Basically, my question is: Did South Africa ever use recycled vinyl to press records? And if so, when? (and for how long?)
Context: With sanctions in place, would there not have been issues with stock at some point? I remember reading that even the USA recycled vinyl (in the 70s I think) because of a shortage of material. I’ve told you about the impurities I noticed in the locally pressed Beatles White Album (clear vinyl). Also I’ve found that South African pressings from the 60s and early 70s have a more dynamic sound than those later on, which I think sound ‘flat’. Even some records in mint condition, visually, seem to play with some degree of surface noise. There are anomalies of course, but these appear to be few and far between.
Homeland: A Song For Refugees, written by Neill Solomon has a stellar lineup on artists including: Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, Ayanda Bandla, Reine Saad, Cindy Alter, Bienvenue Nseka, Nde Ndifonka aka Wax Dey and JB Arthur on vocals.
With Godfrey Mgcina on Percussion, Fana Zulu on Bass Guitar, Pops Mohamed on Kora, Greg Georgiades on Oud, Wouter Kellerman on Flute and backing vocals of Stella Khumalo, Faith Kekana and Zamo Mbutho along with 15 members of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Kutlwano Masote, this is a stellar piece of work.
A Song for Refugees
The song is a tender testimony describing a touching story of the sense of wanting to return to one’s Homeland, no doubt a narrative song that gives voice to the world’s dispossessed and exiled.
The orchestra prologue arrangement sets the tone for Homeland: A Song for Refugees further boasting an epic musical and lyrical interpretation…an unquestionable landmark song with the narrative carried by the voices and instrumentation, delivering heart-breaking conviction.
There’s a sense of soul soothing hope layered in the song.
The most prominent lyric has to be Strange Birds Singing revealing the essence of the song ….in envy of winged creatures that hold no borders.
With this song the hope is to spread global awareness about the continuing refugee crisis.
A new record deal, album and an upcoming tour, Watershed proves that not even a pandemic can keep them down.
While many of South Africa’s landmark rock bands have hung up their guitars, there is at least one that has weathered the storm that is Covid-19 and come out of it better than ever. The past two years have seen Watershed secure a European record deal with the German-based independent label On-Stage, release their seventh studio album and now they’re ready to tour not only SA but also internationally.
“It’s been an incredible 21 years,” comments lead vocalist Craig Hinds. Though as a band they started relatively understated, their debut single “Shine on Me” launched the group to national stardom, with the follow-ups “Indigo Girl” and “Letters” making them certified rockstars. Over the years, the pop-rock band have managed to keep up that momentum with plenty of chart-topping hits and, because of this, they’ve continued to tour beyond their home soil of SA.
At the peak of their careers, the band was blind-sided by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown of 2020. “The pandemic affected our touring schedule with shows having to be cancelled and international tours postponed,” explains Craig.
While many bands weren’t able to survive the lockdown, Watershed regrouped and adapted. Craig and the band used their time at home to reflect on themselves as well as their music with Craig being able to spend this time writing more songs. The result? Elephant in the Room, an authentic, stripped-down album that mirrors the time we live in and daily frustrations felt, which was released last year. “We have had two great singles off the album, ‘Undone’ and ‘Empty Space’, with both doing really well and ‘Undone’ getting to number 1 on the charts,” notes Craig. “Both singles and the album are also doing phenomenally in Europe.” This sees the second time that standing Watershed lead guitarist, Gideon Botes produced an album for the band, having also worked behind the scenes on their 2018 studio album Harbour. “His production genius has added volumes to our new albums and our current sound,” adds Craig.
And, as things stand now in 2022, Craig says that the band is cautiously optimistic –finally, after two postponements, they will be touring Germany in June 2022. “All we can do is hold thumbs that things stay on the trajectory they are now and we can get back to some sort of normal.”
Though this is their first international tour since the pandemic, they have been lucky enough to do some live performances in SA and the band has enjoyed watching the crowds increase in size as things open up. “Touring is what we do,” exclaims Craig. “It’s fun and allows us to visit Incredible parts of our country and the world. We get to see smiles on people’s faces and gather more material for new songs as we travel and share.”
Reflecting on the state of music now, Craig admits that it’s tough. Streaming has had a heavy impact on artists with little to no money being earned through these channels. This leaves touring and live shows as the most important part of music for any band. “There is lots of music out there and some marvelous songs going around but it’s become more about sustainability. Are bands able to maintain a career?” he says. “The consumption of music is rapid. New songs are getting a few weeks in the sun but as quickly as they go up the charts they vanish at the same rate.” But, he says, it’s still very much about trying to build a loyal fan base that will support you to the ends of the earth.
And, Watershed can boast a loyal fan base that has been with them for over two decades. It’s this fandom that will most appreciate their next project which will see them re-recording their classic hits like “Indigo Girl” and “Letters”, while also allowing for a whole new generation to connect with their music. “We won’t change them too much, but it’s just really about recapturing them with more current sounds and a fresh vocal,” admits Craig. “I think my voice has changed over the years and I look forward to seeing the potential of these hits topping the charts again… who knows?”
For those who are going to their first Watershed live performance, you can expect a big show filled and amazing energy. They’ll be touring flat out in SA until May and then they’ll head for Germany for a big 13 show tour. Tickets are selling fast as people are clearly hyped to see the band in the element on stage. “At the same time, we will be working on new tracks.” teases Craig. “We will probably start tracking a new album later this year for a release early to mid-2023!”
The Elephant in the Room tour
South African tour dates
|1 April||café Roux, Noordhoek|
|2 & 3 April||Warwick Wine Estate, Stellenbosch|
|9 April||Kaapzicht Wine Estate, Stellenbosch|
|6 May||The Barnyard Theatre Suncoast, Durban Beach|
|7 May||The Groves Venue, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands|
|13 May||The Barnyard Theatre Silverstar, Krugersdorp|
|14 May||The Barnyard Theatre Menlyn, Menlyn|
German tour dates
|12 June||Fernsehgarten Show, Mainz|
|13 June||Feierwerk, München|
|15 June||Meisenfrei, Bremen|
|16 June||Piano, Dortmund|
|17 June||das Rind, Rüsselsheim am Main|
|18 June||Hallenbad, Wolfsburg|
|20 June||Knust, Hamburg|
|21 June||Keller Z87, Würzburg|
|22 June||Zauberberg, Passau|
|23 June||Reigen, AT-Wien|
|25 June||Open Air, Ludwigsfelde|
Their album Elephant in the Room is available on all digital platforms as well as CD and vinyl. Head to the Watershed website (https://www.watershed.co.za/tour-dates) to purchase tickets to their upcoming shows and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news.
It is with great sadness that we share the sad news that Pat Humphreys has passed away.
Pat was the drummer for the legendary Cape Town band, Falling Mirror, alongside Allan Faull and Nielen Mirror, after beginning his association with them as a member of the pre-Falling Mirror band Wakeford Hart in 1970.
Pat then left that band for a few years, until, after a few different line-ups and band names, Allan and Nielen finally settled on the name Falling Mirror in 1978. Pat then re-joined the classic Falling Mirror line up in 1978 alongside Allan (guitar), Nielen (vocals), Pat (drums) and Tully McCully (bass) for their run of classic SA rock albums including ‘Zen Boulders’, ‘The Storming Of The Loft’ and ‘Fantasy Kid’.
On behalf of the South African Rock fraternity we pass on our condolences to the Humphreys family and all Pat’s friends and fellow musicians.