Poetry lives on through music

Ernesto and Simone Garcia Marquez are paying tribute to Simone’s mother Ingrid Jonker with a new compilation album of her poetry set to music.
Ernesto and Simone Garcia Marquez are paying tribute to Simone’s mother Ingrid Jonker with a new compilation album of her poetry set to music.

“My mom always sang lullabies to me when I was small,” Simone Garcia Marquez, the daughter of the late poet, Ingrid Jonker recalls.

That’s why she decided that setting her words to music would be the perfect tribute to her mother who tragically killed herself just over 50 years ago.

Simone, who now lives in Hout Bay with her husband Ernesto Garcia Marques, was a young girl when her mother passed away, but says says she means more and more to her as she grows older. “I now experience her through her poems.”

They recently released Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind Is Nog Jonger features 36 musical tributes performed and recorded by South African artists, from stalwarts like Anton Goosen and Gert Vlok Nel to The SlashDog and Inge Beckmann.

Each artist was randomly given a poem to set to music and Simone says: “They really gave us their own interpretation of Ingrid’s poems.”

Many of the musicians recorded their songs on their own steam with a big portion of the funding for the album coming from an IndieGoGo crowd funding campaign.

While the process of curating, mastering and completing Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind Is Nog Jonger took about two years, Simone says the idea for the album has been brewing for much longer. In fact, she had the idea long before Chris Chameleon released his two tributes to Ingrid Jonker: Ek Herhaal Jou and As Jy Weer Skryf in 2005 and 2011 respectively.

“That was great, because he did a fantastic job,” Simone says, adding that the success of Chris’ albums paved the way for Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind Is Nog Jonger.

While she had spoken to a few artists already, it wasn’t until Simone married her husband Ernesto of Sound Action in 2013, that he encouraged her to continue with the project.

Ernesto is a huge supporter of South African music and helped Simone round up some of the musicians featured on the album. “He’s known these artists for many years,” she says.

The 36 acts featured on the album span three generations, from the 1970s to now, along a wide range of genres from pop and rock, to avant-garde, electronic, and even punk and metal music.

Eleven of the poems featured have also been translated, making the album accessible to both English and Afrikaans music fans.

“There’s something there for everyone,” Simone says.

Once the album had been mastered by Ernesto, they brought Paul Blom from Flamedrop Productions on board, who helped them create the finished product.

Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind Is Nog Jonger, which is available at Cape Town music stores Revolution and Mabu and online at www.cdbaby.com, www.raru.co.za and www.loot.co.za, was officially released in June. Simone says it’s been very well received with music journalist and musician Willim Welsyn already hailing it as the “tribute album of the decade”.

“It’s not like an ordinary CD,” Simone explains. “It’s like a musical book.”

A limited edition 12-track vinyl LP version is set to be released this month. “They say our record could be a collector’s album.”

For Simone, the chance to share her mother’s poetry not only with the artists involved with the project, but also music fans who will be listening to it, is fulfilling.

“That love of Ingrid Jonker’s poetry goes on,” she explains.

Fans of Ingrid’s poetry can celebrate her work with Simone and Ernesto when they host a free Ingrid Jonker evening at A Touch of Madness in Observatory on Thursday 21 July. V For more information about Ingrid Jonker – Die Kind Is Nog Jonger visit www.flamedrop.com/ingridjonker or visit www.youtube.com/user/FlamedropProductions for a taste of the music.

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