By Vanessa

This era that we currently find ourselves in, has been drowning in a massive variety of new musical genres so it is always refreshing when an old yet lasting genre filters through all the new sounds we are hearing today and somehow, among all of the noise and all of the chaos, we are able to once again immerse ourselves in a familiar sound. Yet, this familiar sound has been tweaked and polished with fresh vocals, brilliant lyrics and its very own style.

I have just been on YouTube listening to all the Hoot ‘n Anny songs I could find. Hoot ‘n Anny consists of Alouise and Franco Jamneck. Alouise is on vocals and Franco on vocals and guitar. Listening to Franco singing “The Rooster”, I was immediately reminded of Cat Stevens – or better known as Yusuf Islam these days. However, when I say this, I am referring only to his voice, which slides into gentle baritones as he croons away. Alouise joins in with Franco in a harmonious duet. Her voice simply carries you away and urges you to close your eyes and travel with the story they are telling through their song.

I recently discovered a band called “Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes” and I couldn’t help but think that Hoot ‘n Anny sound so much like them – and in all honesty, Alouise’s voice is so beautiful that you cannot compare the two at all. In my opinion, a successful duet should always consist of minimal instruments, a kick-ass female vocalist and baritone male vocals. Hoot ‘n Anny has just that. An excellent dynamic which brings forth their aim: storytelling through music and eclectic sound. It is beautiful.

Naturally, I’ve been spending some time “Facebook stalking” the band and their slogan on their home page caught my eye: “We love what we do and do what we love – come see the show and then you can make up your own mind.” I think that Hoot ‘n Anny would be just fantastic live, so this is one not to be missed.

Franco & Alouise – or Hoot ‘n Anny rather – will be performing in Nelspruit this coming weekend and you can follow them on their Facebook page.

In the meantime, I managed to catch up with them via our infamous “Twenty Questions”:

STM: Hoot & Anny is such a catchy name! Please tell us how you came about it?

H’nA: Hoot ‘n Anny comes from an old Americana term: “A gathering of friends”. We were looking at KIC (Keep It Country) but KIC was already taken.

STM: “We’re starting a band, baby. We’re starting a band!” Where and how did it all begin?

H’nA: Oppikoppi. Franco (not yet my husband at the time) heard me sing along to a song at Oppikoppi. It was a song by Stacey Earl and Mark Stuart ‘Honey it must be love’. From there on with a bit of practice and a few awesome opportunities, we started a band.

STM: How did you guys meet?

H’nA: Well, I met Franco in 2003, but apparently I didn’t make an impression on him back then. Then in 2005 we met at Oppikoppi and started walking.

STM: Who does the songwriting and what do you mostly sing about?

H’nA: We both do the songwriting. We mostly write about love. Story-telling songwriting.

STM: Album plans?

H’nA: Hopefully, later this year we will bring out our second, all original album.

STM: In a perfect world, you’d probably choose to rock full time – do you have daytime jobs?

H’nA: Well, at this stage we have other income. My husband is one of the top 10 sound engineers in SA and I’m working on my arts.

STM: Inspirations? What inspires you to create music? Muses?

H’nA: Our music comes from the heart. Whatever we put on paper is what’s going on in our lives. We were very much inspired by Johnny Cash and June Carter, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, etc.

STM: Explain your style of music.

H’nA: Country folk music.

STM: What are your musical aspirations?

H’nA: To provide for our little boy, through the continuous telling of our story and through music.

STM: Band practice! Very essential! How often does it happen and where?

H’nA: Band practice is more songwriting sessions for us, and we are fortunate to play a lot.

Hoot 'n Anny - photo: Facebook
Hoot ‘n Anny
(photo: Facebook)

STM: Any other hidden talents?

H’nA: Well, Alouise is a visual artist, and Franco is an avid cricket player.

STM: Favourite bands?

(H’nA) Alouise: System of a Down, Tallest Man on Earth, Adel, Eddie Vedder, Black Cat Bones, etc.

(H’nA) Franco: Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, Jonathan Martin Band, George Town, etc.

Then, of course, all the old stuff: Cash, Nelson, Hank Williams, etc.

STM: Where will Hoot & Anny be in 2 years’ time?

H’nA: After the album, to bring out a third and to go play abroad.

STM: How long is your set?

H’nA: Usually we do a 45-minute set, but actually we adapt to the venue’s requirements.

STM: Is there a specific crowd you’re aiming at attracting to your gigs?

H’nA: We cater for people of all ages, who enjoy honest country-folk music.

Alouise and Franco Jamneck aka Hoot 'n Anny (photo: Facebook)
Hoot ‘n Anny
(photo: Facebook)

STM: Any collaborations in the future with other artists?

H’nA: We would love to have the Black Cat Bones as the band for one night. Then obviously we would love to be able to perform with Willie Nelson, Zack Brown, Alison Krause…

STM: Explain the dynamics of getting a band to work and succeed together.

H’nA: Respect, honesty and true camaraderie.

STM: Your ultimate dream gig?

H’nA: This one is difficult. To open for Willie Nelson or a country legend.

STM: Any formal training?

H’nA: Franco has Grade 5 – Unisa and 2 years at Pretoria Music academy.

STM: If you could do anything else but music, what would that be?

Alouise: Architect or artist. Franco wanted to go into bio-kinetics.

Visit Hoot ‘n Anny on Facebook to check out the dates of their gigs while they are visiting the Lowveld, and while you’re at it, check out this awesome music video on YouTube:

Marley is the founder and owner of Small Town Music. Born and bred in Nelspruit aka Nelsparta. Marley loves music (rock being a firm favourite), tattoos, festivals, animals and South Africa. Self-taught photographer and writer.