Three guitars, a set of drums and four sets of bare feet is the on-stage presentation of the opening act. Folk rocker band Holiday Murray charms the crowd and sets the mood with their light hearted tracks and soulful ‘South African country’ music. Vocals of their lead singer, James Tuft, are unique, smooth and kept to their very particular genre. And the entire band was consistent and true in their all round and exclusive sound – something of which we as South Africans, and Capetonians especially, can be extremely proud.
If the very trees of Kirstenbosch Gardens could create music in the evening sunshine and subtle breeze, this would be it. The instrumental combination of the drums, bass and electric guitar is cheerful, yet still tinged with emotion and passion. The last of the sunset turned the tips of the mountains to gold and bubbles floated up towards the cloudless sky as lyrics such as “nobody escapes me like you do” hung in the air… it felt like an alternative reality where good luck and coincidences are the norm. And as a family of Egyptian geese waddling between picnic spots sent cameras flashing, it seemed the concert was organised and produced by Mother Nature herself.
Holiday Murray’s natural and confident appeal in front of such a large crowd suggests that they have been on the scene for years with plenty of experience. But the up-and-comers are sincere and humbled by their opportunities and continuous rise in the music industry – “We always enjoy playing for ourselves but it is really amazing to play in front of all of you.”
The atmosphere of excitement brimmed over as Jeremy Loops opened on harmonica with a proudly South African rendition of Shosholoza. How not to be affected by the enthusiasm of the die-hard folk followers doing rain dances on the grass with high spirits and spilt wine glasses? Jeremy’s versatility is astounding, more than earning him the nickname of a ‘one-man folk band’. Multi-talented and surprisingly hilarious, Jeremy adds loop after loop, pun intended, using various instruments while joking about consuming a litre of honey as a cure for his voiceless awakening that morning.
Inventive, to say the least, Jeremy’s creativity and talent spans to another level. His DIY attitude towards music is quite simply dumbfounding, holding his audience in disbelief as he beat boxes over the mic while simultaneously playing guitar and adding various sound loops using a loop pedal. It’s clear to note that live performances best compliment Loops as audiences can witness for themselves the free styling and multiple elements of his solo act.
Already adoring his interactivity, the crowd was thoroughly impressed by his collaboration with lyrical artist and rapper, Motheo Moleko, who added flavour and a touch of hip hop to the otherwise folk-inspired evening – making the entire performance accessible and adding that significant ‘pop’ to the beginning of the given genre.
Every song handled by Loops emotes happiness and foot-stomping delight, but ‘Power’ and ‘This Train is Bound for Glory’ were highlights. With both Jeremy Loops and Holiday Murray, we were not just getting folk-based tracks. Their acts are adaptable and easily enjoyed regardless of an audience’s preferred musical genre. If only every Sunday conjured up enough motivation and cheer to last me until the next.
Jeremy Loops and Holiday Murray performed for the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series on Sunday 10 March 2013