Categories
Theatre

Zakes Mada’s acclaimed First Novel, Ways of Dying, To Be Staged At The Baxter With Stellar Creative Team For Limited Season 10 – 14 November

Zakes Mda’s acclaimed first novel, Ways of Dying, will be presented by the Baxter Theatre Centre and UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS), at the Baxter Flipside for six performances only, from 10 to 14 November at 7pm, with a Saturday matinee at 3pm, on 14 November.

Front Bokang Ntsutle, Middle Anathi Godlo, Tebatso Molapo, Back Liam Walsh in Ways of Dying

Adapted and directed by Lara Foot, who directed the work 20 years ago at The Market Theatre, the cast is made up of 14 fourth-year students from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (CTDPS).

The formidable award-winning creative team comprises Mdu Kweyama (direction and choreography), Bongile Mantsai (direction and music) with set design by Patrick Curtis, lighting design by Mannie Manim and costume design by Leigh Bishop.

All performances will be limited to fifty percent capacity, with all COVID-19 protocols observed as regulated at Level 1 lockdown restrictions. These include the availability of hand sanitisers, tracking and tracing recorded, wearing of masks, physical distancing and audience members are advised to arrive an hour before the start of the performance to avoid delays.

“The CTDPS is thrilled to be collaborating with The Baxter on our final fourth-year production,” says Sara Matchet, head of CTDPS. “2020 has proved to be exceptionally challenging in terms of teaching in the Performing and Creative Arts departments at UCT. The loss of face-to-face contact teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our programmes enormously.”

She continues, “The collaboration with The Baxter and with Lara Foot as director, promises to offer our graduating Acting students an experience that will make up for what has been lost. And a theatrical treat for local audiences to experience this work and creatives involved.”

The cast comprises Liam Walsh, Tamzin Williams, Megan Tromp, Francis Sholto-Douglas, Klara Schoonraad, Emma-Jane Pieters, Bokang Ntsutle, Basetsana Motloung, Tshiamo Moretlwe, Tebatso Molapo, Cullum McCormack, Brett Ilsley, Anathi Godlo and Sam Alexander.

Front Tebatso Molapo, Middle Emma-Jane Pieters, Basetsana Motloung, Back Liam Walsh in Ways of Dying, pic by Rob Keith

The story follows Toloki an eccentric and dignified professional mourner, who meets his childhood friend Noria, at her son’s funeral. They fall in love and move in together, each one teaching the other how to heal and live.

Ways of Dying is the 1995 novel by South African novelist, poet and playwright, Zakes Mda who has won a several major South African and international literary awards for his work. The book received the M-Net Book prize, and it was shortlisted for the Central News Agency (CNA) Award and a Noma Award. Some of his other works include The Heart of Redness, Our Lady of Benoni and The Zulus of New York.

The Mail and Guardian described the book Ways of Dying as “… a moving and startingly original novel …” and veteran writer Sindiwe Magona said, “A flawless, intricate, seamless weave, with magic and mystery … Mda is a master storyteller”.

With only six performances from 10 to 14 November at 7pm and a matinee on 14 November at 3pm, ticket prices for Ways of Dying are R75 and R50 for students. Booking is through Webtickets on 086 111 0005, online at www.webtickets.co.za or at Pick n Pay stores. For discounted school or group block bookings, fundraisers or charities, contact Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or e-mail her at carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

Categories
Uncategorized

Sundance Institute Announces Seven New Members Of Board Of Trustees

The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced the newly appointed and recent additions to the Institute’s Board of Trustees. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ann Lewnes, Wonya Lucas join the board alongside Uzodinma Iweala, Amanda Kelso, William Plapinger, and Junaid Sarieddeen who joined over the last year. Together they add to the business, cultural, and philanthropic leaders who guide and steer the entire organization and also act in an advisory capacity. The distinguished new Trustees bring invaluable experience and will work closely with Board Chair Pat Mitchell and Executive Director Keri Putnam.

“We are so grateful to welcome the expertise and unique perspectives of Kimberlé, Uzodinma, Amanda, Ann, Bill, and Junaid to Sundance as we move forward in this challenging time,” said Pat Mitchell. “Our board possesses the right skills, a broad range of talents and a high level of commitment to our founding values and ethics to guide the organization’s mission oriented work in supporting emerging artists around the world and connecting audiences to their stories.”

