HA!Man in collaboration

14 June 2016

The HA! horse can be difficult to contain. The creative impulse is so generic that it finds it hard to say no to any kind of venture into different artistic territories, meeting up with other artists on our way. As I work in varous degrees with all the basic artistic mediums, I connect well with visual artists, actors, dancers, other musicians and thinkers. But when it comes to collaborating and sharing with a public, I tend to hone in on those who are prepared to walk a more feeling-based and improvisational path with me. (Joke has her own extensive list of collaborators dating from her theatre years in Belgium and more recent sojourns with visual artists and other poets).

I have been particularly interested in musicians that can share a raw improvised performance with me, having a broad musical language and a flair for making that exciting to an audience, not to mention a flair for collaborating itself! Through the years, some special and ongoing performance relationships developed, notably with Paul Hanmer (jazz piano), Anton Cawthorn-Blazeby (violin), Derek Gripper (acoustic guitar), Rayelle Goodman (violin), Paul de Mayer (organ), Tali Farchi-v.d Wouden and Geert Oldenbeuving (action painting) and Joe van der Linden (electric guitar).

Collaborations that are more project-based collaborations include artists like my ex-partner Laura Kristen (performance art), Tim Hopwood (photography), Henk Barnard (mass choir events), Strijdom van der Merwe (land art), Gert Anklam (Berlin saxophonist), Eric Leonardson (Chicago experimental music), Nolufefe Mtshabe (opera singer), Andy Fierens (Antwerp poet), Tossie van Tonder (dance), Audri Phillips (Los Angeles digital artist) and Nyebho Swartbooi (acting).

Another field of interest is the creation of soundtracks. My first was back in 1991 for Franz Marx’s Afrikaans film “Die Prins van Pretoria.” Later came a number the First Physical Company stage productions in Grahamstown, music for the late choreographer Christopher Kindo, the Remix Theatre Company and a soundtrack for a full-length documentary on the Knysna elephants, released by Animal Planet.

On a few occasions, i have been asked to do music direction - notably for the 2001 and 2002 South African Woman of the Year Gala events in Cape Town, the Ukkasie Festival Concert of 2004 in the Royal Albert Hall, London and the opening act for the International. Congress of Aquariums in Cape Town, 2012. In 2009 i put together a 60th anniversary concert for the Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria, drawing in a range of performers to transcend the ugly past this landmark is associated with.

Two enterprising and dear individuals also drew me into residencies for rather special events, the one being Louise van Rhyn, running Community Building Workshops on the model brought to SA by Peter Block, and the other, Peter Willis, for the Cambridge Business and Environment Seminar, so i could musically reflect on the proceedings.