Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Maggie's 60th Birthday Party - Side B

Maggie's 60th Birthday Party - Side B
14 May 2014

Right, where was I?  Oh yes, the music!  The magical, marvellous, melodious, merrymaking, mellifluous music. 

To be fair, the kids were the first ones to pick up the instruments.  The adults, though starting to slowly wind their way upstairs, were still busy eating and socialising.  Some of the men, huddled around the TV as a big rugby game was being televised.  And when I say the kids, I don’t mean the teenagers.  I mean the little kids.  Three of them, to be exact.  A seven year old, nine year old and an eleven year old.  The eleven year old, Jo, is a pretty awesome little budding guitarists.  The nine year old, is my youngest, Cole – an aspiring drummer.  And the seven year old?  Well, he was mainly for show – wanting to take part, but basically mimicking all of the right actions.  Standing at the microphone, looking very, very cool.  But as for actual singing?  Well, no.  Not so much.

And as is the case when you’ve got a whole bunch of musicians around in any one place, the second someone picks up an instrument, the rest are sure to follow.  But here’s the very surprising fact.  It was an adult’s party.  The party of a sixty year old.  With many, many accomplished musicians on tap.  Just waiting to do their thing.  But not once, did they shoo the little kids away.  Scoot them out or off the instruments.  The adults were chivalrous, respectful of the fact that the kids started playing first, and rather than chasing the kids away, some of them quietly picked up their instruments and joined in.  Giving the kids the honour of leading.  Not telling them what to do.  Not advising them to either pick up the pace or slow it all down.  They simply joined them.  I found it very humbling and extremely precious.  The kids were not belittled.  They were given acknowledgement and encouragement, in a non-patronising way.  That takes both a special kind of skill, and a special kind of person.  And I am so very, very grateful to these generous muso’s, for the boost they gave these kids.

Though there did come a point, where the kids’ time was done, and the big people stepped up.  Albert was sort of the musical maestro, if you like.  Taking to the stage and inviting others on to join him.  And so, for the rest of the evening, the musical landscape changed continuously.  No one person dominated.  Albert played quite a bit.  But not the whole time either.  In total I reckon we had about six different drummers.  A variety of guitar players.  Daya did the harmonica (fondly called the harp) and saxophone, and we even had a percussionist in the house.  The singers changed the whole time.  Almost as frequently as the drummers and guitarists.  There was a continual flow.  Never a silent moment.  Never a wrong chord either.  How do they do that?  Mostly they played songs that everyone knew, as it was a guarantee that the fellow band members would be able to fall in.  But sometimes, they’d have a bit of a huddle and you’d overhear, “Right so we start of in G, then it’s D, E, B and then G again.  Actually just watch me and you’ll see.”  Amazing!  I reckon gigs like this could take months to rehearse.  Or they could simply fall miraculously and perfectly in to place.  Seeming to require hardly any effort at all. 

I loved the generosity of the muso’s.  Nobody dominating or controlling.  Sharing of instruments and ideas.  A very comfortable and relaxed sort of feel to it all.  The audience clapped and they really appreciated the musical splendour that was put on display.

And then, all of a sudden my brother, being the maestro, called up my youngest - Cole.  My nine year old little boy, who has a passion for drumming.  He’s been doing drumming for just over six months.  Going for lessons with a friend of mine’s 12 year old son.  We don’t have a drum kit for Cole.  He uses make shift ice cream tubs and coffee tins at home, barring his once a week lesson, where he gets to play on a real kit.  And so, when he was called up, Cole had not expected this at all.  To be fair, he didn’t even hear Albert in the beginning, because he was doing a bit of acrobatics and gymnastics combined, jumping off the mattresses in the dress up room.  Playing with the other kids.  No rehearsal, no practice, no idea whatsoever.  Yet, when we finally tracked him down, he wound his way to the stage.  Wearing a check dress and a pair of ladies black boots (dress-up fun is pretty irresistible).  Still I thought he showed a fair amount of bravery in getting up there in the first place.  I would imagine that from his perch on the drum stool behind the kit, the 80 or so audience would look pretty daunting.  Everyone was super encouraging.  And then, with very little fanfare or any big discussion, Cole had his very first jam.  Luckily, the song they chose, was a favourite – “I got mine”, by The Black Keys.  A favourite in our home – we’re all huge Black Keys fans.  And so Cole had an idea about the pace and naturally the rest of the band led him too.  Yes, yes – quite obvious I was biased.  But it was magical.  Completely and utterly perfect!  I thought my heart was going to explode.  I would spontaneously combust.  Or at the very least keel over with pride.  If you closed your eyes and didn’t actually watch the band, you would never have guessed that a little kid was doing the drumming.  He wasn’t being flamboyant, but he kept a good steady beat.  For the most part.  And it fit with the song perfectly.

