The universe is smiling with us. We picked up an Isuzu Frontier on Wednesday Nov 21st and drove it to Durban Thursday morning. Thank you Lee for hooking us up with your cousin Rian who graciously sold us his car even though he wasn’t quite ready to part with it. Big Blue is great–diesel, power steering, 5-speed, with diff lock, large enough to handle all of Rogge’s music equipment with room to spare. Of course, it will also carry all of our camping gear when we visit the game reserves!
We stayed with Rogge’s close friend, percussionist Dan Chiorboli in Durban. Brett, he’s the guy who organizes the Awesome Africa festivals. Brendan Jury, viola and keyboard, came down from Jo’burg and they played at the Alliance Francaise Friday night, Nov 23rd. It was a delicious summer evening and the stage was set up outside in the garden. Brendan, Dan, and Roger are all originally from Durban and folks turned out for them including Roger’s sister Kathy, brother-in-law Hank and more Crown Mine’s folks. What an impressive group of people! There are photos from Crown Mines in the Apartheid era exhibit currently at the International Center for Photography in NY.
Saturday night we headed to the Blue Stocking in Kloof, a small town in the mountains above Durban. The Blue Stocking is also a garden venue that offers a full dinner with sit-down concert. The audience sits under a roof on an assortment of sofas, chaise lounges, and armchairs arranged in front of the stage. The sides of the venue open into a garden thick with flowering trees and shrubs. At 8:00, as the guys were about to go on, the skies opened and a tropical deluge battered the corrugated roof over our heads. It let up after 15 minutes or so and the concert began with a soft rain and frogs providing ambient sound. Rogge played two sets including 3 readings from the book. Audiences love him. They love his lyrics and his style of introducing each song and reading with a bit of information about its creation.
The press also love him. He’s done radio interviews and has been in all of the major SA papers for the last three weeks. Jacana Press is thrilled and sends us pdf’s of the articles. I’ve included a bunch of them here. They will give you a taste of SA’s response to Roger’s book and music.
Rogge had three back-to-back performance nights in the Durban area. So, Sunday morning we drove North from Durban to Pietermaritzburg with all of our gear. I taught an afternoon yoga class in a separate room in the performance venue while Rogge set up for the concert. Brendan and Dan arrived from Durban later in the afternoon. The hall had 130 advance reservations and the guys played their best performance to date. The audience gave them a standing ovation and the guys hugged each other on stage—it was an incredible vibe. People didn’t want to leave. They bought books, Roger signed them, and everyone continued to party. It was the first gig where the majority of the audience didn’t know Roger or his music. They came out because of the media buzz and the excellent organizing abilities of Ronel Wood, the venue hostess.
We ambled along for the next couple of nights, enjoying the countryside, visiting friends and relatives. Stayed with Rogge’s cousin Miranda and her husband Roger Harris in Bathurst. Rogge played a solo gig at the Bathurst Arms, the local pub. We wrapped up the trip in the beautiful coastal town of Knysna. Spent the first night with friends whose house overlooked the Knysna lagoon—an absolutely magical view. Roger’s final performance on this road trip was at the Bamboo Guest House in Knysna. Friends came from up and down the coast including Paul Erasmus and his family and friends. This strikingly original and beautiful venue was tucked away in a lush, verdant garden. I took a lot of pictures in an effort to capture the whimsical nature of the grounds.
Tonight is the Cape Town book launch at the Book Lounge downtown. Then Rogge wraps up for the year with two gigs at the Alma Café on Friday and Saturday, December 7th and 8th. He has the itinerary on his face book page if you want more details.
Happy holidays to all, Karen
Sample of articles: