I’d never been invited to a CD launch, until early March 2016, in the Fouriesburg Town Hall at 19h00: one young woman called Salomé, launching her first CD – Naturally, me.
She’s a qualified game ranger. That’s what she studied, at NMMU. Her passions are actually permaculture, nature conservation, art and music. That’s what she wants to do. Her mum’s an accomplished horse rider, her grandfather the “barefoot” and rugby legend, and her family have farmed in the area for generations. This much I did know. But beyond that, I had no idea what to expect…
The stage has barely any lighting – just a neon tube creating a backlit effect. Salomé is wearing an apple green cotton skirt and a T-shirt and – I think – no shoes. She plays the entire repertoire to her audience of 60-plus entirely alone… a ‘one man band’, quite literally. Feet on percussion, hands on guitar, harmonica, vocals, and key-board (Salomé, pre-recorded). It’s a flood. She talks, quickly and intensely, in between each song that she’s written and arranged, about her inspirations and her experiences, and without a shred of artifice. Raw sound, canny observations, zero pretence. Many of her lyrics are conversational stories with very South African interjections, like: “Hey, where’s your shoes?” This style is not everyone’s cup of tea, necessarily, but it’s a choice she’s made, a flavour she works with, and she makes it work beautifully. Salomé says she’s self-taught, musically. She can’t read sheet music, but “always loved to play around with instruments and sound”. She performs inside the sound. Her physique is interesting, muscular, like a cat about to pounce; a boxer at a punchbag. I wonder if she’ll learn to dance. There are some clumsy moments; her diction is not as distinct as it might be. Her naivety is evident: “Ever heard of Murphy’s Law?” and her voice is quite beautiful; as effortless as a river after very good rains. Textured. Expansive. Rich and deep. She says she used to spend her life singing covers in restaurants, and Fast Car and Crazy are transcendent. When it comes to her own work, though, I lack the insight to assign a specific style or influence. Gypsey-esque? Hippie? Indie-folk or soul? Bakkie-loads of Country. The kind of music you’d like to listen to on a road trip of your own. Big-sky stuff.
Naturally me is a very good debut. An excellent, brave beginning. The artist’s light is evident; and for her talent and determination alone, she (stage name: “Me”) deserves a chance. Listen. To order a copy of Naturally me: Email: email@example.com (R130 a copy, postage excluded). Copies are also available at live performances as well as at Bibliophile (Clarens book shop) 278 on Main (Clarens) and in Werkswinkel (Doherty’s Centre, Fouriesburg). www.facebook.com/Music-with-Salomes-Hand-to-Mouth-357993501058434/?fref=ts