Magic on a Tuesday with Pertunia Msani

Something’s happening in Pmb

and no one seems to know…

Every second Tuesday there is this little event called “Music on a Tuesday” that happens in The Dive at the Hexagon Theatre at UKZN. But here’s the kicker: It is a rare occurrence for the audience to outnumber the artists.

Growing up I watched a lot of movies and shows that featured or revolved around cool little dive bars, live music venues, clubs, all kind of on the edge of society, breaking norms, providing space for people to let loose and have some fun. I used to wish we had places like that in PMB.

Enter Pertunia.

She’s a tiny powerhouse of sound. She is something utterly unique while still managing to remind me of Ella Fitzgerald, Lisa Gerard (especially her work in Dead Can Dance), Zolani Mahola of Freshly Ground and Hannah Reid of London Grammar. If you’ve ever heard Pertunia before, you’ll be well aware of how she’s probably spent a past life drawing in sailors with her songs to smash their ships on the rocks.

Music on a Tuesday is Pertunia’s baby and she’s been pulling in local artists to perform at The Dive for the past year. When it was still a fledgling, she asked me if I would come and watch and write a little something about it. I attended, I enjoyed, but – maybe through my own apathy or perhaps the overwhelming circumstances around my own life at the time – I didn’t write. I’ve felt pretty much like a tool every time I think about it.

The Hex asked if I could work Front of House for Music on a Tuesday on the 6th of Feb, and I, always in need of work, said yes! I sat at the counter outside The Dive and listened to a show that was even better than the show I had enjoyed almost a year before. It was something else. What makes me incredibly sad is that the assembled artists had one paying audience member. One. One cover payment of R30. Well, they gave that woman a show to remember. I made a note that I – especially as a musician myself – should be coming to watch these shows and should be promoting this event as much as is in my power to do.

In 2018, Music on a Tuesday is stretching its wings as a bi-monthly event, taking place twice a month possibly in the hopes that having it more often might garner more attention from the surrounding students. So off I went on the 20th of February, armed with my phone and my cash for the bar. I arrived just in time, grabbing a drink just as the show began. The premise of Music on a Tuesday is an (approximately) hour long show featuring up and coming artists in whatever capacity they perform in, from singing and rap to poetry. Pertunia and her accompanist, Jeffrey, always open and close the show, and each artist is limited to performing three items (unless ferociously hounded to perform another).

I’d originally written a whole long schpiel about the entire event but, quite frankly, these video highlights make words entirely unnecessary.

After watching a show like this, (featuring the biggest audience they’d had to date and still maybe only a third of the venue was full), I ask myself – where is everyone? Where are all the people who talk about supporting local? Where are all the people who proclaim to love live music? WHERE IS EVERYONE?

This is one of those events, those things that should grow in popularity to where there are people standing along the walls because it’s so packed inside. The place should be a fire hazard. The performers should never be in danger of outnumbering the audience with music like this. For as long as I can remember, Pietermaritzburg has been filled with people complaining that there’s nothing to do (I, admittedly, being one of them from time to time).

Well here you go. At R30 entry it’s cheaper than a movie, it’s live, the bar is reasonably priced and it’ll leave you feeling like you’re part of a super cool underground club scene.

The next Music on a Tuesday is on the 6th of March, and if you’d like to keep tabs on the comings and goings you can follow it on Instagram and Facebook.

See you next Tuesday.

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The Magical Mystery Tour!

This is why I haven’t written.

And this is all I have time to write right now.

Come watch Show!!!

21st August to 25th August 2012!

Be there or be a non-predetermined shape because there is too much discrimination against squares!

Peace out peeps!

So what HAS been happening?

Needless to say, it’s been a while since my last post. There are some questions that have been thrown to me on Facebook, most notably the decidedly frightening:

“When is your CD coming out?”

To answer this question straight off the bat, I don’t know. Please don’t be angry with me. It’s not that I am deliberately being obtuse, I honestly don’t know. How can I explain this… okay, let’s try this.

Imagine you are a person. More specifically, a person who LOVES pink.

Now imagine that pink is what people think you are. Because, technically, at the moment it is. For YEAAAAAAAAAAARS, all you are and all you want to be is pink. You’ve dabbled in purples and reds here and there but ultimately you’ve always come back to pink.

