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BlaqPearl: Canary In A Storm

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Singer and spoken word poet and social activist BlaqPearl kicked off the weekend line-up at Mercury with a pretty but fragile performance to a rather rough-edged crowd. After all, despite the all-inclusive ethic, not everyone is ready for Goema and spiritual awakening. Yet…

more photos on Biz-Blog

Unlike most of the acts that vault the stage at Zonnebloem’s only live music venue, BlaqPearl is not a band. BlaqPearl is Janine van Rooy who performs elegant, soft, sensual, feel-good jazzy sounds. Perhaps the rock-orientated Mercury’s not the right venue for the R&B vibe. To her credit, BlaqPearl’s a skinhead, so the R8-a-beer types can at least relate to that…

Ask her what she’s about, and you’ll get this: “To contribute to positive change in our country’s current state regarding the music industry and youth empowerment. To be successful and inspire upcoming artists & musicians. Also to grow immensely and continuously in her musical talents and self.” [blaqpearl.co.za]

Band-members included a drummer, lead guitarist, bass guitarist and a saxophonist. While a number of close friends and family hugged the wall, a few of the loyal fans, including [deleted name], got pretty smashed, and the result was that there was both too much and not much love shown for BlaqPearl. But she put on a good performance anyway. Original, at the very least.

Blaq/Pearl (which one is it?!) even recited a poem in Afrikaans on abusive substances etc. Admittedly, my Afrikaans is terrible so I just about got the gist of it. It was refreshing to hear spoken word pierce through the heart of the often-formulaic “song-clap-song” live music scene. Along with some stellar guitarwork, BlaqPearl and the boys would do well to hit the more sober and appreciative crowds of Manenberg’s Jazz Café or the V&A Waterfront’s Green Dolphin. Forego it, and go for it.

Guest post by Sindy Peters and images by Ruth Cooper of Biz-Blog

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