By Marley

You either love Francois van Coke’s music or think he is just another umlungu that sings in his mother tongue. If you are an MK generation teenager you’ll remember the first time you ever heard of Fokofpolisiekar and went to see their shows despite your mom burning their CD’s for being labelled “duiwel se musiek” (devil’s music). But 2003, when FOPK started, to now is almost 16 years later. Francois van Coke has managed to lay his own unique fingerprint on the South African music scene with his raspy voice, honest lyrics and just being the general nice rock star.

On 15 September 2018 AMP Events is proud to host the “Francois van Coke en Vriende” show at the beautiful Time Square arena at Menlyn Casino in Pretoria. This beautiful venue in its short life thus far has seen a host of international acts like Live (which was sold out), Bryan Adams, Miles Kennedy and more. This show of Francois is one of a kind, that will include a wide range of artists that you never thought of or if you are a follower of the “Belville Boys Club” will recognise each of them. Including in the line up is Fokofpolisiekar (of course), Van Coke Kartel (which retired in 2017), Die Heuwels Fantasties, our own Black Sails (TV Programme) pirate Laudo Liebenberg of aKING, the cool PE born Early B, the ever smooth Majozi, the first lady of SA rock Karen Zoid, he had bubblegum on his boots Arno Carstens and “Ek bring die jol” Jack Parow. But to top the whole crown you have Coenie de Villiers, yes you read right. But he is no stranger really, he, after all, has recorded with both Die Heuwels Fantasties and Francois van Coke. In fact, he and Francois recorded a cover from the song “Hillbrow” which was performed by the late Johannes Kerkorrel.

Small Town Music had the opportunity (and the honour) to chat to Francois building up to the show on 15 September;

STM: Francois van Coke en Vriende has an amazing lineup. Where did the concept of the show come about?

FVC: A couple of years ago some Pretoria friends of mine came up with the idea of me doing a show with all my collaborators. It didn’t happen at the time, but at the beginning of this year, I told my manager, Wynand Myburgh, that would still like to do something similar. Andy Mac from AMP Events came on board and booked the venue and we started booking all the artists. The show has an amazing line-up, yes! I feel very lucky that I can call all of these people friends and that I have been involved in writing songs with all of them.

STM: Who chose the artists that are in the lineup? Besides FOPK and Van Coke Kartel being bands you were the vocalists of?

FVC: The artists are all friends and collaborators, I just asked them to join me for the party.

STM: Coenie de Villiers is more known for his classical sound, how about did you come to work with Coenie and how is it to work with him?

FVC: Coenie worked with my friends, Die Heuwels Fantasties, a couple of years ago and also officiated Hunter Kennedy’s wedding. kykNET put the two of us together for a special event to play “Hillbrow” by Johannes Kerkorrel and it was great working together. Coenie then asked me if I would record the song with him for his album and I was obviously super keen. It is one of my favourite songs of all time and Coenie played it with Johannes Kerkorrel back in the day. It was a special thing to record together.

STM: In anticipation of the show on 15 September, you released an EP with some of the artists that will appear at the show. How did the collabs come about and how did the songwriting take place? Did you write it together?

FVC: Yeah, all 4 of them worked differently. ‘Ek lewe, ek belowe’ was a track leftover from my previous album sessions, at the time I found it to quirky to put on the album, but I played the track to Pierre (Greeff lead vocalist of DHF) and he really liked it. So, I was amped to do it with Die Heuwels. We worked on the song a bit, changed a couple of things and Hunter added some lyrics.

‘Altyd life vir jou’ was an Early B track, that he wanted me to feature on. I loved his raps but was not so keen on the music. Richard, one of Die Gevaar guitarists, wrote new music for it and I rewrote the chorus. We presented the song to Early B like that and he loved it. I loved it so much that I asked him if I can put it on my EP instead of his album. 

‘Spaar my asseblief’ was written by me and my old choms Laudo Liebenberg and Jedd Kossew. I have had the ‘Moenie bang wees nie’ chorus in my head for a while. Me, Jedd, Hunter and Fred created the music. I wrote my lyrical parts and we got Parow to add his raps in the studio.

STM: Early B is also an established rapper but yet not a lot of people have heard of him. How will you describe him and his music?

FVC: He is an Afrikaans rapper. He is great and very musical and is also a great guy.

Francois van Coke
(photo by Andre Badenhorst)
Francois van Coke
(photo by Andre Badenhorst)

STM: Thus far you have toured the whole of South Africa and Europe. Are there other countries you would love to tour and why would you want to go there with your music?

FVC: Music has taken me to weird places. I have played shows in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, The UAE and Argentina too. I love to travel and play wherever the tunes take me. But, I know Afrikaans music limits me and my bands internationally. I have made peace with that and I am happy to make music for my core following in SA and hope to do it for a long time.

STM: For years you used to visit Blue Moon, the only proper music venue that Nelspruit ever saw. Do you have a unique story or memory from this venue? (Because I remember a petition a church brought out that was doing the rounds against Fokofpolisiekar playing at Blue Moon)

FVC: I don’t even remember that, but my whole 20’s are blurred out. I remember great times at that venue, beautiful scenery and great people.

STM: What are your expectations for the show of 15 September at Time Square?

FVC: I expect an unforgettable night for all involved, for the fans and the musicians.

STM: And our last question, why should we come to the Francois van Coke & Vriende show?

FVC: Cause we are going to have a good time!

There you have it, even more, a reason why you can’t miss the Francois van Coke en Vriende show on 15 September 2018. Tickets are selling out fast, get yours online at Computicket or your closest Computicket outlet.

We will see you at the show