They join current members on the Institute’s Board: Robert Redford, President & Founder; Pat Mitchell, Chair; Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Vice Chair; Ebs Burnough, Vice Chair; Sean Bailey, Ritesh Batra, Jason Blum, Lisa-Michele Church, Kenneth Cole, Pascal Desroches, Fred Dust, Philipp Engelhorn, Caterina Fake, Robert J. Frankenberg, Donna Gruneich, Cindy Harrell Horn, Charles D. King, Lisa Kron, Lyn Davis Lear, Gigi Pritzker, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Amy Redford, Geoffrey K. Sands, Nadine Schiff-Rosen, and Lynette Wallworth.

Sundance Institute regularly evolves its Board, evaluating its composition to ensure it includes the skills and perspective necessary to help guide the organization as individual board member terms expire. The Institute’s Board has typically included between 24-28 members, these latest additions represent a slight growth for the Board. With three board members terms concluding, and additions over the last year, the Institute is now composed of a 32-person Board, 10 of whose members self-identify as BIPOC and six of whom self-identify as Black. The Board is 50% men and 50% women.

The new members of Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees are:

Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is the Promise Institute Professor at UCLA Law School and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor at Columbia Law School. She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName Campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!, a columnist for The New Republic, and the moderator of the widely impactful webinar series Under The Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that the Twin Pandemics Lay Bare. She is one of the most cited scholars in the history of the law, and was named Ms. magazine’s “No. 1 Most Inspiring Feminist,” honored as one of the ten most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine, and included in Ebony’s “Power 100” issue.

Her groundbreaking work on “intersectionality” has traveled globally and was influential in shaping the South African Equality Clause. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne and University of Paris; Centennial Professor at The London School of Economics; Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and taught at universities in South Africa, Brazil, and Italy. She received her J.D. from Harvard, L.L.M. from University of Wisconsin, and B.A. from Cornell University, and sits on the boards of Sundance, VDay, and the Algorithmic Justice League.

Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and The Paris Review among others. Uzodinma was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Amanda Kelso is passionate about technology and storytelling, and how together they can shape communities. She has spent the last 25 years serving as a creative communications and brand leader for global tech companies as well as lending her skills to non-profit organizations and startups. Amanda’s tenure includes helping to foster and oversee the stewardship of Instagram’s community of more than one billion people, serving as the Managing Director of Google Creative Lab, and providing creative digital leadership at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and West Ventures. While the majority of her career has been working in a creative capacity in the technology sector, early in her career she worked on television productions including Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Amanda holds a BA in Film from Columbia College at Columbia University and is an incoming DCI Fellow at Stanford University.

As an advocate for independent storytellers, in addition to being a trustee of the Sundance Institute, Amanda is also a member of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and a judge for the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Work she has produced has been recognized by Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, SXSW, D&AD, Clios, One Show, The Jim Henson Technology Honor, and Communication Arts. Amanda recently co-published a public meditations project encouraging people to take time out of their busy days to meditate.

Ann Lewnes is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Adobe, a position she has held for over a decade. Under her leadership, the Adobe brand has become synonymous with creativity, digital marketing and the design and development of transformative digital experiences. In addition to its consistent focus on creativity, Adobe’s marketing organization pioneered the shift to digital – deploying advanced digital marketing technology, establishing an insight-driven culture, and setting a template for marketing’s impact on business. Prior to Adobe, Ann spent 20 years building the iconic Intel Inside brand as VP of Marketing. Forbes has recognized her as one of the top CMOs in the world, Ad Age has named her one of The Creativity 50 and she was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2019. Ann received her B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from Lehigh University. She currently serves on the board of Mattel and is an active participant in the Sundance Catalyst program. Believing everyone has a story to tell, Ann is a strong advocate for empowering diverse creators, including women, youth and other under-represented groups.

Wonya Lucas is president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks. Lucas oversees the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands, including linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama; and subscription video on demand service Hallmark Movies Now. Lucas is based in the company’s Studio City office and reports to Mike Perry, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Formerly, Lucas was president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she oversaw Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (ATL PBA) stations. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of TV One. Prior to joining TV One, Lucas held several positions at Discovery Communications, including executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and global chief marketing officer, which entailed oversight of marketing in 210 countries.

Before joining Discovery Communications, Lucas served as general manager and executive vice president of The Weather Channel Networks with responsibility for corporate strategy and development and strategic marketing for The Weather Channel and . Previously, she spent eight years at Turner with roles including senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN Worldwide; vice president of business operations and network development for Turner Entertainment; and vice president of entertainment marketing for TNT. Lucas also spent several years in brand management for The Coca-Cola Company and Clorox.

