What we thought:
It’s been five years since Koos Kombuis’ last album, so to say that I was excited when I heard he was recording a new CD is an understatement. The new album, made possible through crowdfunding, was released in January this year and I wasted no time in getting a copy of Langpad na Lekkersing. The first thing I did was to listen to it front to back and my only disappointment was the fact that it ended.
Each of the 15 tracks takes the listener on a different kind of emotional ride. For instance, the opening track focuses on the struggles that Afrikaners face today, but the seriousness of the issues is cloaked in a jolly tune. Every track after that tells a story of its own, with strings of sadness here and there, to the really funny new version of the Fokkol Song at the end – Die Trots Suid-Afrikaanse Fokkol Song (it’s so funny because it’s the truth). The lyrics, changed from the original version that appeared on the Bloedrivier (2008), still sings of all the problems our troubled nation faces daily, but in a way that one can sing along to it and still be a proud South African.
This new album gives an intimate glance at Koos’ state of mind at the time of writing the lyrics, especially through songs such as Huil Sonder Trane, Maanlig-Aand In Ou Parys to Pa en Ma Blues.
A track that stood out for me was The Intergalactic Muesli Song, one of two English songs on the album. I expected it to be tongue in cheek, but instead I was surprised by the food for thought I found in lyrics such as: "You are what you orbit around / You are attracted to the things that have gravity for you…" The music and the refrain are moving! Could life be as simple as deciding on cornflakes or muesli for breakfast?
Working with Koos on the album is the talented producer and bass player, Schalk Joubert. He arranged just about all the music on the last few albums Koos released. The Cape jazz pianist, Ramon Alexander, was the second musician Koos approached. Koos said they had jammed together a bit the year before the album was recorded and that Ramon brought a spontaneous edge to the music that pleased him. Other musicians, such as guitarist Albert Frost and drummer Kevin Gibson, were handpicked by Schalk.
There is also a surprise collaboration with Anna Davel on the track Tuisbly-Kitaar, after Koos received a demo from her and decided to include her in this project.
David Kramer, to whom Koos dedicated this album, was involved in its production. He even collaborated with the writing and performing of the song Ek Wil Net Huistoe Gaan. (Brilliant song, btw.)
The album truly is the perfect expression of who Koos is right now – where he is in his career, and how he feels about South Africa and Afrikaans.
"It has become, in the end, even more than a personal statement. From tip to toe, this collection of music is a product of people contributing their talents, efforts, money and loyalty. It is larger than life," said Koos.
My recommendation? An absolute must-have album that makes you think and feel. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Best track: There are so many great tracks on this album that it’s difficult to choose. Perhaps we could settle on Ek Wil Net Huistoe Gaan, Huil Sonder Trane and Langpad na Lekkersing (the title track.)
Worst track: Truthfully, there are no bad tracks.
Sounds like: Like vintage Koos Kombuis with his legendary and impressive lyrics – just the way we like him.