & bands than any other producer. And what's this got to do with Colin's amazing success? Certainly not in the material stakes, but as a man with a mission nobody could be more successful than Colin Pratley. Another legend, Ken E Henson - rock guitarist for so many great bands - Lee Men Limited, Abstract Truth, Freedom's Children, Harambee & Finch & Henson - is helping Colin & Cheryl - doing the book keeping for the Shepard's Home. If any of you would like to get hold of Colin & Ken or to help the Shepard's Home, call: + 27 31 466-3575
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|The Cape Town based Folk & Music Club, the Barleycorn, honoured the legendary folk singer & family leader, Keith Blundell recently. The evening featured Keith & his exceptionally talented & active Blundell music family - with wife Pam & Jonny, Caroline, Julie & Tepa & their families. Musicians, the world over, whose lives have been touched & influenced by this remarkable man & his wonderful family, sent notes that were read out on the evening. Here's an extract from a note we sent:Keith's commitment to music did not only impact on his own family of talented musicians - but he continues to influence & inspire people & musicians all around him today. Those of us who have had the privilege of working with or hearing Keith perform - in his audiences, his studio, on his radio programmes or in one of his many great Balladeer groups - will tell you that it has been his impeccable sense of humour, harmony & timing that seems to keep him & his extended family forever young. You are always bound to learn something about love, laughter, harmony & life - as tough as that may have been at times. Keith has always given the feeling, that as 'folk' musicians; we should never take ourselves too seriously. After all, we do not go out to work, we go out to play. However, in order to maintain the standards that he sets for his family & players - & to get onto the playing field in the first place - he insists on a lot of serious hard work, dedication, discipline & practise. Once you were out there in front of the people - the play's the thing - & it all looked so easy.
In the 60's & 70's when large chunks of local & international news were blacked-out or censored, one didn't have to be clever or rich or chosen or talented to learn about the state of the nation & the world at large. All you had to do was listen to the man who could hide behind his eyebrows. If you could sneak or sing your way into the Troubadour or Nite Beat - for the price of a 50-cent couvert charge & a cup of horrible coffee - you would learn more about racism, politics, slavery, death & how to laugh in the face of adversity, than any university or political meeting could have ever taught.
Keith Blundell would laugh & play his way through songs about pollution, atomic war & prejudice, & it gave us all a glimmer of hope for the future. But Keith's enormous influence on so many people is only part of the story. It's the other parts of the story that are sadly missing from popular music history in SAfrica today. Without blaming or making excuses for the past, had we lived in a 'normal' society, the role that Keith and his family have played in the history of this country's music, would have been passed on & become mainstream legend. A National Living Treasure and appreciated as such - not restricted to the folk clubs & the odd music student.
The white right government was right - there was indeed a battle to win over the hearts & minds of their youth. Thanks to Keith & those Jo'Burg Troubadours our young souls were being fairly corrupted & effectively blown - Ready, Aim, Sing...The quite revolution had begun and the heads on top would soon have to get a turn to get their feet on the ground. All we needed was a little time & a sense of humour to get us through all that political crap.
Our hope today is that Musicians should not forget the value of those foundations - of idealism & hard work - laid by Keith, his family & friends; that someday the mainstream music industry will help feed those roots, rather than have them washed away by (so called) market driven forces. Those Hidden Years Musicians' deserve due credit - because without roots, South African music will always remain better than it sounds.
Thanks for your Sense of Humour, Harmony & Timing Keith - you & your amazing music family will forever be remembered, even if your music doesn't "fit the format".
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