"It’s a long way from Seattle to South Africa. The snowcapped Olympics to the West, and Cascades to the East, the towering peak of Mount Rainier to the South, looking over the moss covered rocks, and soggy tree bark with a maternal gaze. Then, cutting through the region with an icy touch is puget sound. It’s a landscape that is even farther away from South Africa, a country that just seems bright and full of colors, the idea of months on end of gray washed out skies might be inconceivable to its inhabitants.
This is a duality that plays out in the hands, mind, and voice of singer/songwriter Zarni de Wet, who was born and raised in South Africa until the age of eleven, when her family moved to New York. After finishing school at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Zarni followed her boyfriend out to Seattle, and by the years end she not only ended up with a burgeoning solo career, but also found herself as a member of the band Campfire Ok. It seems unlikely, or implausible, and maybe in another city or for someone with less talent, it would be.
Zarni’s music is like a cross section image of the earth, from the cool outer edge of the Crust, down through the Mantle, the Outer Core, and into the boiling Inner Core.
The Crust is this beautiful clean and jazzy piano. Played with flickering hands that flutter over the keys with melodies at a methamphetamine level of addiction.
A level down at the Mantle you hit this unexpected edge to her music, like the notes are catching fire. A dash of punk bass, or distorted guitar, even a surprising grind of her..." See the full article here:
Written by Brian Snider
Wisconsin, 2000, my parents and I shuffle through a crowded diner and take a low-profile seat somewhere in the back. We barely understand the jumble of nasal orders that are passed between waiters and chefs- we have never seen anything like this before. The waitress comes to our table with a cold and agitated posterior. “Hey y’all was it gun be?” My mother answers politely, “A wah-teh pleeze”, in her polished South African accent. The woman’s eyebrows cave together in a frown on her forehead… “Wha’s that neow??” I budge in to break the awkward moment resting in tightly in air. “Water… she wants a water…” My mom smiles as the waitress leaves, and yet again the three of us sit together, alone. I am only eleven at this point so my accent is as fickle as the wind and I have taken on the role as the translator. A few months later we immigrated to the small town of Binghamton, nestled in Upstate New York. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I was young when we moved and don’t remember many of the initial emotions associated with the move. I wanted to share some of my memories with you, if you are someone that just moved to a new country and my hope is to shed a little bit of light on this sorely neglected topic. When I tell people I come from South Africa… they ask me things like “If you’re from Africa, why aren’t you black?” and “are they like lions walking around on the streets?” and my personal favorite… “Wait a minute, if you are from South Africa…and you live in America…does that make you African American??” The answer is no, damn it. It doesn’t make me any more African American than you going to Ireland once and claiming you are Irish.
I remember these questions at school. I remember not fitting in…for a very, very long time. I remember periods of self-consciousness (especially at first when I was in middle school) so deep that I could drown in it. What to wear?! How to talk?! What to laugh at?! It was such a weird time...
To read the rest of the blog visit www.zarnimusic.com/blog/