Guiding the seekers

Shiloh Noone (left) with Alan Parson keyboardist, Duncan MacKay, who wrote the foreword for his book.

With a music knowledge that would leave most people baffled and a passion for sounds, Durbanville’s Shiloh Noone is a wealth of information.

His book, Seeker’s Guide to the Rhythm of Yesteryear, has been called the definitive reference to music between 1950 and 1979 and his research has been used for a BBC documentary about musician Nick Drake.
But still, Shiloh remains relatively unknown in his home country.
Shiloh grew up in Rhodesia where he got his first taste of British rock bands thanks to Top of the Pops.
He says he spent lots of time around jukeboxes and record bars when he moved to the Strand and remembers being exposed to music in the mid-60s when he visited the Onrus Caravan Park with his family.
“It was a hive of young people, cabbies and new music,” Shiloh reminisces.
As a child, Shiloh was given a radio from his dad and says he could pick up just about everything on it, including BBC and Voice of America.
“I heard the first Jimi Hendrix performance on BBC,” Shiloh points out.
“Radio was my best friend,” he says, adding: “And then I started collecting.”
Shiloh confesses to being considered a bit of a geek at school, explaining that he leaned more towards an intellectualism in music instead of following the commercial sounds.
“I always looked for the more undiscovered bands,” he says.
After completing his national service, Shiloh started his radio career working for Love Radio in Amsterdam.
Because he was working illegally, he worked the midnight slot in the station’s old haunted windmill.
He also worked for Voice of Peace, an Israeli station broadcasting from a boat.
When asked about the similarity between Voice of Peace and the movie The Boat that Rocked, a movie about a British pirate radio station, Shiloh says: “It was exactly like that, if not worse.”
Shiloh also spent time working at the first Virgin Records store.
“Top musicians used to come in all the time,” he says, listing names like Robert Plant and Kate Bush.
He was also the person who suggested to Richard Branson’s brother that they take a look at Dire Straits.
While living in India for two years, Shiloh learnt to play the Indian sitar.
After years of living abroad, Shiloh returned to South Africa under a bright new democracy. “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Nelson Mandela,” he says.
Shiloh says he has a tremendous amount of respect for a man who can spend 27 years in prison and then shake hands with the people who imprisoned him.
“He was the original hippie in his coloured shirts,” Shiloh says jokingly.
The Seeker’s Guide is self-published and while it took seven years to put together, Shiloh say the project was driven by a passion and love of music.
“It’s been a work in progress,” Shiloh says, adding: “I can’t improve it any more.”
He explains that the idea behind the book was to expose the talent of yesteryear to a new, younger audience. It sells well overseas but isn’t stocked in local book shops.
Shiloh presents a Blues and Folk show on Fine Music Radio on Sunday evenings.
To find out more about his book, email or visit his website.

Master of strings

Louwtjie Rothman

What started out as something that sounded fun has become a passion for innovative and experimental guitarist, Louwtjie Rothman.

He explains that his Grade 4 teacher at Welgemoed Primary School started offering guitar lessons after school and thinking that it sounded like fun, he signed up.
His grandfather took out his old guitar and with a little love from Louwtjie, it was ready to be used as his first guitar.
“I sort of struggled in the beginning,” Louwtjie admits.
Unfortunately the teacher left the school after a few months.
“I think I was the only one who went on to find other lessons,” Louwtjie says.
In Grade 10, Louwtjie started studying music formally and is now busy with his Grade 6 theory and Grade 6 practical through Unisa.
Louwtjie’s trademark is his unusual percussive playing techniques.
“Although I’ve had a lot of teachers, no one taught me the percussive stuff,” he says.
Many might know Louwtjie from his appearance on the local reality series, SA’s Got Talent.
He says the show was a turning point in his music career.
“I probably would have gone to study if it didn’t turn out the way it did,” He says.
While in high school, Louw­tjie played in a band called Ben Nevis who even made it to number one on the MK video chart, but at the beginning of his matric year, the band grew apart.
During his matric year Louw­tjie played solo gigs and at the end of the year, took part in SA’s Got Talent.
He says after the show he found himself having constant work after playing shows for free for years.
He decided to take a chance on music and says: “I started seeing that maybe I can actually do this for a living.”
Two years down the line Louwtjie has his fingers in many different pies.
Besides doing his own performances and corporate gigs, Louwtjie also works as a session musician, teaches music lessons and is even busy doing the tabs for Fokofpolisiekar’s first album.
Louwtjie has recorded a pop/rock EP and his music video will be launched on TV within the next two weeks.
He explains that the songs on the EP were all written in high school and that he played all the instruments recorded himself. Louwtjie is hesitant to record his percussive music. “I can’t play a show like that and sell a CD that doesn’t sound like the show,” he says.
He says his experimentation with sound effects started after watching the movie August Rush.
While he starts his performance with a basic set list, anything goes while he is on stage as classical and bluesy guitars are interwoven with covers and Louwtjie’s own original music, some of which is born during the show.
“I’m trying to get the effect that each song was played by a different guitar player.”
Louwtjie is currently also writing music with jazz pianist, Chad Zerf, with him he is planning a duo project.
Not bad for a guy who was born with webbed fingers …
Follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook page.

