Picture the scene, a smoky room, you’re sat in a couch that envelopes you in and you’re sipping on your favourite whiskey. There is a smoky blue haze and on stage a man is drawing out emotions from you, that you never knew existed. The guitar is doing things that should not be possible and the voice is so sultry that it is all you can do not to weep with joy. He is singing to you, for you and nothing else in the world is important at that moment. This is how I felt watching Dan Patalansky play, except, I was outdoors, at Africa Bike Week 2012 and there were hundreds of other people who, by the look on their faces, felt the same.
Africa Bike Week took place in Margate, KwaZulu Natal over the weekend of 26 to 30th of April and I had the amazing opportunity to interview Dan Patlansky before he took to the stage to blow the minds of the hundreds of people in the crowd.
Dan Patlansky is a 30 year old musical genius. His passion for music is evident on stage and his eyes shine when he speaks about music and what he has achieved to date and when he talks about his passion it is as if he has discovered the secret to living forever. The money and fame mean little to him, this is what he does and he could not imagine doing anything else.
I spent some time with Dan before he took to the stage. Charming, salt of the earth, he is the man every girl wants to take home to her parents… and even more so because he is oblivious to this fact.
Astoundingly Dan has only been playing guitar since he was 14. Unbelievable if you see what he can do with these strings.
The saying ‘he makes the guitar sing’ was coined for Dan. His fingers move over those strings as if there is no thought or effort. It is hard to put into words what I saw him do on stage but judging by the gaping mouths of the audience I wasn’t alone.
And then he starts to sing….. It is as if I have discovered euphoria. Who needs drugs with music like this?
You know the feeling you get when you are falling in love, butterflies in your stomach, your heart feeling as if it may explode, goose bumps prickling your skin…. Well this is how it feels when you listen to Dan Patlansky play guitar and croons words of wonder into the microphone.
Dan has played at many venues in his short career but his best memory so far was The Maple Leaf in New Orleans. He was 24. Taken over to the States by Selwyn Miller, the manager of David Gates, Bread and Randy Crawford, Dan had the amazing opportunity to play some of the biggest blues venues in the home of blues, New Orleans.
24 was a big age for Dan. He was awarded blue note status an achievement not often reached by musicians, let alone at that age.
Dan credits a lot of his success on the drummer and bass guitarist who play alongside him, and says it makes all the difference playing with talented guys, and it clearly works for them. They hardly ever rehearse unless they have a big show coming up but watching them you would think they were jamming together 24/7.
Although his music is not commercial and has little radio play (blues numbers tend to be too long for radio), Dan is enjoying a rapidly growing fan base and his latest album 20 Stones is enjoying great success. He has plans to make more radio friendly songs but, I believe, Dan has plans for world music domination too.
This, readers, is real music. Dan is pure raw dedication, passion and natural talent. There is no studio ‘fixing’ or just great PR; he is to put it simply, incredible. I believe there are bigger things, if that is possible, to come for Dan Patlasnky.
Dan is currently touring SA and the official launch of 20 Stones for KZN is on the 28th of May at The Barnyard Theatre at Gateway. Go get tickets my friends because you need to prepare yourselves to have your mind blown. 20 Stones is available at selected Look and Listen stores, or online at www.danpatlansky.com.
Dan it was an honour to interview you but more so an honour to watch you play. I do believe many musicians could take a note out of your blues books. In fact one friend at the show commented that you could give Santana a run for his money. Now if that is not a legend, then I don’t know what is……
Footnote: A lot of my interview with Dan is not covered in this article because after speaking with him I watched him play, and that is what I feel Dan would have wanted me to talk about.