On the 8th of April 2015 grave reports of xenophobia, the Eskom power crisis and protesters chaining themselves to the Paul Kruger statue in Pretoria made the headlines in South Africa, but amidst this chaos, something great happened on that day…
Francois van Coke and Karen Zoid released arguably the most beautiful ballad of the year, “Toe Vind Ek Jou”. This song instantly captured thousands of hearts all over the country, switching on a light in the dark. Yes folks, Eskom’s loadshedding couldn’t prevent that from happening. Who says music isn’t powerful?
Last week the music video for “Toe Vind Ek Jou” reached well over 500,000 views in little over a month. Francois believes that the success of this song lies in its openhearted honesty (and I think he is spot on). With the release of his self-titled debut solo album, Francois bravely embarked on a new journey and it’s paying off.
According to the Kia Top 40 SA with iTunes show (which is broadcast on Saturdays on 947 and KFM), “Toe Vind Ek Jou” is the first South African release to hit the Number 1 spot this year and the first ever Afrikaans Number 1. This show is based solely on the live Top 40 songs chart on the South Africa iTunes Store.
A month after the release, the album and single was at the Number 2 position on the 8th of May and is still in the Top 10. This single and album still dominates radio charts across the country and the SA Top 20 top sellers chart, where the album has been on the Top 10 for four weeks.
The album has received great reviews on various websites (including Running Wolf’s Rant):
“The work as a whole is as potent as always, and you could easily lose yourself in the simple beauty of the lyrics alone.” Texx and the City
“This album sets a new benchmark for Afrikaans rock ‘n roll.” Vicky Jankiewicz, SA Music Scene
“Francois’ voice has become the soundtrack to a generation – this solo album is representative of the age of maturity.” Wayde Flowerday (So Much Music)
Van Coke’s shows with his live band, Jedd Kossew (Van Coke Kartel) on lead guitar, Richard Onraet (Jesse Clegg) on rhythm guitar, Rudolph Willemse on bass and keyboard and Sheldon Yoko (Die Heuwels Fantasties) on drums, have been a raging success. The last album launch show at Ridgeback Village in Centurion burst out of its seams with a double over-capacity attendance.
I was lucky enough to be at that show and two other shows on his solo album tour (at Arcade Empire and the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria) and let me tell you that it was amazing to see so many people showing up to support him. It seems that everybody wants to share a piece of the Francois van Coke live experience. Whoever is saying that SA Music is dead should really have their heads examined, because this is definitely proof that it’s not.
Francois van Coke and his live band have been confirmed to play at Oppikoppi later this year. Before this he is off to Amsterdam and then London for a couple of shows in June and he’ll play some hot blooded rock ‘n roll shows with Karen Zoid in July. Francois will undertake a tour in October with his full band again. The first stop on Francois’ European trip, will be at one of the most popular alternative music venues and nightclubs in Amsterdam, Paradiso, on the 13th of June.
While in Amsterdam, Francois will shoot his second music video, “Behoort Aan Niemand Nie” (the first track on his solo album), with his long-time friend, Johan Nel (who is responsible for several of Fokofpolisiekar music videos). Three more music videos will be released before the end of this year. Francois and Jedd Kossew will play two shows in London. He will perform at Orange Bull on the 19th and at Zulu Bull on the 20th of June.
Karen Zoid and Francois van Coke will perform together at Artscape, Cape Town on the 12th of July and at the Atterbury Theatre on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of July. The Atterbury shows were sold-out in record time and Artscape tickets will go on sale from Computicket on the 1st of June.
Today Karen Zoid was also confirmed for Oppikoppi this year and I’m thinking that we can most likely expect a live version of “Toe Vind Ek Jou” at South Africa’s premium music festival. What more can a music fan ask for?
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.