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Brief music bio: Jacques Steyn

I deliberately did not want to be caught up in one music style. So I deliberateloy tried many types of music.

My growing up music ranged from classical Italian tenors, light operas to LM Radio, which was the only available radio station that played rock. It was broadcast from Mozambique in medium wave with lots of static. Pink Floyd, Beatles, The Doors, Santana, Bread, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and everything else. Just not Bubblegum music...

Jacques Steyn

At school I had a rock band which played Afrikaans folk songs for folk dance evenings. This was many years before the Alternative Afrikaans music movement. But as we also wanted to touch the girls' hands (we were in a boys only school), we recorded the band and played on sound systems during folk dance evenings.

At university I did folk-rock, as well as multimedia shows - images projected onto a screen. This was long before the time of data projectors. I used slide projectors and took the photos myself. I used slide photography and used the sandwich method, which overlays different slides over one another for special effects.

During the same era I composed music for the biblical book Song of Solomon in a folk-rock-opera style, wrote the score and performed this with a bunch of music students under the name Lumen. Instruments used were harpsichord, flute, cello, acoustic guitar and male and female voices.

I did regular shows with my own compositions. I won several competitions and was featured on radio (TV had not yet reached South Africa).

I was a cast member of the Brickhill-Bourke production of the musical Mame in the then Johannesburg Civic Theatre. The show ran for 6 months, and was at that stage the most expensive produciton ever in SA.

During the Musiek en Liriek series in the State Theatre in Pretoria, I often opened for some big names.

In 1990 I put together a band for the Houtstok Rock Festival - the first Afrikaans big rock concert. The band name was 2B2 and we played my own compositions. Two of our numbers were included in the Houtstok CD. Afterwards 2B2 joined Anton Goosen en die Kommissie van Ondersoek, and Piet Botha for a short Houtstok tour.

2B2 had regular gigs with the reggae band of Carlos Djedje and Malidadi in the centre city of Pretoria.

In the early 1990s when Afrikaans was still in the closet, Marita Esterhuyse and I performed a few risque cabarets at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and other venues in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area.

We remember well how narrow-minded Afrikaans people stormed out, prompting others to stream in... Before the 90s the National government were under the impression they had to think for the whole country. The phones of people who thought otherwise were tapped, and were regarded as communists (the most dirty label one could be given was Communist! or Duiwels, which means "from the devil").

Preferance was given to the clean and pure Afrikaans music - which had a pretentious manner of pronounciating words. Afrikaans music that sounded different than the acceptable Calvinist norm received no attention. When the new political dispensation arrived, and the SABC became more open minded, a special TV music program series (Music from within) was introduced to cover music that was previously ignored. I featured in this program.

In a pantomime Robin and his hoods produced at the Kleinteater in Pretoria, I was little John.

I was in the choir of the Wagner production of the Flying Dutchman in the State Theatre in Pretoria.

After that I lay low for quite a while.

In the early 2000s I joined a rock-n-blues band - the Undercover Band. We opened a few times for Dan Patlanski before he was famous.

In 2005 Kai Brugge, the amazing axe-man of 2B2, and myself thought it a good idea to have a 2B2 reunion. The son (Dylan) of our original drummer (Brian Schwartz) now played drums, and Etienne Cilliers replaced the orginal bass player (Deon Karstel).

2B2 reunion

We were thrilled that South Africa's Rock Professor, Leon Economides, played our song I sleep alone tonight on national radio.

More recently I played keys in a Texas Blues band, Stormy Monday.

For a special event - my wedding - I rearranged Listen to the Rain (Feliciano), Riders on the storm (Doors) for 4 voices in a style that is a mix between jazzy, classic music, folk-rock.


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