DID YOU KNOW?
LAURIE Levine, one of the country’s most gifted singer-songwriters, is exploring new musical territory on her soon to be released fourth album, Border Crossing.
“I’ve been doing folk for a long, long time and I’ve been making lovely intimate acoustic albums… my last album was very melancholic,” she said. “But I feel that right now I’m in a phase of my life where I want to take the music to a happier, more up-tempo place, so I’ve been experimenting with different sounds, like soul and rock.”
Helping her to craft this new music are a range of musicians who Levine has never worked with before. They include Tebogo Sedumesi, who plays bass guitar and provides backing vocals, drummer Justin Badenhorst and producer Dan Roberts, who played acoustic instruments and guitar on the album.
“Tebogo, especially, has had a big influence on the album,” Levine said, “she’s added a real funk soul feeling to Border Crossing. It’s been incredibly exciting putting it all together. I initially worked with one of the co-producers Barry Burke, and spent a year in a home studio doing demos with him. We came up with the vision, which was then fully realised in Dan’s studio. The songs really came alive once we got into the studio.”
Levine made her debut on the South African music scene with Unspoken in 2007. Since then — and thanks to a trio of records and countless live performances — she has taken her original material to a growing fanbase, earning multiple accolades along the way.
Among these was a best producer South African Music Award (Sama) for Roberts for the critically acclaimed album Six Winters (2011), in 2012. Levine’s second album, Living Room (2009), was nominated for a Sama in 2010 and her performances at South Africa’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July 2011 earned her a coveted Standard Bank Silver Ovation award.
At the heart of Levine’s material is her storytelling ability. Whether tales of grief, loss, sex, betrayal or first loves, her ability to open a door with her words, and let listeners into an intimate world populated by a cast of lovers, strays and strangers is immense.
And it clearly went down well on her tour to the UK in November and December last year, during which she got rave reviews and opened for Matthews Southern Comfort, a band founded by Iain Matthews of Fairport Convention, at Whitstable in Kent.
She also performed at St Bonadventures Club, where some of her favourite artists have played, including Justin Townes Earle, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Thea Gilmore.
“The tour was wonderful … and it’s so amazing to play elsewhere in the world and to experience a different live music scene, especially when it comes to folk,” Levine said. “Here at home folk is really a niche genre, but it’s massive in the UK. In London the shows were amazing. I worked really hard at promoting them and got an amazing response. I’m hoping to go back to the UK in the first half of next year.”
Levine is currently on a nationwide tour and will be heading to KwaZulu-Natal next week to play a series of concerts. Fans can catch her at the following venues: • The Red Door in 5 Quarry Road, Pietermaritzburg at 8 pm on Tuesday, August 13. Tickets R30 at the door. • Rock Bottom, 59 Station Road, Umzumbe at 7.30 pm on Wednesday, August 14. Tickets R40. Bookings: 079 396 5724. • Bluestockings, 16 Dan Pienaar Road, Kloof at 7.30 pm on Friday, August 16. Tickets R80. Bookings: 083 659 3628 or email@example.com • Caversham Mill at Caversham in the Midlands at 2.30 pm on Saturday, August 17. Tickets R85. Lunch starts at 11.30 am and the show is at 2.30 pm. Booking is essential. Phone Di or Terry Acres at 033 234 4524 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org • St Clements, 191 Musgrave Road, Durban on Saturday, August 17 at 7 pm. Tickets R80. Bookings: 031 202 2511.
Levine said she couldn’t wait to get to KZN, adding: “It’s my favourite place in South Africa to tour… the people are so special and the venues are awesome.”
She’s especially looking forward to performing in Caversham. “I’ve played all the venues on the list except the one in the Midlands, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
South African folksinger extraordinaire Laurie Levine will be performing in KwaZulu-Natal next week. • Laurie Levine was the support act for Joe Jackson and Rodriguez; • She performed at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and CBGB’s in New York; •...