Afrikaans folk musician Hanru Niemand unveils new album, Opgrawings vir n Lugkasteel 

Photo Credits: Dee Lou

 

 

Hanru Niemand is a versatile Afrikaans singer-songwriter who hails from the Boland, where he also practices as a psychologist by day. As musician he has quietly made a name for himself among music aficionados since 2003, and these days he boasts a cult following throughout South Africa. Some of his work has also been translated in Finnish and Russian for the enjoyment of audiences abroad.  

Up until now, three of Hanru’s albums have seen the light of day: ‘Tot Stilte’ (2006), ‘Roepwoorde’ (2010) and ‘Kreeftegang‘ (2016). This winter he extends his oeuvre with the addition of a brand-new album, entitled ‘Opgrawings vir ʼn Lugkasteel’ (2020). The title loosely translates to ‘excavations of an air castle’ (‘air castle’ is a term used for ‘pipe dream‘ in Afrikaans). 

The album was produced by the talented and wholly enigmatic Riku Lätti under his music label, Die Wasgoedlyn Musiek. Final mixing and mastering was done by Willem Möller, an equally impressive musician who toured as Meneer Volume during the famous Voëlvry tour and works as a copywriter and music arranger in the Mother City these days. 

“The album is partly retrospective, like an archaeologist doing excavations on an ancient city. The excavation process is however also related to a post mortem that looks at how things went wrong and how decay has taken hold,” Hanru explains. 

Like a good old mix tape, ‘Opgrawings vir ʼn Lugkasteel’ has an A Side and a B side. 

“The A Side (Voetstoots) contains songs that I perform live quite regularly. The idea was to record the music in a way that’s true to my live sound. As such, the guitar and vocals were recorded simultaneously, contrary to the current approach, which calls for tracks to be recorded separately and layered together afterwards. Some of these tunes have been recorded on previous albums, but I wanted to lay down versions thereof that capture my live performance sound – solo, just me, my guitar and my harmonica,” says Hanru. 

The songs that were recorded in this way are ‘Kreeftegang Wals’‘Avis Tannie’‘Gert Vlok Nel’, ‘Land van Kaïn’‘Worcester Woorde’, and ‘Verlange’. Hanru’s loyal fans will recognise these songs as those that are requested by audiences on a regular basis.  

“The B Side (Ruïnes) brings something completely different to the table. It contains four brand-new tracks – ‘Freaky Joe’, ‘Morsige Momsen’, ‘Tiran’, en ‘Die prinses se lied’. Each of these songs are centred around a protagonist who finds themselves in some sort of trouble. Here I play alongside a series of wonderful musicians who each bring a special dimension to the music,” Hanru enthuses. 

The musicians who perform with Hanru on the B side of the album are Wilken Calitz on violin, Riku Lätti on piano, Mark Ellis on base, Jean Marais on drums and Jacobus Grimm on backing vocals. The cover art for ‘Opgrawings vir ʼn Lugkasteel’ is an original painting by Evert Esterhuizen that was digitally arranged by graphic designer Corli Sadie.

 

Listen to ‘Opgrawings vir ʼn Lugkasteel’ HERE

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