Dear Reader - Rivonia (CD)
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"It must seem pretty odd to people that I made this record about South Africa in my apartment in Berlin. But I guess it took me moving away from home to see South Africa with fresh eyes. People I met here in Germany were asking me questions about my homeland that I couldn't adequately answer, and this awareness of my own ignorance inspired me to read up about South African history. And then the things I read inspired me to write. Of course, it was something I undertook with a certain amount of anxiety, nervous that I would inevitably get it wrong, that I would offend people. Ultimately though, this work is intensely personal. It's something I did for myself - a grappling with my sense of rootlessness and the guilt-feelings I carry around. These are not things that can be solved with a pop record, but I guess it's a start." - Cheri MacNeil (Dear Reader)
Cheri MacNeil thinks of RIVONIA, perhaps flippantly, as a ‘Pop-Musical’. Part of this is a reflection of her somewhat theatrical style, something emphasised by her decision to “let the Disney lover in me come out to play”. In fact, her motivation, she is swift to emphasise, was generally personal, just as the album’s contents are, in every sense of the word. Moving to Berlin had given her a new perspective on her country, and she realised she was unable to satisfy the curiosity that others she met in the city expressed about it.
Like PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake – a record that MacNeil confides she’d never heard until long after she finished recording – RIVONIA is an honest, courageous and expansive collection, that is as musically exciting as it is thematically determined. But unlike Harvey, MacNeil never distances herself from the scenes she depicts. Instead she places herself in the thick of them, while managing to appear impartial throughout, even in the face of the biggest horrors. It is only on the second to last song, “Beauty On Cruelty On”, that she actually allows herself a commentary on the state of the human race. Her stance; that we have a great propensity for evil, and from this mankind will probably never be free. As if to reiterate this, she closes this remarkable album with the war cry of two armies, a sacrilegious hymn to the futility and folly of war.
Unlike other records written by white musicians and inspired by South Africa, DEAR READER’s RIVONIA banishes broad, crowd-pleasing political strokes in favour of a specifically human outlook. At times troubling, at times deeply moving, RIVONIA is unafraid of raising more questions than it answers, and achieves this within the context of a collection of magical, dramatic, heartfelt songs.
- South Africa
- Pop / Rock
- [ Disc 01 Track 01 ] Down Under, Mining
- [ Disc 01 Track 02 ] Took Them Away
- [ Disc 01 Track 03 ] Good Hope
- [ Disc 01 Track 04 ] 27.04.1994
- [ Disc 01 Track 05 ] From Now On
- [ Disc 01 Track 06 ] Man Of The Book
- [ Disc 01 Track 07 ] Back From The Dead
- [ Disc 01 Track 08 ] Teller Of Tenths
- [ Disc 01 Track 09 ] Already Are
- [ Disc 01 Track 10 ] Cruelty On Beauty On
- [ Disc 01 Track 11 ] Victory
- Audio Format
- PCM Audio
- Date Released
- Video Disabled
- Number of Items
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