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Not to be confused with the Swiss municipality called Beatenberg, is a South African band which is challenging the confines of South African music. They categorize themselves as a pop band, yet their music seems to stretch beyond what one expects from pop musicians. There is an honesty and calm sincerity in their music, a quality which is difficult to come by in any musical style nowadays.
The band consists of lead singer and guitarist Matthew Field, drummer Robin Brink, and Ross Dorkin on bass guitar. The songs they perform are written by Field. The band recently opened for The Tallest Man on Earth‘s concert at the Cape Town International Convention Center. This gave Toonari Post a chance to catch up with them after the show and find out what they’re really about.
Beatenberg’s music has a very unique sound. It is not completely African, but not completely pop either. It seems to be more a mixture of the two. So getting right down to it, they were asked where exactly this sound comes from. Field explained that they were all educated on typical Western instruments as they were growing up in South Africa – instruments such as the guitar and drum kit. He recently returned from Boston, USA, where he studied at the Berklee College of Music.
The sudden culture shock of being in America, he says, made him more aware of his African roots. It gave him a desire, or ‘agenda’, to represent South African music. Coming back to South Africa, he incorporated these ideas into the band’s sound – already influenced by jazz and classical styles – to create their unique sort-of-African sound.
Their music, just like their personalities, is subtle and atmospheric. When asked which musicians inspire them, drummer Robin Brink claims “The Police” without a moment’s hesitation. This does not come as a surprise. As Field explained, their sound and aesthetic makes it difficult for them to fit into the usual categories such as ‘rock’ and ‘pop’.
The Police seems to rise above any such categories, producing music that is memorable and unique. The band was in agreement as to the influence of jazz on their music. And they were adamant that rock had no influence on their sound whatsoever. If anything, they described themselves as ‘anti-rock’.
When asked why they think they were chosen as the opening band for The Tallest Man on Earth, they all agreed that their sound played a vital role. The Tallest Man on Earth’s music was not intended to get the crowd jumping or dancing to the beat. The music he made was relatively slow and emotional. Beatenberg’s laid-back yet African sound seemed to match The Tallest Man on Earth’s South African concert perfectly.
This opening act sincerely impressed with their performance at the Cape Town International Convention Center. Beatenberg’s desire is to go international. With performances of such a high quality, they might just achieve this dream.
Main Image Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/Beatenberg