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Deuriemikke 2009 shows Player 23 message in action

That long-awaited sense of spring hit me like a bass drum on the N4 as I headed into Hatfield, Pretoria. From the highway, I caught my first glimpse of the annual Jacaranda 94.2 Deuriemikke Karnaval and the swelling crowd on Tukkies' LC de Villiers sports grounds.

Just after 2.30pm on Saturday, 29 August 2009, I pulled in to park at which was to be my first time large-scale Afrikaans music event, with very little preconceived ideas or notions. What I certainly did not expect, though, was the enormity of the crowd and the incredible support Afrikaans music has in this country.

Fans of all ages

Deuriemikke 2009 shows Player 23 message in action

Since 11am, fans from all ages had been turning up in support of their favourite musical performers. Multicoloured wigs, mad hats and fancy face-paint decorated the droves - it was almost like looking through a kaleidoscope or being at the circus, especially with the smell of spookasem and mini-doughnuts in the air.

Sixteen-year old songstress Axene, Chiba Fly and Andra had already warmed up the crowd, as well as idols winners Sasha Lee and Jason Hartman.

I approached the front just as Dozi's first chord of "Tussen Jou" transformed the crowd into a single pulsating entity, and I was swept up in the action. The dust and blaring hot sun had no negative effect on the people's elation.

The sound was well-balanced - voices were crisp enough for the audience to experience every word, while bass instruments emitted enough vibration to keep bodies bouncing.

Smooth and entertaining transition

Dozi's set came to an end just past 4pm, and Jacaranda's Maurice Carpede ensured a smooth and entertaining transition to music veteran Koos Kombuis' solo appearance. With a bottle of Beyerskloof Pinotage handy, Koos sat on a barstool in the centre of the stage with his trusty acoustic guitar on his knee, and began to play. From the tender tones of his epic ballad "Lisa se Klavier" to his zany sing-along "Johnny is Nie Dood Nie", Koos took his audience on an emotional journey.

Deuriemikke 2009 shows Player 23 message in action

After performing a merry rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", he handed over the spotlight to Karen Zoid and her band. In a pair of funky black and red striped pants, Karen rocked the crowd with her mesmerising melodies wrapped around words that were political, honest, and poetic. Before playing her final song, she thanked the crowd and told them how beautiful they appeared to her.

Upon entering the stage, Lianie May walked straight to the edge of the stage with arms outstreched and thanked everyone for turning up - a sentiment she reiterated many times during her performance. She sang a few of her more popular hits, including "Jy Soen My Nie Meer Nie", accompanied by guitarist Ricus Nel.

Added visual appeal

Deuriemikke 2009 shows Player 23 message in action

In the new darkness, stage lights began to cast vibrant colours on the performers and smoke effects further added visual appeal.

Bok van Blerk played a few of his hits including "Die Bok Bler", and shared some humourous anecdotes with the now largely adult audience. He finished off with "De La Rey" just after 7pm.

Chris and the Chameleons put on a unique performance as usual, using unconventional and experimental sounds and instruments to entertain the crowd.

Theuns Jordaan further inspired the spectators who were moved physically and emotionally by his deep and resonating voice and presence.

Opening with "Afrika Sonsak" Robbie Wessels played a few slower songs from his brand new album of the same name which explores themes of longing, self-discovery, acceptance and rebirth. Picking up the pace with his popular "Leeuloop" and hilarious "Speedos en Crocs", Robbie held the microphone to the crowd during some of the more well-known lyrics which had the audience cheering, laughing and whistling right to the end of his set.

The remaining performer of the Deuriemikke line-up, Kurt Darren, took his turn and filled the air with his familiar foot-tapping tunes, while his fans showed their appreciation by singing his words right back at him.

Before calling it a night, many of the bigger names re-emerged, in turn, for one last chance to connect with the crowd that evening, and thanked them once again for their presence. By the end of the event it was not only the sheer number of the fans that surprised me, but the true sincerity with which the performers valued, honoured and admired their fans.

Deuriemikke 2009 shows Player 23 message in action

Robbie's closing contribution, "Player 23" , presented a perfect analogy for the symbiotic relationship that should exist between the two parties. The song, which also forms the basis of Vodacom's Super 14 current advertising campaign, sends the message that without the support and backing of the sports fan, the rugby team would not thrive. Player 23 - the fan - should be considered an unofficial member of the team and honoured and revered for his devotion.

It was evident from each of the artists' interaction with and the exciting of the crowd that this message is one generally understood and carried out by Afrikaans entertainers.

It was well over 11pm when the Karnaval crowd slowly made their way back to the parking lot exhausted, dusty and sunburnt - but very happy and fulfilled. Thanks, Jacaranda!

www.deuriemikke.co.za

Photographs by Schalk Groenewald www.pawz.co.za

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About Ilva Pieterse

Ilva Pieterse has been involved in the media industry for over 13 years. During this time, she has written for and been involved in many online and print publications across a wide variety of industries, but mainly focusing on the IT sector. Examples of her creative work can be found at www.consciencefiction.com

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