What’s the connection between an artist in KwaZulu-Natal; the musical idiom at the heart of jazz standards by Abdullah Ibrahim, Robbie Jansen and Basil “Mannenberg” Coetzee; and a 3D landmass at the heart of Cape Town?
Creative Cape Town’s Goematronics Remix Competition, of course – held in partnership with Red Bull Studio, Paul Bothner Music, BPM magazine, African Dope Records and Mutha FM. This two-month competition saw digital enthusiasts and local musicians invited to create their own goema-inspired remix, with the prospect of winning over R40 000 in prizes – including a full week’s worth of Red Bull Studio time and software from Paul Bothner Music.
Blendor was our 2011 winner for his track simply entitled Table Mountain, and spent last week in studio in the Mother City claiming his prize – on a trip sponsored by Cape Town Tourism. Creative Cape Town caught up with him to find out why a KZN musician cares about a mountain and a sound from the foot of the country.
What are your musical roots?
“I grew up in northern KwaZulu-Natal. My father was a polygamist and so there are 12 of us. My granddad was a reverend and held the church in our household – my father used to play the keyboard. That’s where I was first exposed to music.”
Tell us about your winning track, Table Mountain, and its influences.
“With me there are no boundaries with music. My early days were rooted in gospel, then in high school listened to rock and hip-hop. That’s what my name – Blendor – links to. I can fuse different genres and come up with something unique. When I heard the sax in one of the goema tracks for the first time, it reminded me of Table Mountain. Then I found out that the mountain was being nominated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. I’ve already voted for it.”
You went up Table Mountain for the first time as part of your prize. Can you tell us about the experience?
“It’s so high! How much higher is Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Everest? If it wins the New7Wonders of Nature, it would be so appropriate – it’s so beautiful.”
How did you start making music?
“In 2005 I finished my studies in visual art and bought a Pentium 4 Celeron and started making music with it in 2006. I used FL Studio and taught myself through YouTube, the help option and downloading instructions on PDF, so I’ve no formal training in sound engineering. I realised I needed better instruction and left for Durban in 2008: I needed help to understand how to produce music and get professional experience. That was the year I started using the name Blendor.”
Will you move into producing?
“I would love to see myself producing music for top artists. So far I’ve worked with Makhloka Hlalele, a house music vocalist – her single Falling is getting airtime all over at the moment. At the moment I work for KCAP, the Kwamashu Community Advancement Project, an NGO that looks to expose talent. In 2010 I was asked to be in charge of their sound studio. I find there is a higher demand for the skills to work on the desk at the moment.”
What are the highlights of your visit?
“My sessions at Red Bull Studio, going up Table Mountain and the Long Street clubs – Zula Bar and Purple Turtle are the ones I can remember. I had a lovely time.”
What can Durban learn from Cape Town?
“It’s much safer here in terms of crime. I forgot my USB storage device at an internet café and I went back the next day and it was still there, in the computer where I left it. That surprised me. Cape Town traffic can take Durban’s relaxed attitude to traffic, and its weather.”
What advice would you give aspiring artists?
“Music is a tough business. You have to be persistent and know your story. Become an expert in at least one music-making software. It’s not about the programme but what you can do with it. The programme is just a tool.”
Inspired by Cape Town’s natural wonder as much as Blendor is? Check out his song Table Mountain, and then go vote – as many times as you like and on as many platforms as possible:
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/New7WondersofNature
On MXit: Go to Tradepost and access MXit Reach. Click on My Culture. Add Vote4Table Mountain as a contact and then vote as many times as you like!
By SMS: SMS “table” to 34874. Each SMS costs R2.
The New7Wonders of Nature are going to be announced this Friday, 11 November 2011: Go to www.votefortablemountain.com for more information.
To hear some of the other sounds to come from the Goematronics musical mashup, go to http://soundcloud.com/groups/goemarati-remix-competition.
Photo of Blendor on top of Table Mountain by Caroline Jordan.