Lucas received an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Wharton and BS Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech.

William Plapinger was a partner for almost three decades (and is now Senior Counsel) at the global law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and has dedicated most of his time since 2012 to the not-for-profit sector, primarily education, as well as conservation and the arts.

Plapinger’s legal practice focused on corporate finance and M&A in more than 30 countries, with particular emphasis on large, complex, financial transactions, many of which were the first, largest or most significant of their kind. He was resident in the firm’s London office for 25 years, and had both firm-wide and regional management responsibilities, including as managing partner of that office, coordinator of the firm’s European offices, and a member of the firm’s Managing Partners Committee.

In the education sector, he is a member of the boards of directors of The Posse Foundation and Global Citizen Year, and formerly was the chair of the board of trustees of Vassar College for 12 years, a Commissioner on the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, a trustee of the American School in London, and a director of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges. Over the last several years, he has worked with partners on an innovative venture to provide affordable financing to African students at the world’s leading universities.

In the conservation sector, he is a member of the board of directors of Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the largest private land trust on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and in the arts sector, in addition to being a member of the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute, he was a co-founder and member of the board of directors of the American Friends of the British Museum.

Plapinger is a graduate of Vassar College and New York University School of Law, attended Westfield College (University of London), and was a Fellow in 2013 and 2014 in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. He and his wife of almost 40 years, Cassie Murray, split their time between Martha’s Vineyard and New York City, and have three grown children.

Junaid Sarieddeen is a theatre actor, director, dramaturge, and a founding member of Beirut-based Zoukak Theatre Company (2006). He has directed several theatre plays with Zoukak and other artists including, “Ish Ibka…” (2007), “Lucena / Obedience Training” (2013), “Heavens” (2014), “The Jokers” (2017), and “36 Abbas street, Haifa” (2017). As a dramaturge, Junaid worked on several theatre and dance performances, including “Mahalli” (2012), “Fatmeh” (2014), “Leila’s Death” (2015), “May he rise…” (2017) and “NIGHT” (2019), and performed in more than 20 productions in the past fourteen years, touring in multiple cities and festivals around the world. He is a trainer on the use of theatre in various educational, social, and psychosocial contexts, and since 2016, a fellow artist of the Sundance Theatre Program where he took part in various Theatre Labs, both as a director and dramaturge in the USA and the MENA region.

Establishing Zoukak has provided Junaid a broad experience in art direction, curating cultural events and festivals, in addition to the knowledge in the management of non-governmental and cultural associations. He was a member of several initiatives focusing on cultural policies and other social and cultural issues in Lebanon including, censorship, public space, cultural heritage, and history.

For its artistic and social engagement, Zoukak received the Ibsen Scholarship award (2012), the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euro-med Dialogue Award for social resilience and creativity (2014), the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Palermo (2017), the Praemium Imperial Award for Young Artists from the Japan Arts Association (2017), the Chirac Foundation Award of Culture for Peace (2017) and the Ellen Stewart International Award (2018).

Junaid holds a BA in Theatre and a BA in Philosophy from the Lebanese University. At present, he is pursuing his Masters at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Categories
Workshops

Academy Debuts Virtual Program Spotlighting Filmmakers With Disabilities

WHAT:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents a special virtual program titled “ACCESSABILITY/VISABILITY: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media” available now. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the program consists of three panels featuring conversations with filmmakers with disabilities examining the struggles and successes of the disabled community in Hollywood.  For more information, visit Oscars.org.

WHO:
Whoopi Goldberg (welcoming remarks), Academy governor and Oscar®-winning actor
Marlee Matlin (host), Oscar-winning actor

Authentic Representation: Why It Matters and How Far We Have Come
Danny Woodburn, actor
Maysoon Zayid, actor and comedian
Eryn Brown, talent manager

Behind the Camera: Why Inclusion Benefits Us All
Jenni Gold, filmmaker
Jim LeBrecht, filmmaker
Kaitlyn Yang, VFX supervisor

Fresh Voices: Hollywood’s Untapped Talent and Unlimited Potential
Jorge Gutierrez, animation director
Millicent Simmonds, actor
Zack Gottsagen, actor

Biographies can be found here.

WHEN/WHERE:
Available now on Oscars.org.

