A Bittersweet Symphony
- Bittersweet Symphony
Oppikoppi Sweet Thing. 2012.
- I hear different styles of music. I see different kinds of people. A wide spectrum of race, culture & ages. 20 000 more or less. A remarkable gathering, willing to travel far, freeze at night, melt by day, lose sleep and breathe dust. Mild injuries & post oppikoppi flu is common. Running water, showers and toilets become luxuries. A makeshift colony straight out of Mad Max II. Unlike Mad Max II this post apocalyptic desert is also wonderful.
- Experiencing great music is the gravitational pull, yes. Maybe a brief escape in a cocoon of intoxication. Sometimes both. But I believe there is more to it. [Locally and globally], We crave wisdom & authenticity... role models & leaders. We look to the pedestals of media, parliament & celebrity. In recent times, it seems these sources can only speculate and talk, many times only drain...
- Oppikoppi becomes a microcosm. Its denizens are aware of this, consciously or subconsciously. We are looking for something intangible. Where's this decade's JFK, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Emily Hobhouse, Martin Luther King, Jan Smuts, Albert Einstein? Leaders with insight, balance, idealism, realism and passion. A passion few will ever grasp...
- Musicians possess such a passion. Perhaps eyes and expectations, more than ever, rest on them to fill this "gap". Many of them certainly have great insights and power to influence. New generations are looking for new voices & identity. It was clearly illustrated on the festival's second night, when Fokofpolisiekar pulled thousands of people into cadence. Song by song, word for word. Francois van Coke (with the help of Hunter Kennedy & band) surely has become the voice of a generation.
- Whilst watching Valiant Swart & Vusi Mahlasela, I imagined an alternate universe where they were "the president". Actually, it must be quite a terrible task and they'd never get to play music. Nonetheless, their music have merged with politics in recent years. Valiant was part of the "Voëlvry Beweging" (formed by alternative Afrikaans musicians in the 80's to install democracy in South Africa). Vusi is known for African folk songs about struggle, freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation.
- "If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." JFK
"I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself." Nelson Mandela
"If you are bitter you are like a dry leaf that you can squash and you can blow away by the wind. There is much more wisdom in forgiveness." Vusi Mahlasela
"As jy haat tussen die lyne hoor dan luister jy nie reg nie
Dis ‘n stryd vir identiteit, nie ‘n letterlike geveg nie
Ek praat van harte wat foute en mislukkings kan insluk
En selfs as die einde bitter lyk, gaan ek omdraai of deurdruk?" Bittereinder
- For more pictures & things click here