Radio Kalahari Orkes Releases Mamba!
Radio Kalahari Orkes just launched their new album, Mamba! on 1 March, and their latest music video for their first single, Bobbejaansvlei, premiered a few weeks ago.
Radio Kalahari Orkes (RKO) is a roots music band; revivalists who delve into the past (and around the globe) for inspiration, though the words are generally rooted in the present. They aim for music that starts with your feet, goes through your heart and ends up in your head.
Their new album is their first new, official release in 5 years. I had a quick chat with Ian Roberts to talk about Mamba! and Bobbejaansvlei.
Hi guys, what a pleasure! Thanks for the chat. You just released your new album, MAMBA! What can you tell us about the name? And why the 5-year long wait?
When we were recording the album in the Slangfontein Studios a mamba snake came through the window, we all looked at each other and we all knew that we would name our album Mamba! It has taken as long as it has to record a new album because all our old music is still well received and requested at all our shows and we never really felt any pressure to record a new album. Eventually, we all just decided that maybe we should start recording a new album and so the journey to Mamba! began…
Who worked with you on this album, over what period and where was it created?
The entire band worked on the recording of the album, and wearing the producer hats were Ian Roberts, Dan Roberts and Andre Remesses Scheepers. We purposely didn’t have a theme for Mamba!, the songs are all different with different flavours, styles and languages. If we had to theme the album we would say that the songs are a mirror to society.
You also released a new video for one of the tracks, Bobbejaanvlei – Very cool! What’s the track about and how does the video complement it?
Bobbejaanvlei is a farcical view on relationships and the very common dynamic of men courting woman and the video compliments the song. For the music video we were inspired by the iconic Norman Rockewell’s paintings.
How is it working with legendary Rian Malan, especially on this track?
Rian is talented and it is always an honour working with him, he sent us the track and gave us free reign to play around with it. Ian played around a bit and wrote the third verse for the track and that is how Bobbejaanvlei came about.
You also worked with writer and poet Jaco van der Merwe, from Bittereinder, what did he bring to the album? And can we expect a collaboration between the two groups?
Jaco was the rock star that he is and sent us 2 songs and we then added a bit of our flavor. We would definitely love to work with the group, we are big fans.
What do you hope will people take from this album or, in other words, what do you want to accomplish with it?
We are hoping that people will support us by buying this album and we hope that the songs make you happy, laugh and cry (but not too much).
You are quite a big group, what does band practice or even studio time look like? Does everyone have a say, or is it quite orderly?
Everyone has a say and its always madness when we are together.
It seems as if Afrikaans music is slowly but surely growing on the younger market with artists such as Francois van Coke, Jack Parow, and Arno Carstens and more releasing new Afrikaans albums more and more. Do you agree, and where do you see this “scene” (if I may call it so) go in the future?
We think that it’s great that more of the younger market and other races are embracing this genre and we foresee more of that in the future.
MAMBA! is available at all RADIO KALAHARI ORKES live shows, as well as at selected Musica outlets nationwide.