Categories
Film

MTV Documentary Films Acquires award-winning South African Short Film, “My Father The Mover”

The Tribeca-winning short, My Father the Mover, is one of only a few handpicked foreign documentaries acquired by MTV Documentary Films MTV Documentary Films, a division of MTV Studios, has acquired breakout director Julia Jansch’s upbeat African dance tale, My Father The Mover, which won Best Documentary Short Film at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is part of an exciting lineup of award-winning new feature and short film acquisitions under executive producer Sheila Nevins. The lineup tackles the social, political and cultural topics affecting the immediate lives and future outlooks of young people today.

Following its launch with Academy Award-nominated short St. Louis Superman and award-winning feature Gay Chorus Deep South, MTV Documentary Films will qualify MY FATHER THE MOVER for the Academy Awards and do a full awards campaign. “Culling the magnificent Film Festivals with their extraordinary choices of documentary offerings, it is a gift to acquire films with heart and soul, insight and vision,” said Nevins.

My Father The Mover tells the story of Stoan (a.k.a. Mthuthuzeli Stoan MOVE Galela), a self-taught dancer who uses African electronic Gqom beats to motivate kids in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa to jive through their hardship and find their superpowers.

Jansch has always been stirred by characters and narratives that unveil what makes us most human. While talking to Stoan, Jansch learned of the work he does in his community. She was moved by his spirit and wanted to get his story out into the world in the hope of providing a platform for him to raise awareness about his work.

The South African director, writer and producer wanted to make the film in a way that felt as real and immersive as being with Stoan in the flesh and he invited an intimate crew into his home and dance class. “This story is very important to me because Stoan’s message and methodology is one of freedom. And while the kids in his dance group face very unique circumstances, I found his story and his work to be universal. I found his way to be so moving… he is The Mover after all, and I knew his story would resonate on a global level,” said Jansch.

Julia began her career in development, working for FremantleMedia and RadicalMedia in New York. Her short films have premiered and won at A-list festivals around the world, and she is currently writing her first feature. She has an MBA and an MSC from Oxford University and a filmmaking diploma from the New York Film Academy.

The MTV acquisition is a career milestone for the young New York-based filmmaker, who describes the project as a miracle.

MTV Documentary Films continues the rapid expansion of the global youth brand across its network of channels, platforms, events and third-party development through MTV Studios.

My Father The Mover Winner – Best Documentary Short Film at Tribeca Film Festival Filmmaker: Julia Jansch Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins Logline: African electronic Gqom beats motivate kids in the township of Khayelitsha, South Africa to jive through their hardship and find their superpowers.


Die Tribeca-bekroonde kortfilm, My Father the Mover, is een van slegs ’n paar handuitgesoekte oorsese dokumentêre wat deur MTV Documentary Films uitgesaai gaan word.

MTV Documentary Films, ’n afdeling van MTV Studios, het die regte bekom om Julia Jansch se inspirerende Afrika-dansverhaal, My Father The Mover (wat aangewys is as Beste Dokumentêre Kortfilm by die Tribeca Film Festival-Rolprentfees), uit te saai. Dié kortfilm is deel van ’n opwindende versameling bekroonde speel- en kortfilms deur uitvoerende vervaardiger, Sheila Nevins. Hierdie lys van films spreek die sosiale, politieke en kulturele onderwerpe aan wat die onmiddellike lewens en toekoms van hedendaagse jongmense raak.

Na die afdeling se amptelike bekendstelling met die Oscar-bekroonde kortfilm, St. Louis Superman, en bekroonde speelfilm, Gay Chorus Deep South, gaan MTV Documentary Films My Father The Mover ook laat kwalifiseer vir die Oscars en ’n volledige toekenningsveldtog van stapel te stuur. “Daar is baie rolprentfeeste met uitsonderlike dokumentêre beskikbaar en dis vir ons ’n voorreg om films uit te saai met hart, siek, insig en visie,” sê Nevins.

My Father The Mover vertel die storie van Stoan (oftewel Mthuthuzeli Stoan MOVE Galela), ’n danser wat kinders in Khayelitsha, Suid-Afrika, help om uit te styg bo hulle omstandighede (armoede en mishandeling) en hulle eie ‘superkragte’ te ontdek deur middel van elektriese ‘Gqom’-danse.

Karakters en stories wat menslik is, het Julia nog altyd geïnspirereer. Tydens haar gesprek met Stoan, het sy gehoor van die werk wat hy in sy gemeenskap doen. Sy het aanklank gevind by sy gees en wou sy storie met die wêreld deel en vir hom ’n platform skep om mense bewus te maak van die werk wat hy doen.