Now here’s the thing – when most kids have their first jam session, it’s normally with fellow spotty faced kids of their own age.  Usually it’s teenagers.  But no, not Cole.  He shared the stage with two of my cousins – Gareth (who has a BMus, performs and gives lessons), and Jacques (who also performs in a band).  These cousins are in their middle to late twenties.  He adores both of them.  Then he also shared the stage with my brother, who has played with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Simple Minds, Vusi Mahlasela, Hugh Masakela, etc.  And the other band member?  Well that would be Willem Moller.  Yes, Willem Moller.  Only one of the most talented musicians in our fair country.  Those of you that watched the fabulous, “Searching for Sugarman” movie would have spotted Willem.  And his lovely wife Tonia too.  On Rodriquez’s first trip to South Africa, Willem and co, were recruited to be the support band for Rodriquez.  Until it became pretty obvious, close to the time, that Rodriquez would be coming to South Africa minus a band.  And would they be willing to fill in for him?  Well, quite predictably they jumped at the opportunity.  Willem is an exceptionally gentle soul.  And he was just so kind to the little budding musicians.

And so the music flowed.  From one song to the next.  From one group of musicians to the next.  Special mention should be made of my cousin, Roxy Lombard.  A little chick, with a really BIG voice.  She has incredible raw natural talent and makes it all seem so easy.  It is always disconcerting seeing her and then hearing her voice.  Can such a little person, really make such a cool awesome sound?  Soulful partly describes it.  Evocative.  Emotive.  Powerful.  A favourite with Roxy, is always, “Summertime”.  A song Roxy and her dad, my uncle Jac often play together.

As the various bands played, the crowd clapped, sang along, swayed, whistled, hooted and hollered.  Absolutely delighted by the incredible music on offer.  At one point, we had 7 Lombard family members sharing the stage – it’s true that two of those are Lombards by marriage, but still.  Another big surprise to me, was when two of my brother-in-law Robin’s daughters took to the stage, accompanied by my cousin Roxy, and an Auld family friend – Ashlin Fenton.  They did a fantastic song together, harmonising incredibly well.  And when that little foursome was done, well Kati Auld took to the stage on her own, accompanied by her ukelele, singing her own composition – The Milkshake Song.  Very funny indeed.

There even came a point, where there was large scaling dancing and jumping around.  Robin in particular, really got the crowd revved up.  some of the girl cousins took my grandfather for a spin.  And my uncle Dan, took my gran for a spin.  So sweet!

And still it did not end.  More and more musicians took to the stage.  Offering us, the lookers on, a once in a lifetime musical gig.  Never seen before.  My mom’s one cousin, Johan, even had a go too.

We eventually called the music to an end way after 1am.  Guests started crashing on mattresses, available beds and on mattresses in their bakkies.  A whole contingent of us left to go and sleep at my brother’s place, on a farm a few minutes out of town.  Predictably once there, we continued chatting away.  We eventually got to bed after 3am.  Ridiculous!  But such fun.

The following morning, we all traipsed back to my mom, where we reminisced about the fabulous party at length.  Took loads of photo’s.  drank coffee, ate breakfast, left over tea time treats, and eventually ate lunch as well!

What a phenomenal, incredible, awesome, wonderful, fantastic party!  Truly memorable. 

I’m just so glad that my mom is not a regular granny – hosting a lady’s luncheon or subdued family gathering to celebrate her birthday.  Music festivals are the best!  Especially if you get to handpick the musicians, have the perfect venue, and all of the other bits fall into place as well.  The memory of this party will linger forever.  Happy day.  Happy night.  Happy music.  Happy people.  Happy Maggie.

Maggie's 60th Birthday Party features a hidden track - to be revealed tomorrow...

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My Cole doing his thing. Sharing the stage with some musical giants. Such a privilege. Suspect he'll mostly only realise this in years to come.

Just check that little face - huge big smile. Having the time of his life. Thought my heart was going to explode! Spontaneous combustion was also a possibility!

Some of Cole's audience - so sweet!

Now this is a treat - Tonia Moller on guitar. Joined by her husband Willem. Two of my cousins, Gareth and Jacques, and Albert on drums. Sweetest of all? The littlest fan, who drew a chair up for herself, and plonked herself right down in the middle of the stage. Not perturbed at all by the very loud music.

3 year old little daughter of my Mom's cousin in red - groupies start so young these days...

Giving it serious stick! Albert, Willem on drums, and cousins Gareth and Jacques.

There was a little bit of a set break. The adults made their way downstairs, to head to the bar, and stretch their legs a bit. Which gave the little kids the gap to take to the instruments again. Here we've got a 3 way drumming thing going on. Love the solitary fan looking on.

Cole and Jo completely on their own - Jo playing and singing.

Willem joined them, and took his queues from them. And little Max made his way to the microphone and pretty much stood there, looking very cool, and not singing much at all.

