World music duo Deep South launch new album

World music duo Deep South
World music duo Deep South

Maya Morgan-Skillen writes:
World music duo Deep South is excited to present an evening of music to celebrate the release of their second album, Heartland.

Comprised of Dave Ledbetter and Ronan Skillen, Deep South is a collaborative instrumental band that draws on the distinctive sounds of musicians across the globe. The duo produced their first album, A Waiting Land, with top SA musicians. For the new album, they teamed up with some of Europe’s most sought-after world music musicians.

Best known for his session work as a jazz musician, guitarist and pianist Dave Ledbetter also fronted The Truly Fully Hey Shoo Wow Band in the ’80s and ’90s. Respected among local musicians, Dave has the unique ability to perform across genres. With Deep South, he’s distilled his vast knowledge of jazz, folk, funk and blues into an acoustic world music blend. He’s performed with Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, Hein Van de Geyn, Sibongile Khumalo and Jimmy Dludlu among others.

Multi-instrumentalist Ronan Skillen (tabla, percussion and didgeridoo) is an enthusiast of global rhythms and well known on the local scene for producing curious sounds and rhythms with his innovative hybrid drum kit. He specialises in world music with “groove and a sense of space”. Other than Deep South, he’s also co-founder of Tonik, Swiss-SA trio A.Spell and Hot Water. He’s performed with Rodriguez, Johnny Clegg and Freshlyground to name a few.

The production of Heartland was literally a dream come true for Dave and Ronan. They have for years been admirers of Swedish bassist and producer Björn Meyer, who’s been instrumental in taking Deep South’s sound and vision to the next level.
The Bern-based artist has featured on hundreds of recordings – notably with genre-defying record label ECM – since his beginnings with Milla Jovovich. Björn regularly tours with ECM oud maestro Anouar Brahem and was a member of Zen-funk groove master Nik Bärtsch’s band, Ronin, also represented by the prestigious label. He’s also produced all the albums for his Swedish trio Bazar Blå.

It took only a listen to A Waiting Land and a brief meeting for Björn to agree to produce and perform on the follow-up album. Heartland was recorded and co-produced in Bern, Switzerland, with the help of the Swiss Arts Council (Pro Helvetia). The musicians opted for a traditional recording set-up – all in one room, live, with all its transparency. The result is an honest reflection of some of Dave’s best compositions to date.

Deep South album launch, Etienne interviews Ronan Skillen by Jazze on Mixcloud

Heartland comprises 10 original pieces that feature some of Europe’s most innovative and versatile artists:
Jan Galega Brönnimann (bass clarinet) of Brinkmanship, who’s played with artists such as Nils Petter Molvaer and Aly Keita
Samuel Würgler (trumpet and flugelhorn) of Balkan band Traktorchester
Fredrik Gille (riq, frame drum, percussion), a specialist in flamenco and Arabic percussion, who’s performed with Andreas Vollenweider among others

To bring Heartland’s compositions to life in SA, Deep South will be joined by:
Joburg-based experimental trumpet player Marcus Wyatt of Language 12, who’s played with artists such as Carlo Mombelli and Red Hot Chili Peppers
Shaun Johannes, Deep South’s regular bassist, has been a session player for many of SA’s top jazz musicians and has performed with Johnny Clegg, Emily Bruce and Tina Schouw, among others
Listeners can expect an impeccable performance of acoustic instrumental music, set in a landscape of sound with plenty of space, funky grooves and the odd ghost note.

Album launch
Where: The Reeler Theatre at Rondebosch Boys’ High School
– Canigou Avenue, Rondebosch, Cape Town
When: 14 November 2015 at 7.30 pm
How much: R100 on Quicket or R120 at the door



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