Omdat dié Suid-Afrikaanse regisseur, skrywer en vervaardiger graag wou hê dat die fliek so eg as moontlik moes wees, het sy besluit om dit nie net in dokumentêre styl te verfilm nie, maar ook die regte Stoan te gebruik as akteur. Hy het ’n klein rolprentspan toegelaat om in sy huis en klas te verfilm.

“Die storie is vir my belangrik, omdat Stoan se boodskap en metodes gaan oor vryheid. Alhoewel elkeen van die kinders in sy dansgroep se omstandighede verskil, is die werk wat hy doen universeel… hy is nie verniet The Mover nie en ek het geweet dat sy storie sou aanklank vind by ’n internasionale gehoor,” sê Jansch.

Julia het haar loopbaan in rolprentontwikkeling afgeskop by FremantleMedia en RadicalMedia. Haar kortfilms is al by rolprentfeeste regoor die wêreld bekendgestel en sy is tans besig om aan haar eerste vollengte rolprent te werk. Sy spog met ’n MBA- en MSC-graad van Oxford Universiteit en ’n rolprentdiploma van die New York Film Academy.

Die feit dat MTV uitsaairegte bekom het vir haar kortfilm is ’n mylpaal vir hierdie rolprentmaker, wat tans in New York woon, en die projek as ’n wonderwerk beskryf.

MTV Documentary Films gaan voort met die uitbreiding van die wêreldwye jeughandelsmerk deur middel van sy netwerk van kanale, platforms, funksies en derdeparty-ontwikkeling deur MTV Studios.

My Father The Mover
Wenner: Beste Dokumentêre Kortfilm by die Tribeca-Rolprentfees
Regisseur: Julia Jansch
Uitvoerende vervaardiger: Sheila Nevins
Prikkel: Afrika elektriese ‘Gqom’-danse motiveer kinders in die plakkerskampe van Khayelitsha, Suid-Afrika, om uit te styg bo hulle omstandighede en hulle eie ‘superkragte’ te ontdek.

Categories
music

Ariose’s Debut Single Brings Hope For Difficult Times In Relationships

When musicians who have known each other for a long time decide to make music together, you can look forward to a remarkable end result… and BLY JY HIER is the perfect example to prove it.

It is a gripping contemporary duet by the brand-new Afrikaans group, Ariose (meaning – “a melody”)– which consists of Xander Filmalter, Renier Henning and Heidi Henning – and can be described as a conversation between a couple trapped on opposite sides of the same circle.

“BLY JY HIER is about those difficult times in every relationship that leave couples feeling isolated from one another, even though they are closer than their inner world allows them to experience in that moment,” explains Xander, who wrote the song. “It is not meant to be experienced only as a sad theme, but rather as a message of hope that victory can be achieved in difficult times. The melody creates a light foundation on which the interplay between the two characters take place and the different emotions are also evident in the lyrics.”

Ariose is a passion project that was established in October 2020 to create high quality Afrikaans music and also to separate the artists’ existing music careers from this new initiative. “Ariose’s goal is to make good Afrikaans music. Our music is written and created with an acoustic guitar and during production other elements are added such as electric guitar or piano,” says Renier.

The music video of the single was produced by Xander and Renier during level three of lockdown. The video was filmed at Heidi and Renier’s house and shows different shots of the group performing the song. Xander’s serious performance is in sharp contrast with Heidi’s fun and energetic style, which represents the two sides of the relationship circle that is one of the main themes of the song.

“Because of lockdown, we were not allowed to go out to film the video. We shot it at home one Saturday afternoon,” the guys reveal. “Initially we wanted to use a humorous theme, but the performance shots worked so well that everything just fell into place. We are very grateful for the energy that Heidi brought to the video, which we did not necessarily have.”

“Grendeltyd het gemaak dat ons baie kreatief moes wees oor hoe ons die video benader. Ons moes dit by die huis skiet, omdat ons nie kon uitgaan nie en het dit een Saterdag by die huis opgeneem,” verklap die manne. “Aanvanklik wou ons die tema humoristies maak, maar die vertoningskote het so goed gewerk dat alles net in plek geval het. Ons is baie dankbaar vir die energie wat Heidi na die video gebring het, wat ons nie noodwendig gehad het nie.”

Xander and Renier have been friends for many years. Xander has also recorded quite a few of his songs at Renier’s studio. After Heidi and Renier got married and she started spending more time with them in studio, they realized that Xander and Heidi’s voices complement each other very well.

