I was fortunate enough to realise one of my lifelong dreams this past week. I walked onto stage with Johnny Clegg to perform for a little over two hours at the Royal Albert Hall to a large and appreciative crowd on Wednesday night. I’m including some pics below which will no doubt say louder than words what the experience was like.
Despite the cold UK weather (0 degrees Centigrade), we had a fantastic trip.
It’s been on shelves for a bit, but we officially christened this album release with a shindig at Tanz Cafe Fourways on Tuesday night. With a fantastic Band (Neill Ettridge – Drums, Trevor Donjeany – Bass, Alistair Coakley – Guitar, Ashish Joshi – Tabla, Hlengiwe Pitso – Vocals, Tumie Mfecane – Vocals and Andy Innes – Guitar / vocal) the gig went down really well with rave reviews from all who came along. The band whipped through a set of Seven tracks from the Anthems of a Stranger release to thunderous applause from the large audience. This showcase was just the precursor to more upcoming shows, to give the audience and press a taste of what’s in store and to highlight some of the album material.
Thanks to everyone who turned up and special thanks to the “profile” guests who took the time to come and help celebrate.
A special thank you to Andy Furtner at Gearhouse, who provided cabling, mults and splitters for the live recording and a HUGE thank you to the Gearhouse affiliate Ledvision (under the able leadership of Richard Baker) who provided the immense video wall that you can see featured here behind the band. Thanks also to Warren Gibson from Plug Music for his efforts and to Jules (who also did the MC gig, incidentally) and his team from Sstream who shot multi-camera footage of the show. Thanks to Raeven Brough for doing a great job at the guitar tech position too. Last but not least, a huge thank you to Desiree for everything she does so exceptionally well.
The launch T-shirts and CD will be available here from Friday 09/11/12.
Andy plays Tugela Crossing on his P22
L-R Alistair Coakley (gtr), Tumie Mfecane (vox) and Hlengiwe Pitso (vox)
Alistair Coakley and Andy Innes playing guitars
Beauties and the beast (Tumie Mfecane, Hlengiwe Pitso, Andy Innes)
Hottest rhythm section in town (Neill Ettridge – drums, Trevor Donjeany – Bass)
Andy Plays 8-string Baritone on Ride to the Sea
Ashish Joshi (tabla) and Neill Ettridge (drum kit)
Here are some related reviews and articles:
http://cleonecassidy.blogspot.com/2012/11/pure-genius.html (Cleone Cassidy’s Blog – she said it was pure genius, we like this)
http://museonline.co.za/news/andy-innes-releases-debut-album-anthems-of-a-stranger/ (Muse announcement and article)
See today’s musicreview.co.za interview here: http://www.musicreview.co.za/2012/10/30/interview-andy-innes-solo-musician-and-guitarist-for-johnny-clegg
Also, don’t forget – Anthems of a Stranger jhb launch in one week! Tuesday 06 Nov.
On Tuesday the 6th of November, I’ll be at the official Joburg launch for Anthems of a Stranger, playing a set of tunes from the album. The CD will be available there, along with Tees and some other unique giveaways. Come and see what all the fuss is about.
Event: Andy Innes’ debut solo album launch of Anthems of a Stranger
Date: Tuesday 6 November 2012
Venue: Tanz Café, Fourways, Johannesburg
Tickets: R30, albums available to buy at the show
Event URL: www.facebook.com/events/202263319907042/
email@example.com to book or call 011 658 0277
The launch of Andy Innes’ debut album, Anthems of a Stranger, takes place at Tanz Café on 6 November with a live performance by Andy and an all-star band. R30 entrance and the album will be available to buy at the show.
Anthems of a Stranger, the debut solo project from multi-talented musician Andy Innes, is a mix of world folk-rock, hard-hitting social commentary and elegant instrumental interludes. Andy is also the musical director, guitarist and backing vocalist for the Johnny Clegg band. His 14-track offering has a multitude of collaborations and combines arrangements of maskandi guitars and mbaqanga with more mainstream rock sounds. Named after a line from the socially reflective track Aliens, the album is a blend of lyrically emotional gems and instrumental magnificence which showcase Andy’s gentle vocal abilities in the first eight songs before affirming his talent and technical guitar abilities in the remaining six tracks.
I’m in the principality of Monaco today. We had a great show here with the Johnny Clegg Band on Saturday night – played at the Opera Garnier (named after the architect of this venue and the Opera in Paris) – a royal command performance, i.e. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco told us to come and perform and we did. The opera just had a 26-million Euro overhaul and is a stunning venue.
It’s been a fantastic and unique experience, I met lots of interesting people, got some shopping in down the coast in Nice and generally had an interesting taste of how the other half lives. An amusing anecdote: Roger Moore (the real 007 as far as I’m concerned) was at our gig on Saturday, but I didn’t get to meet him. Whilst waiting for the ride into Nice yesterday I mentioned this to Princess Charlene’s dad, Mike Wittstock over coffee. “Roger Moore?” says he. “Not a problem!”
He promptly calls Roger Moore and, to my eternal amazement, hands me the phone. I had a three-minute chat with James Bond, who says he loved the show in his best “come here Moneypenny” voice. What a lark!
The Monte Carlo Opera is a 513-seater (filled for the show) and is right next to the Casino (the model for Fleming’s Casino Royale). The after party was at Cafe de Paris. Some pics from the show and the after party follow below.
On another more provincial note, I will be back at Tanz cafe in Jhb, playing three songs for the semis of the Acoustic Anything series on the 9th of October. Feel free to pop in.
warming up for a trio gig at Tanz last week
Barry, Andy, Prince Albert, Princess Charlene, Verny
Monte Carlo Opera gig
opera garnier pre show
monte carlo opera ceiling detail
Andy Innes – Anthems of a stranger – Comfortable crossover
Andy Innes, solo artist and musical director for Johnny Clegg’s touring band, is one of those English-speaking artists (others include Tom Fox, James Stewart and Lionel Bastos) who, without resorting to world music clichés, is able to convey a sense of “Africa-ness” in music that fits comfortably into what most would define as “Western” pop.
25 September 2012 | BRUCE DENNILL
7/10 ANDY INNES – ANTHEMS OF A STRANGER (KHANGULA)
Innes’s profile is such that he’s able to include a long list of artists similarly comfortable with his crossover style on this album – Johnny Clegg; Barry Van Zyl; vocalists Mandisa Dlanga, Hlengiwe Pitso and Bongani Masuku; drummer Kevin Gibson and many more.
The agreeably grown-up songs that come out of that mix of talents are great, with love song Desiree (dedicated to Innes’s wife) and Angels being the best of a strong selection.
Six of the entries on the tracklist are instrumentals, underlining the breadth of skill and creativity at the disposal of Innes and his motley crew.
And within that bunch, there is great scope as well, with Gitane being a hyper-active, jumpy tune and Delilah a soothing, melodic musing. – BD
Also see Bruce Dennil’s interview / article from 24/09 heritage day issue: Citizen September 2012 article online