David Kramer & Hannes CoetzeeI first heard of David Kramer not long after I arrived in South Africa in 1997.

Kat and the kings

During my first years we spent much more time in Johannesburg where our favourite club was Kippies – the jazz club of legendary jazz artist, Kippie Moeketsi – right next to the Market Theatre. I felt priviledged to be able to listen to the jazz greats at the club – I wish I could go there regularly but I think it closed down.

One day we bought tickets at the Market Theatre to see a David Kramer’s musical, Kat and the kings ( The story of Kat Diamond and the Cavalla Kings ) . Not knowing what to expect I was looking forward to hearing something new – something I never heard before – and that is what I got. The sights and sounds of the musical was captivating – though I had no idea what the story was really about. Trying to describe the musical in this post would be impossible – you can read more about story behind it but best is to go & see it – or if it is not playing – go and see any other David Kramer production to get the feel and the energy he puts into his shows.

The Wikipedia about David Kramer :

David Kramer (born Worcester, South Africa in 1951) is a singer, songwriter, playwright and director, most notable for his musicals about the Cape Coloured communities.

He played in a South African band called The Creeps in the 1960, and moved to England in 1971 to study textile design at Leeds University. He released his first half live/half studio album Bakgat in 1981, most of which was banned by the SABC. His follow up album Die Verhaal van Blokkies Joubert came later that year and produced the singles Hak Hom Blokkies and Die Royal Hotel. The album reached number 11 on the South African LP charts. His only other singles chart success was with Stoksielalleen from the Kwaai album, however he did chart with Delicious Monster, Hanepootpad and Kwaai in the albums charts.

In 1986 he collaborated with Taliep Petersen on the highly acclaimed stage musical District Six It was also with Petersen that he produced Fairyland and Kat & the Kings all to critical acclaim, the latter having successful runs on Broadway and in London’s West End.

With his trademark red velskoene shoes, bicycle and guitar, he has been an enduring figure on South Africa’s music scene. His songs are mostly stories about ordinary life in South Africa life.

Karoo Kitaar Blues

Karoo Kitaar Blues was one of the DVDs we bought for Christmas. I couldn’t wait till we opened the box and started playing it. This is a musical documentary about David setting off to find some of those musicans that still play the “ou liedjies” – “the old songs”of the Karoo . He travels from town to town, from village to village and wherever he stops people seem to know him well – wherever he goes the music and dancing starts as he asks the people to sing & play the songs of the Karoo.

In this short video, Hannes Coetzee, one of the musicians in Karoo Kitaar Blues is playing the slide guitar with a teaspoon in his mouth.

Read more on the official David Kramer site.