Ingrid Jonker goes heavy metal

2014-12-21 06:30

Afrikaans music lovers used to popular singer Chris Chameleon’s melodious adoptions of renowned South African writer Ingrid Jonker’s poems will have to stand strong: the latest renditions of these iconic verses may just make their eardrums burst.

Jonker’s only daughter, Simone, says her mother’s verses need a bit more oomph. That is why she asked a few of Afrikaans’ most kick-ass rock bands to give her famous mother’s verses some punch.

Francois B Blom of the hard-metal groups KOBUS! and Voice of Destruction (VOD) has already covered Die Kind (The Child) in his typical heavy metal style.

The track is not yet available, but it is safe to expect sulfur and peat, especially for those familiar with Blom’s dark and rough guitar work.

“This is our golden track,” said Ernesto Garcia Marquez, Simone’s husband, about next year’s album, which will be released exactly 50 years after Jonker’s suicide.

Anton Goosen is doing Plant vir my ’n Akkerboom (Plant an Oak Tree for me), Die Naaimasjiene are doing Mamma and Riku Lätti (now known as Victor S Wolf ) is doing Ballade vir drie vriende (Ballad for Three Friends).

Inge Beckmann of the rock group Lark and Beast will be singing Korreltjie Sand (Grain of Sand) and according to Garcia Marquez, they are still waiting for Karen Zoid’s recording.

Die kind is nog jonger (The child is still younger) is a double album with 35 tracks. The album has been worked on for the past 18 months, and 31 of these tracks are already recorded in different styles: rock and roll, punk, reggae, industrial and of course, heavy metal.

“Ingrid Jonker was not mainstream, she was an alternative. Therefore we will now have alternative musicians putting my mother’s poems to music.”

Simone (57) would like to continue with her mother’s poetry in this way as she thinks it’s “more appropriate”.

“Thanks to Chris Chameleon my mother’s poetry found a new life in mainstream music,” she says. She listened regularly to Chameleon’s two albums, Ek Herhaal Jou (I Repeat You) and As Jy Weer Skryf (If Your Write Again), but with her mother’s death she prefers a “more progressive” option.

“All the musicians recorded on their own steam,” tells Simone. She has even printed T-shirts with her mother’s face on for herself and Ernesto.

“The musicians on this album made their own recordings with their own instruments in their own time.

“It is completely a love project, done out of love for my mother’s poetry.”

According to her, the music tastes that will appear on the album are “very selective”.

Half of the songs are in Afrikaans and half (especially those sung by English groups) is translated into English.

“It’s a great way for especially younger people to be introduced to my mother’s poems,” says Simone.

She was only seven years old when her mother died and talks today about what a terribly “hard blow” that was.

“All I can remember about my mother, is poetry,” she says. “That’s why I so badly want her poems to survive.

“We often went to the beach and played by the sea. I remember this very well.

“But she always told me to read her poems and asked me what I thought of it. Because I grew up English I would tell her: ‘quite beautiful...’.”

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