Kids having an absolute jol! Playing handclap games. "A sailor went to sea-sea-sea, to see what he could see-see-see! And all that he could see-see-see was the bottom of the deep blue sea-sea-sea!"

Now things get interesting as the band begins to grow. Off to the far left, hidden in the back, is Conrad on the keyboard. Jac, Albert, Gustav and Willem on guitar, with Chris Kreef on drums and Rob/Daya on the sax. Sooo cool! This is not an economically viable band. A seven way split on gig fees would be horrendous!

And finally Robin pulls in. Sublime!

This was truly mind blowing. Electrifying!

Lots of banter on the stage between the guys.

I love it when Albert drums! Funny how musicians can jump between instruments. Many of them extremely talented with a variety of them.

Now we've got Tonia on percussion and backing vocals - awesome!

A small three piece - Albert, Willem and Rob. Playing a special song Rob wrote for my Mom. One day, I'll have my own song too.

The enraptured crowd

Absolutely spell bound audience

My fabulous grandparents - Oupa and Ouma. My mom's folks. Both in their 80's. They stayed up until 2am, sitting at the very front, enjoying the music. They even went for a little spin on the dance floor. So sweet!

Everyone was mesmerised
Amazing mix of ages with the crowd, and the music was enjoyed by all

It's a bit of a tradition at every gig that my grandparents attend. My brother plays them Neil Young's, "Harvest Moon". And so beautifully too. Gives me the chills up my spine it is so touching.
My mom, sister and I - they're my very best friends and we chat to each other daily. So extremely fortunate to have best friends built into my family.

And the dancing started. Some of the girl cousins invited Oupa for a spin on the dance floor.

And my Uncle Dan, took my gran for a twirl - so sweet!

Crowd at the front - dancing and bopping away

Very funky - Robin broke out with some Prince tunes which really got the crowd going. As well as some other smoking hot numbers too.


Getting lost in the music

Four family muso's

Such cool vibes being turned out by the mostly family band

An uncle, a brother, a brother-in-law and two cousins. A real family affair. So special!

These boys did so good. Had us all enthralled!

I'd like to present LAAF to you. A Lombard, 2 Aulds and a Fenton. LAAF - you get it? These girls just blew us away. They were amazing!

And then the lovely Kati Auld, treated us to her very own original song. The Milkshake Song. Just love the sound of her ukeleli. So amazing!

Yet another Lombard takes to the stage - my Mom's cousin Johan, with Albert in tow

They were fabulous!

Sooo cool!

A bunch of us slept over at Albert's house - the boys in the kitchen drinking coffee and laughing at some or other very rude joke, told by Dan

My poor brother - don't know how he puts up with it. View from his back garden.

This is about ten steps from his kitchen door - magnificent!

We attempted a proper photo of us three kids with my Mom - but the sun was being particularly unfriendly

Loads of scrunched faces

Eventually this was the best shot - facing away from the sun

Just chilling at Muisnes

Chatting away!

Stoep chatter

Us 3 Loubser kids bought my mom these Babushkas for her birthday. She has a real thing for Babushkas. This was an old one found at an antique shop. And what made it so very special, is the fact that it has 10 nesting dolls. Which perfectly works out for my mom, her three kids and six grandchildren. We named each one as we unpacked it for her. It was very significant and she had a really happy-tears-moment.

The kids are still playing pool and loving it too!

The attic strewn with mattresses. Albert and Kati having a chat.

The kids could just not leave those mattresses alone

Cousin Gareth still playing - having his own moment

Chilling in the kitchen - Kati, Katrine and my lunatic brother Albert. Always been a bit of a clown. A very, very funny guy.

Reminiscing about the awesome party

My mom and her mom - Ouma Helene

The Helene's

Oupa and Ouma with their Loubser grandchildren

4 Moms together on Mother's Day - very, very special

My cousin - Jaco. Such a nice guy. Love him to bits!

Gysie - a very old family friend. He remembers visiting and my mom standing on the stoep with me in her arms, having just come home from the hospital after giving birth.
Posing for a pic with Gysie

More stoep chatter

Still trying to recover from tea treats, supper and breakfast, when we started working our way through lunch!

Lounging about - soaking up the sun

So chilled

Everyone super relaxed!

Honey has been going through a bit of a Princess-and-the-pea phase. Made a huge big mattress stack, put a pea at the very bottom, lay on the top and claimed that she could feel it. Obviously!

Katrine and I - love my sister sooooo much!

Maggie's Party Invites

1 comment:

  1. Oh my hat, my very very special gal!
    What a lot of trouble you have taken again!
    You are a most amazing unselfish lady, my sweetheart!
    Thanks for the unusual and time-consuming gifts......this blog not the least of them.
    I appreciate it immensely.