Its now 2 weeks since I got back from South Africa and I am only just beginning to feel like I have my feet back on the ground after one of the most creative and inspiring three weeks of my life. My routine of waking up, writing a song then having access to brilliant singers and performers from the North East of England and South Africa to work with on the fresh material, all in the stunning setting of GraaffReinet – and that’s before breakfast had finished. Then there were the Yoga sessions at 9am to prepare us mentally and physically for the task of creating a high quality theatrical production in 2 weeks to perform in front of an expectant audience. Full respect to Mark Lloyd and the Swallows Partnership for having the faith in our collective abilities, complimentary art forms and our professionalism to allow us to produce a piece that captured the creative moment perfectly with music, dance, physical theatre, film as well as comedy.
The first week of immersion into the culture and history of South Africa was an essential part of the overall experience. Going to Soweto and Nelson Mandela’s homeland area was an eye opener. Its one thing seeing the images on the TV but a totally different experience being there and talking to South Africans both young and old about the struggles of the country.
To pick one highlight is an impossible task – I am currently looking through a thousand photographs and 500 films that I took to find the best ones to put online – the thing is that I love everyone of them and every shot and every frame brings a golden moment flooding back:
Katie Oswell (U.K) and Nosisi Mavel (S.A) doing an impromptu opera duet, Bongi Fumba teaching African Dance, Writing comedy sketches with the poet Ian Horn, People dancing to my compositions, The workshop with the kids at Spandau school, Visiting the home of Steve BikoThe list goes on (and on)
People ask me if the trip was ‘life changing’? And my honest answer is that I don’t know. What I do know is that it has reawakened a level of spontaneity and creativity that I haven’t come close to in 20 years. I am more confident in my abilities because I can deliver the highest quality really quickly when the pressure is on. I am better at what I do as a result of the experience and I am sure the group of fellow international artists who joined me on the journey feel the same about their own creative practice.
So I will be posting videos and photos on http://www.facebook.com/goodvoodoomusic on a regular basis, so look, listen, enjoy and get in touch.
Good Voodoo Music