The men of Van Der Aven, a multi-instrumental music group, are serious, passionate and driven.
Strategic sessions, wrap-up sessions after shows, careful preparation and good communication form part of this group’s recipe for success.
Van Der Aven, who previously performed mainly in English, but recently decided to make music in Afrikaans, allows full-time music making.
The brothers, Roelof and Theunis van der Merwe, and friend, Paul Avenant, say the dream for the group is to be able to build a sustainable career from music.
“Everywhere,” says Roelof about where the musical path they are now embarking on will lead. “We are excited and ready for it.”
Theunis agrees. “If it starts to become a problem for us to maintain our day-to-day jobs together with a music career, this is a good sign for us. We all have a passion and love for music and we are all very eager to see what the future holds for the group.”
So far, Roelof has mainly written the music and lyrics, with the latest release, “Slaap jy al”, also from his pen. Theunis and Paul help to color the picture that Roelof has sketched.
“We recently did a song with [die musiekvervaardiger] Recorded by Theo Crous, which will hopefully see the light of day before the middle of the year.
“The song came about organically. We went into the studio with a strong idea, but we all worked together to complete the song. We like to be rehearsed before we go into the studio or on stage. Then we can just let go in the moment and enjoy the music.”
As born and bred Karoolings, it is a special opportunity for this trio to perform at this festival. Roelof and Theunis come from Beaufort West, while Paul grew up in Murraysburg in the north-eastern corner of the Western Cape.
“Performing at the KKNK also fits in exactly with the direction we decided to take at the beginning of the year during a strategic session. We deliberately wanted to be more selective about where we perform, as we have a goal in mind,” they explain.
The fact that the KKNK is willing to let them perform on the big stage is confirmation that they are on the right path, they believe.
“We look forward to people experiencing us live on stage. This is where all the good stuff happens. The audience will experience our three-piece harmonies. This is what makes our group unique.”
The music video for “Slaap jy al” was recently released. Actors Lara Hattingh and Len-Barry Simons play the lead roles.
“We shot the video on a farm outside Moorreesburg. The filming already started at 04:00 and by 10:00 it was already incredibly hot. We were involved in every aspect of the video and even helped hold lights,” the group says.
SW Strauss directed while Hugo Brand produced the video.
“The song is about an uncertain point in a relationship and the video portrays it in an abstract way. One can feel the tension. The actors did an extremely good job.”
“Van Der Aven is my and my wife’s favorite South African music group. They have original lyrics, great melodies and an incredible touch. Their new album is perfect. It’s the best Afrikaans music I’ve ever heard. Point.”
About this compliment from Danie du Toit, lead singer of Spoegwolf, the group is modest. “He wasn’t paid to say that,” they laugh.
“You always expect your friends and family to say your music is beautiful, because they support you regardless. However, if someone like Danie and other strangers enjoy your music, it is very special. It gives you goosebumps.”
Van Der Aven can be seen on April 1 and 2 in afternoon performances on the Feesmark stage of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. They will also soon be seen on stage together with the music groups Glaskas and Van Reg & Rede, in three separate shows.
Check here for dates and tickets.
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