Ann Jangle is becoming a household name to people in South Africa. Her biography on the Ann Jangle website captures her spirit beautifully:
“Her ominous style of dark folk, eclectic rock, gypsy infused, theatrical, soulful style of writing & performing leaves a long-lasting impression. She belts out her voice on stage like she was born there. This South-African born singer/ songwriter/ producer has performed her way onto a vast variety of stages all across Europe & Southern Africa and shares the stage with many different artists to bring a heartfelt performance that resonates.”
I have become one of those people who does not easily decline an invitation to see Ann perform live. She recently performed at Hidden Eden, where I had a chance to catch up with her after another mind-blowing performance of epic proportions. Ann will also be performing in the Lowveld – more specifically Graskop – on the 12th of October. We thought we’d chat to her about the things that make her tick:
STM: Miss Jangle! Tell us what inspires you?
AJ: Love, hate, new destinations, meeting new people, my dog, failure, the sun, memories, a ringing guitar string.
STM: How did you get involved in animal rescue?
AJ: I won”t really call it “involved” I just do my part by sharing posts for animal welfares I follow on Social Media. I’ve organized for some dogs to be housed with friends and now I’m gathering food for shelters. Ok, I think that’s involved. Yes.
STM: How did you decide who to approach in terms of charities to get them onboard your current touring plans?
AJ: At first, I wasn’t sure which shelter to approach because – let’s face it – there are so many. I decided to just donate after each show, the food collected, to a shelter in the area, but then it got messy because some gigs brought in heaps of food and others nothing and then to go research shelters in each area took a lot of time and I just felt that I could have a bigger impact when all my energy is focused on one place..
So I did my research and found that Wollies Animal Project – from what I could see – was putting in the most effort to raise awareness for their animals. Turns out they are the biggest shelter with over 700 dogs and over 400 cats. They need about 8 of those big black bins full of food every day to feed all the animals. That’s insane commitment and love.
STM: Some say you’re a modern-day PJ Powers. How do you feel about that?
AJ: Let me tell you something: PJ Powers – Thandeka is way more “modern-day” than any of us. I absolutely love her. I’ve looked up to that feisty, fire-filled woman with the great hair and big personality ever since I can remember. So ya, I’ll own that statement, hands down, with the greatest of pleasure. I’ve had the honour of touring with her and I learned more about life and what it is to be a good human being than I have in the last decade. She must be the most down to earth woman of such extraordinary calibre that I have ever met.
I would say that she is my greatest role model. She has gone from “chilling” in hotel rooms with Nelson Mandela and Brenda Fassie and singing at the most famous Rugby World Cup event the world ever experienced due to political break-through, to losing everything she owns to addiction, facing her demons and rising above it all only to become one of the greatest warriors of light to the people of Africa, I believe the world will ever see. There isn’t a day that goes by where she isn’t talking at some benefit event or flying across the continent in awareness for Albinism, or going into townships to work, hands-on, with women in need. That, to me, is a true “hero”, icon, whatever you want to call it. For some to consider me to walk even one tiny step in her shoes is the greatest honour. Awesome!
STM: Do you play other instruments except for the guitar?
AJ: Unfortunately not. I never really wanted to play the guitar but I needed it to write songs, so I locked myself in my room and forced myself to fall love with this instrument.
Now we are family and I am embracing other instruments like the Glockenspiel, (with different guitar effects pedals) and I owned a trumpet but starting to play that thing is enough to drive any housemate insane so we had to part ways.
STM: Do you have collaborations with other artists in mind for the future?
AJ: Yes, absolutely. It’s one of the things that excited me most about the tour, collaborating with artists up in Africa.
My whole tour from Botswana up over into Zambia and beyond is based on collaborations with local musicians that will be filmed.
STM: Would you like to see yourself perform abroad? And if so, where would you most like to perform?
AJ: I will be heading to India and South America after this tour, as this has been calling me for way too long now (if Africa doesn’t swallow me whole).
I will focus my energy into making this happen, but I have learned from many years of travelling that nothing goes as planned, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up in like, the Federated States of Micronesia (it’s the 6th least visited country on earth, somewhere in Asia)!
Thank you Ann Jangle for your time and for answering my questions honestly and from the heart. You are an inspiration to so many. Keep on keeping on!