Piet Botha Biography Updated

Piet Botha, was born in 1955 and shares his birth date of 18th July with Nelson Mandela. He began writing songs and forming bands while still at school and his first professional gig was as an acoustic duo in 1974 at a local drinking hole in Pretoria.

Piet Botha is the son of the former South African Minister of Foreign Affairs Pik Botha (not to be confused with P.W. Botha). Pik Botha who served during the last years of the apartheid era was considered to be a liberal, at least in comparison to others in the ruling National Party and among the Afrikaner community at the time.

From 1981 to 1983 Piet Botha was involved with Wildebeest which was one of the first bands to mix rock music with Afrikaans lyrics and recorded ‘Bossies’, a song about the South African / Angolan Border War, which was very much a no-no during those Apartheid times.

In 1984 he co-founded the Blues Rock group Jack Hammer which is more than just a band, it is a collective of musicians that has somehow survived the strange machinery that is the South African music industry and produced some sterling original albums over the years. Since their first performance the one constant factor in the band has been the man affectionately known as “Hammer”, Piet Botha.

During 1985, Piet Botha lived in Los Angeles, working construction, and other immigrant jobs by day, and writing and recording by night.

During the 1990’s Jack Hammer opened for Deep Purple and Uriah Heep on their “Masters of Rock” tour and were also privileged to be the supporting act for ZZ Top (one of Botha’s prime influences) on their South African tour.

During 1997 Botha was asked to write and record an Afrikaans album. The result was the all-Afrikaans ‘Suitcase Vol Winter’ album, which is considered a classic by many and a superb example of the groundbreaking Alternative Afrikaans genre.

In August 2003, another Afrikaans album, ‘Die Mamba’, was released and received much critical acclaim, including being voted the best album of 2003 by the influential SA Rock Digest e-mag.

Botha was one of the first musicians inducted into the SA Rock Hall Of Fame in January 2002.

In February 2005 a “Tribute To Piet Botha” gig was held in Pretoria to celebrate the music and life of Piet Botha. This whole day event included performances by many South African artists, all paying tribute to the influence, friendship and mentorship of this humble musician.

On the 6th May 2006 Piet Botha was awarded a South African Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to South African music. He was also awarded a Prestige Award by the FAK in September 2006 for his contribution to the Afrikaans language.

In 2011 Botha appeared in the television series “Wie Lê Waar” (Who Lies Where) on the Afrikaans TV channel kykNET. In the programme he visits the graves of famous Afrikaner icons and tells about their lives. The series led indirectly to the recording and release of the very popular “Spookpsalms”, Botha’s first solo album in 8 years.

In 2012 Piet cemented his over two decades of friendship and brotherhood with the Akkedis band, by releasing a collaborative album under the name “The Lyzyrd Kyngs”. The name comes from a Jim Morrison poem, “The celebration of the Lizard King”. The weird spelling is a combination of ancient English and a serious reference to Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that has been a source of inspiration for more than thirty years.

Piet Botha still tours and plays often. Sometimes solo or as duo, sometimes with Jack Hammer or The Lyzyrd Kyngs. He plays not only because his fans love to see him, but as John Lee Hooker sang  ”it’s in him and it got to come out”.

by Brian Currin, October 2012

Persverklaring: Spookpsalms …’n nuwe Afrikaanse album deur Piet Botha.

Spookpsalms

Spookpsalms

Na 8 jaar het die veteraan kunstenaar Piet Botha weer ‘n Afrikaanse album die lig laat sien.Die nuwe cd heet “Spookpsalms” en bevat 11 splinternuwe komposisies.

“Daar was al ‘n paar liedjies maar toe die TV program “Wie lê waar” opduik het dit die hele album in ‘n ander rigting gestuur.Vanaf September tot Desember 2010 was ons op die pad besig met die verfilming, dwarsdeur die
land en omdat die program so ‘n sterk historiese inslag het, het daar ‘n ander element ingetree in die werk nl. ‘n tipe tradisionele , tydlose gevoel…wat dan weer aanleiding gegee het na die idee van die Spookorkes wat hierdie liedjies
opvoer .”

Daar is ook gepoog om soveel as moontlik by tradisionele instrumentasie te bly. Derhalwe is die album vol akoestiese kitare, klavier , mondfluitjie, trekklavier, saksofoon en orrel. Dit is ‘n eiesoortige stuk werk, heeltemal buite
die moderne genre en totaal anders as Botha se vorige Afrikaanse albums.

“Die moeilikste ding is sekerlik om met eenvoud ‘n gewigtige saak te kan oordra, en dis wat hier gepoog is. Selfs die humor wat opduik is satiries en laat mens lag maar met nabetragting.”

Die album is in April opgeneem deur Lanie vd Walt wat ook die regie en meng behartig het asook die “double -bass” gespeel het. Die tromme is oudergewoonte deur Paul vd Waal gespeel en die baskitaar deur Tertius du
Plessis. Piet Botha het kitare, klavier, orrel en mondfluitjie gespeel en gesing.

Die pragtige vrouestem is deur Loandi Boersma gelewer. Verder was dit
geweldig opwindend om uiteindelik vir die legende Ollie Viljoen saam op ‘n
album te hê , op trekklavier en orrel. Nog ‘n ou vriend en eertydse lid van die Jack Hammer groep, Leon van Zweel het die saksofoon laat huil. Donovan Borne het agtergrondsang gelewer en so het die Spookorkes die liedjies in die
lewe gebring.

Wat opvallend is van hierdie werk is die suiwer Afrikaans wat gebruik word.

Daarbenewens die gevoel van “n ander tyd”, as mens dit so kan stel, wat
mens ervaar met die deurluister daarvan. En dan die oorspronklikheid.

Piet Botha sal tydens Meimaand ‘n paar vertonings rondom Pretoria gee waartydens die nuwe werk lewendig gehoor kan word en die album beskikbaar sal wees, soos by Cafè Barcelona op Saterdag die 21e en Sondagmiddag die 22e by die Blue Flame Grill in Montana, alvorens daar weer teen einde Mei na Mosambiek gegaan sal word vir die jaarlikse STRAB musiekfees. Hierna sal daar ook vertonings in die Kaap geskied asook in die Vrystaat in Juliemaand tydens die Volksbladkunstefees.

Van die musiek op “Spookpsalms” is ook in die TV reeks (“Wie lê waar”) gebruik maar nie in geheel soos dit op die album verskyn nie. Hierdie opnames is deur Riku Latti gedoen.

Van die nuwe nommers wat klaar aftrek kry by gehore is “Bitterfontein”. “Sysie September” (‘n nuwe verwerking van ‘n tradisionele Griekwa liedjie), “Stad sonder naam”, “Die heks is dood” en “Richmondstraat”.

http://pietbotha.com