From classic to acoustic

Robert de Freitas

Milnerton teenager, Robert de Freitas will be among the young hopefuls competing in The Avril Kinsey Classical Guitar Competition this weekend at the inaugural Cape Town International Guitar Festival. The 15-year-old Abbots College pupil, Robert, is no stranger to competitions, having recently won the instrumental category of the Fairbridge Mall Star Search Talent competition. As winner of the category he walked away with a brand new electric guitar. “It was really great seeing so many great performers,” he says of the competition, which took place in Brackenfell. Robert started playing guitar at the age of 10 and says: “It’s always been my passion.” He also sings and plays the bass guitar and drums. “I enjoy playing flamenco and percussive guitar,” Robert says, adding: “But I can play any style from heavy metal to Latin guitar.” Robert enjoys listening to indie, rock music and Spanish guitar. He plays with his band Chasing Sanity who recently signed a music deal with Flipside Music. “I am also starting a side project which will consist of two friends who have come together and decided to start an acoustic band,” Robert says. “We are going to try something different since we are both from metal bands. Our music is going to be very enjoyable – come on, everyone likes acoustic music,” He says. Robert adds: “We are going to add a lot of flavour in our music. There will be a bit of everything including Spanish guitar.” The competition will take place on Friday (1 July) and Saturday 2 July during the festival programme. Robert will be taking part in the youth category for teens from 13 to 19 years of age. The festival will include concerts, workshops, master classes, festive celebrations and a chance to mix with maestros and hear exquisite music. For more detailed information on the festival visit: . To find out more about Chasing Sanity, visit their Facebook page.

Seekers of truth

The Nick Thomas Band (from left): Gareth James, Donovan Chemaly and Jeanré Leo. *Photo: Aiko Photography

“Country is the most honest kind of music you can find.”

The is the opinion of Gareth James, lead vocalist and song writer for the Nick Thomas Band, a brand new Cape Town country band from Milnerton Ridge.

He is joined in the band by Jeanre’ Leo on drums and Donovan Chemaly on lead guitar.

Gareth and Jeanre’ may be known to local music fans as the frontman and drummer for The Undefined.

As The Undefined started coming to its end, Gareth says he had been listening to a lot of country music from a lyrical point of view.

He adds that he felt like a lot of his music was coming from a negative place because it is easier to express negativity in rock music.

Gareth wanted to try his hand at writing story songs that don’t need to be deciphered.

He points to a quote from one of his favourite musicians, Darius Rucker, “I want to write a song that someone on the other side of the world can relate to.”

As a unit, the band have been playing together for about seven months and describe their music as modern country.

Gareth says you could use Keith Urban or Lady Antebellum as a reference for their music.

The band will consist of the three, and they will bring in session musicians for performances.

The band’s name is a tribute to Gareth’s foster brother, Nicolas Thomas.

“He’s been through a lot,” says Gareth, explaining how Nicolas’ biological parents would leave him with strangers or take him into location, looking for drugs.

When Gareth’s parents first met Nicolas, his mother had asked them to babysit him. She only came back two months later to fetch him.

Nicolas’ story has inspired the band to give back.

They recently performed for The Eesterivier Empowerment Centre

“The awesome thing about our songs is that from the smallest child to the oldest,” everyone can relate to it,” Gareth says.

“It made me so happy and proud to see what impact our music had on the children, it wasn’t long after the show that they were singing the words to our song called, With All My Heart. What an unbelievable and indescribable feeling,” Donovan adds.

“The experience was something I will look back on for the rest of my life,” Says Jeanre’

The band is working with Charné Visser, Miss Teen Western Cape, to help raise funds in support of under privileged children.

They are planning a tour of children homes in the Western Cape to spread a message of hope.

They have also offered their services for the launch of Out of Africa, a new children’s hospice.

Gareth says this is the first time that he feels like the members of the band are on the same page.

To find out more about the band, visit their Facebook page, where you can also listen to their music.

Rocking with spirit

The members of DSG are gearing up to launch their debut album on Friday.

“It’s a cool mix between energetic and deep, softer music.”