You’re about to repaint and you look around and suddenly think “I don’t know if I want all this pink. I wonder if I should consider those red and purples again…maybe a bit of green, some yellows even…”

And suddenly this whole UNIVERSE of colours OPENS out in front of you and it suddenlybecomesSOHARD

TOFOCUSBECAUSEYOUJUSTWANTTOTRYEVERYTINYSINGLECOLOURINTHE

WORLDWBUTALLATONCETOTHEPOINTWHEREYOUMIGHTJUST …explode.

With sheer awesomeness.

And it becomes very overwhelming.

What I’m getting at here, to put it in a slightly more realistic and accurate context, is that most of my musical life I have done acoustic folky kind of stuff. So much of it that it seems to be what my music is defined as. Have your heard my original music? I don’t have a lot but it is there. You want to hear it? Go here.

The worst part is I probably have about an albums worth of songs. I don’t like  lot of them any more. I still like some of them, mostly the ones I have on the Myspace page. But I don’t feel connected to a lot of them any more. I got to a point where I stopped writing because I felt like I had nothing to write about any more. The last time I wrote a song that actually came to completion was, I think, the end of 2008. It’s been a very long time and I am trying to break it. I am working on it, unfortunately you have to take my word for it here. I have nothing to show you…yet. But I do, however, have a plan. It is a simple, small plan which is why it SHOULD work.

I have been thinking about how to do this CD for a while but over the weekend, an amazing musician who I have the privilege of knowing, basically said (this is isn’t even paraphrased, it’s completely reworded with the the gist of what he said) don’t try and make a full length album. Make a few demo’s. Put work into a few songs and make them brilliant rather than trying to hammer out a 14 song album where the pressure to finish it will make it mediocre. Thank you Jonathan Handley. You are a wise, wise man. And you have the coolest dress style. Just saying.

So this is the plan: By December this year, I hope to produce a 4 – 6 track CD of original music. Before you get too excited, it will not be available from your major music retailers etc because I most certainly do not have THAT kind of pull. It will be available at gigs and if I am astute I will set up some kind of ordering scheme if you so desire.

But why only December? There are several reasons for this.

  1. I’ve barely begun to work on the material. This is key. Imagine 6 tracks of silence.
  2. I’m financing this myself, I need to do as my budget allows me.
  3. I have other stuff I’m doing to, like work, gigs AND (I’m very excited about this) the musical production at the Hexagon Theatre, “The Beatle Show”. YAY! I’ve been in several Hex productions and as much as I love music I LOVE drama. So, imagine drama and music together? YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!

Someone I was once close to, told me that I’d have to grow up and choose between music and drama. The chance to do this show with the Hex has reminded me that I don’t have to do any such thing. And possibly it was one of the reasons why I didn’t do as well as I could have last year, because I tried to ignore the Drama of music.

Here is a random picture to break up all the words:

Music and Drama are so deeply intertwined, how could you ever separate them? The reason we love music so much is because it evokes emotions, taps into our cores, our souls and, basically, bleeds them dry. And drama does the same. Every TV Show, Film, Play, animation, has some corresponding soundtrack to better entrench the emotions the story is trying to evoke.  I know I’m just rambling now but it feels important. I think that what I may be trying to get at is that I will NOT choose between the things I love again. I love music, drama, books, art and a whole bunch of other shit too. And I am not giving any of it up.

A couple of people have asked me if I wasn’t offered any recording contracts. Well, as you may or may not know, Universal had first option on everyone in the top 10. From what I understand they used that option with both Mark and Lefa. The rest of us, well, we’re not what they’re looking for. Over December I went to Jo’burg to do a Charity Concert for the disabled. It was meant to be televised but stuff happened. Toughies! Anyway, the people who organised it basically decided to start their own studio. And so, Stone Studios came into being. They did offer me a contract. Initially I said yes, but with further thought and consideration, it wasn’t right for me just then. In time I may ask them if they are still interested but until I know what the hell I’m doing, I’m on my own.

In addition to the mini-album, I’ve begun work on a script. That’s right! I’m going to make an amateur film! And it’ll probably be terrible! But that’s okay, as long as I do it. Oh yes, I’ve also done a teaching post at my old High School and a few other local things. Y’all should visit my town. It’s not the biggest or the best, but we’ve got some pretty cool stuff:)

So what have I been doing with myself since Idols ended? Not a hell of a lot, but I have been thinking. A HELL OF A LOT. Thinking’s done now. Action begins.

In the meantime, you want to catch me live? Check out these dates! No gigs during July and August for Beatleshow Rehearsals