Helena Latest CD – 21 plus

“21 plus (2017) celebrates more than two decades in the demanding yet magical music industry and a lifetime in song. I am proudly South African and a child of Africa with the sun in my soul and yet always a performer with my roots in Europe and I believe the front cover reflects this duality.This, my fourteenth CD also focuses on the songwriter in me with ten of my own songs. Older songs with new overcoats feature the soulful and sometimes funky arrangements by David Jooste ( he also worked on Divided Heart and Rooiwynliefde) such as Skadudans, Papermen, “Jasmine Lament” and “Song for him”, written in the late 80s and vibrant 90s. “Jasmine Lament”, for example was written out of longing in the golden streets of ancient Bologna, northern Italy.

“I travelled a road, I heard my soul in the toll, toll of the bell and found my heart , my song once again in a city golden that sleeps A city of ancient dreams…”

In ’88, just before I became the youngest member of Anton Goosen’s alternative band, “Die Kommissie van Ondersoek” (also with Lucas Maree and Karlien van Niekerk) who released the album “Winde van Verandering” that questioned events of the time, I wrote “Papermen” about amongst others, politicians…“I’ve known men of politics, plastic, hard and rehearsed…”. Die eerste snit van die CD, “Skadudans”, met ‘n splinternuwe verwerking was oorspronklik amper die temalied van “Binnekring” op aanvraag van Jan Scholtz na ek “Sonkring” gesing en geskryf het. Kraakvars liedjies is ook “Mio cuore, NY,’n “jazzy” lied oor “glitzy” New York wat ek geskryf het saam met Marguerite van Reenen, verryk deur Sharon (Con Grazia) se betowerende saksofoon, asook die “Adrenaline Rush” van motorfiets ry. Ek sing ook “Silly cyber tango dans” ‘n polsende lied wat ek pas geskryf het oor oorlewing in die “leë” cyber-wêreld met Con Grazia se meelewende gesang. Dan is daar ook die tydlose “Streets of London”, die kultuurryke stad wat ek as kunstenaar talle maal besoek het, waar ek vir ses maande gewoon en gewerk het en waar “Divided Heart”, die titelsnit van my sesde album gebore is op Brighton Beach, en ook herinner aan die armoede in ons eie strate. Nog ‘n “cover” is Neil Diamond se romanties duet “September Morn” saam met César de Almeida wat verantwoordelik was vir die opneem en produksie van 13 CDs deur die jare en saam met my die hele musiekpad gestap het – dankie César!

‘n Gevoelvolle nuwe Afrikaanse lied is “Meisie wat wag” geskryf deur sanger en liedjieskrywer, Martin van Tonder. Op ‘n meer enstige noot is daar die hartroerende “Funeral Blues”, van W H Auden se gedig, getoonset en gespeel deur die pianis en komponis, Wilhelm Joubert en “Strength for the day” (woorde van Annie Flint) wat ek in 2015 getoonset het vir my pianis van vroeër, die wyle André Wessels gespeel deur my huidige briljante pianis, Marelize Koch wat ook haar kunstenaarskap toon op “If we only have love”, ‘n Brel duet saam met Sharon van “Con Grazia”. Hierdie lied het ek gereeld saam met liedjieskrywer, sanger en pianis, Eugene Vermaak gesing en ek dra dit op aan hom – Eugene, dit is ons lied vir altyd. Dan is daar ook die sielvolle “Stof tot stof”, geestelike lirieke deur Azette Wiesner en musiek geskryf deur sangeres/lliedjieskrywer, Lize Stassen.
A bonus track that stands out is “Dance me to the end of love”, one of Leonard Cohen’s best, enhanced by the artistry of “Con Grazia’s” Syntiche on violin.

“Mother of mine” is written for my former journalist/writer mother Joan, who with her creative soul has always understood my life and deepest essence and encouraged me throughout – “Mother of mine – you have a poet’s soul – it rings so true…”. Thank you for your love, Mamma.

And finally, “A 1000 winds that blow” composed for my father Jan, who sometimes shared my stage and inspired me always – to be, and do the best I can – Daddy, you are always beside me and I carry you in my heart. This nightingale, as you called me, will sing forever. This CD is dedicated to you.

…and to my dearest dog, William the Conqueror – may you continue to guard me in spirit.

This CD reflects the passion, artistry and dedication of many musicians – Ettiene Meintjies, Rick Barnard, Marelize, Wilhelm , Con Grazia, Johan Viljoen, Lynne, Marius, César and David – Thank you!

Lydia (Winchester) dankie vir jou passievolle bemarking en geloof in my CD, Carina van Media Chef en Carissa, dankie vir die lang ure, lekker koffie en toegewydheid, sodat my CD-boekie, 21 jaar plus reflekteer.

Aan al my aanhangers, dankie dat jul nog steeds in my musiek glo en aankoop en al my ware vriende ( jul weet wie) dat jul daar is – en laastens – Thys, my diamant, vertrouling en fondament, dankie dat jy my lewe altyd verstaan.

Thank you, dear God – for giving me a voice to sing, and a life of music.