Monday, October 8, 2007

foto na dans. first time.

(Read the Levis version)

Foto Na Dans. Switch on. Turn it up. Let go. The trumpet uplifts and underlines, the vocals are unequivocally incendiary, the lyrics evocative and empowering, especially on the subject of loss, regret and weakness. Because they’re honest and naked, the guitars grind everything into gold dust, and the operatic overtures demand high regard. These boys from Bellville haven't finished varsity, but they've already written anthems like "Vergeet Van My", and even their songs of rejection are festering with a fine love.

Across the country, artists are engaging with their particular national angst like it’s the new economic commodity rather than a deplorable sell-out. While others are busy licking the wound of our collective historical hangover with rotten tongues, Foto Na Dans have torn theirs out, and they aren't crying about it. They're having none of the spiritual decay bequeathed us by dead and dying despots. Their sound is saturated with a new glory that defies the schitzophrenic socio-political depression that artists across the country have adopted as their heritage. They give new meaning to the term 'expression' and purge their systems every time they play. It’s emotional, powerful and triumphant music. Theirs is the glory of turning a wound into a scar instead of sacrificing the self to self-pity. The difference is audible; they find beauty in imperfection and strength in loss, they make music that swells and crashes without getting messy. Their compositions are strong, strange and sexy, and on stage, so are they.

It's a new voice on the cultural landscape; one giant leap on from the dithering, disgraceful sentiments of jm coetzee, and more promising and refined than the formidable aural tantrums of Fokofpolisiekar, whose references to inspiration and influence i expect the public will graduate from in the near future. For Afrikaans youth, they bring hope against the odds of entrenched social repression and embedded political regression. In departure from the norm of white rock, their significance reaches beyond their back yards. They share their universal message in Afrikaans, the mother tongue of more than 6 million different people, with emotion that defies social or racial stratification. It offers sensitive (hurt, hopeful, hungry) souls of every background, orientation and intention across the land a flood of feeling drenched in individuality and freedom. hell, Madiba should be head banging with them.

And speaking of wise men and wise words, we forget that the greatest gift you can give your audience is to truly be yourself. Foto Na Dans give with grace, measure and a focused passion that anoints the music. And it’s this that will keep their real fans close as they grow. Their music liberates. All you have to do is stand still and listen. You won't be still for long.

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