This is how Dietmar le Roux, lead guitarist of DSG describes his band’s music.
The 10-piece band will be launching their debut album, Hier en Nou, on Friday (17 June) at AGS Goodwood and Dietmar says: “It’s such a privilege to go through the whole process.”
He is joined in the band by Sybrand Strauss on guitar and vocals, Melissa Ketterer on vocals, Ben van der Merwe on guitar and vocals, Robert Smith on bass and vocals, Jolizna Carstens on keyboards and vocals, Emmerentia van den Hoven on vocals, Dario Carzola on lead and rhythm guitar, Elmi Barnard on violin and Niel Koegelenberg on drums.
With members living everywhere between Table View and Brackenfell, DSG is truly a Northern Suburbs band. DSG stands for “Deur Sy Genade” which translates to “Through His Grace”.
Dietmar explains that the band is contemporary Christian.
“We saw a need for ‘with it’ Afrikaans Christian rock,” he says, adding that as a young Christian, he had trouble relating to the music that is available.
“There are solid structures already, like youth groups, but no music market for them,” he points out. The band started writing the songs for this album in 2006 already.
“We have been playing these songs every Sunday night for the last five years,” Dietmar says.
Initially Sybrand suggested a live DVD, but the idea quickly evolved into an album.
The music on Hier en Nou is all original and Dietmar says it could be classed as modern rock.
Although the target audience was 13 to 35-year-olds, Dietmar says he finds his friends’ parents also enjoy the music.
The launch on Friday is at 19:30 at AGS Goodwood (corner of Frans Conradie and Vasco Boulevard). Visit their Facebook page

Baby, light my fire

Ignition: (from left) John Hill, Greg Hasenjager, Rick Drew and Anthony Steenberg.

Their name is Ignition, and they hope to light your fire.

If you are looking for good classic rock, look no further than this Northern Suburbs band who cover everything from the Beatles and CCR to Maroon 5.
The band started out as an Elvis cover band called The Rocking Rebels, but John Hill, the band’s lead guitarist, admits they always wanted to do rock songs.
John is joined on stage by Anthony Steenberg on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Greg Hasenjager on bass guitar and Rick Drew on drums and vocals.
Anthony says the band does a lots of 60s and 70s music, but also even a few Afrikaans songs.
“When you hear people saying ‘Where can we go and see a good band that plays good popular hits from old to new and plays them well?’ we are that band,” says John.
“We do it as close to the original as possible,” he adds, pointing out that their equipment allows them to do so.
The band has changed members a few times, but has been going for about four years. Anthony and John had played together previously and were planning on starting a new band when “the Elvis thing took off”.
John says the band is flexible with their song choices, in order to cater for a wider market.
The band has been working on some original songs, and recording an album is on the cards for them.
To find out more about the band, visit their Facebook page under Ignition Classic Rock band. To find out about bookings, email

To all the ears I’ve hurt before….

Spending lots of time with musicians, I have always been slightly curious about what it must be like to get on stage.
I mean, every girl goes through a stage of singing in front of her mirror using a hairbrush as a mic, right?
Because I have been lucky enough to spend time with people who can actually sing, and because I am painfully shy, I have respectfully refrained from trying to use my voice for anything other than speaking.
When a friend of mine happened to hear me sing along to a song recently, she thought it might be a good idea to talk me into singing at Open Mic Night.
Perhaps it was curiosity, or the fact that she had organised an accompanist and songs had been chosen before I had time to blink, but before I knew it, I was learning lyrics and trying to figure out how to calm my nerves.
Initially I didn’t want people to know, because I was petrified of making an idiot of myself, but slowly the idea grew on me.
The way I saw it, I would never know until I tried and I’m still young enough to make an idiot of myself.
As my editor pointed out, if all else failed, at least it would be inspiration for a “Such is Life” column. With a bit of extra coaxing from other friends, and one or two pep talks, I was ready.
I learnt a couple of interesting lessons on my first Open Mic Night.
Firstly, my left leg shakes when I am incredibly nervous. I always just thought this was something attached to my driving, but it seems to happen now in all nerve-racking situations. Hence my lack of driving licence, despite holding some kind of record for number of attempts.
I also learnt that I am terrible at remembering lyrics to a song and more importantly, that I should leave the singing up to those who do it regularly.
I might sound okay when I am screaming along to one of my favourite bands, but at least then, the actual band is mostly drowning out the sound of my voice.
At least I know this and I don’t need to wonder.
The most important lesson I learnt though, is how powerful my support structure is.
A number of friends took time came out, on a week night, to support me in my silly endeavour.
I have learnt that with your friends behind you, you can take on almost anything, without fear of being ridiculed and I have learnt that your friends will support your comedic acts of daring with gusto, if it’s something they think will make you happy.
To my friends, I salute you for being amazing. To the ears I hurt, my humblest apologies.
I always say, to survive the music industry needs those who can perform, and those that can appreciate. I fall into the latter category.
A friend joked recently: “Those who can’t do teach, and those who can’t teach, write.”
I think I’ll stick to writing from now on.