“Xander and Heidi did a cover of the Bryan Adams hit, Star, for fun and the reaction was very positive. So, we have been talking about collaborating for many years, but we have always been too busy. At the beginning of 2020, we decided that it was now or never. Xander was looking for the opportunity to focus on his singing without having to worry about playing instruments and I agreed to handle that part of the project,” Renier explains. “Heidi has done backing vocals for Xander in the past and I have always felt that their voices work well together. So, we decided to give the duet a go and it turned out very well.”

According to the group, they really enjoyed working together on BLY JY HIER and are looking forward to sharing it with fans. “Because we are all such good friends and have always enjoyed making music together, the recording process was effortless,” says Heidi. “We all understand and support each other very well and bring unique characteristics to the table.”

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE MUSIC

Pieter Filmalter, better known as Xander Filmalter, grew up in the Vaal Triangle and played in bands since he was seventeen. He used to make up new lyrics for existing melodies, until he saw one of his friends playing guitar at a school concert. He immediately fell in love with the instrument and taught himself to play on his grandfather’s guitar… in the same way in which he would later go on to teach others the same skill.

He has been working in the music industry for the past twenty-one-years and is the former lyricist and guitarist of the English rock band, AvenFall. The singer, who originally only did English songs, only decided to enter the Afrikaans Music Industry after a friend asked him to write a song. In 2017 he released his debut Afrikaans album, Hier Kom Dit Nou, which delivered numerous successful singles and music videos (that all featured on kykNET NOU!), including As Jy Dans, Bloed Is Rooi, Hi Jy and the title track, Hier Kom Dit Nou.

He credits Johan Vorster, Richard van der Westhuizen and Jo Black as some of his local music influences. He also enjoys listening to international artists like The Offspring, Green Day, U2, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls and Bryan Adams and would love to work with the likes of Richard van der Westhuizen, Francois van Coke and Karen Zoid someday.

Xander describes himself as an introvert, who often needs some quiet time to recharge and think about life. Although he is happy with being a teacher, he dreams about writing songs for well-known artists and films, recording a few more albums and conquering the hearts of the South African public. He has recently recorded six new English songs and is excited about the future.

Renier and Heidi Henning have been performing together since 2014 as the gospel group, Kings Collective. Since then, the duo has shown that they are a force to be reckoned with – on stage and at home.

Together, they have performed at various churches and spiritual functions, released an English album – Humbly We Come – as well as several singles (Hold Me In Your Arms, Fountains Of My Heart, U Is Vir My and Kamerliedjie) and music videos that were all very well received and can still be seen on TV.

According to the couple, Ariose is definitely not the end of their gospel career and that it is merely a way for them to separate their secular and spiritual music. “Kings Collective still exists, and we will never stop making gospel music. It is part of who we are, and we still have a lot of new material on the way. We just wanted another name under which we could release songs that are not necessarily spiritual in nature,” Heidi shares.

Renier has been in love with music since he can remember and started playing instruments when he was twelve. Later he started producing his own songs and, over the past decade, this has also been his day job. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the guitarist is responsible for the technical music aspects (composition, production and sound engineering) in the group. He loves watching Formula 1 racing in his spare time and enjoys a wide variety of music. He credits Goo Goo Dolls, Keith Urban, Imagine Dragons and Tim McGraw as some of his current favourite singers. The musician believes that people are moved when an artist is authentic and puts his soul into his music.

Heidi has been singing since she was a little girl and has always been a natural at writing poetry and lyrics. She taught herself to play guitar in high school and has been performing with bands since the age of sixteen. She decided to enter the Gospel market after being saved when she was twenty. As Kings Collective and Ariose’s female vocalist and lyricist, she draws inspiration from life experiences, her relationship with God, people and music. When she is not singing or working as a graphic designer, she enjoys gardening and listening to genres like Gospel, Country, Folk and Rock. She believes that music reveals more about an artist than anyone would ever know, and this is evident in the way she pours heart and soul into each song she sings.

Ariose considers BLY JY HIER to be the first of many songs together and is very excited to see how the listeners will react to this single. “We hope that the public will be experience the single in the spirit in which it was created. It addresses a universal theme, that will appeal to audiences of all ages,” Xander concludes.

The song is available on all digital platforms. Download BLY JY HIER here:

https://music.apple.com/us/album/bly-jy-hier-single/1536798109

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/ariose2/bly-jy-hier