21+ New Release - French Legends
Award-winning cabaret artist, singer, songwriter and actress, Helena Hettema launches her new album “21 plus (2017)”
Helena Hettema 21 +
“21 plus (2017) celebrates more than two decades in the demanding yet magical music industry and a lifetime in song. I am proudly South African and a child of Africa with the sun in my soul and yet always a performer with my roots in Europe and I believe the front cover reflects this duality. This, my fourteenth CD also focuses on the songwriter in me with ten of my own songs. Older songs with new overcoats feature the soulful and sometimes funky arrangements by David Jooste ( he also worked on Divided Heart and Rooiwynliefde) such as Skadudans, Papermen, “Jasmine Lament” and “Song for him”, written in the late 80s and vibrant 90s. “Jasmine Lament”, for example was written out of longing in the golden streets of ancient Bologna, northern Italy. “I travelled a road, I heard my soul in the toll, toll of the bell and found my heart , my song once again in a city golden that sleeps A city of ancient dreams…” In ’88, just before I became the youngest member of Anton Goosen’s alternative band, “Die Kommissie van Ondersoek” (also with Lucas Maree and Karlien van Niekerk) who released the album “Winde van Verandering” that questioned events of the time, I wrote “Papermen” about amongst others, politicians…“I’ve known men of politics, plastic, hard and rehearsed…”. Die eerste snit van die CD, “Skadudans”, met ‘n splinternuwe verwerking was oorspronklik amper die temalied van “Binnekring” op aanvraag van Jan Scholtz na ek “Sonkring” gesing en geskryf het. Kraakvars liedjies is ook “Mio cuore, NY,’n “jazzy” lied oor “glitzy” New York wat ek geskryf het saam met Marguerite van Reenen, verryk deur Sharon (Con Grazia) se betowerende saksofoon, asook die “Adrenaline Rush” van motorfiets ry. Ek sing ook “Silly cyber tango dans” ‘n polsende lied wat ek pas geskryf het oor oorlewing in die “leë” cyber-wêreld met Con Grazia se meelewende gesang. Dan is daar ook die tydlose “Streets of London”, die kultuurryke stad wat ek as kunstenaar talle maal besoek het, waar ek vir ses maande gewoon en gewerk het en waar “Divided Heart”, die titelsnit van my sesde album gebore is op Brighton Beach, en ook herinner aan die armoede in ons eie strate. Nog ‘n “cover” is Neil Diamond se romanties duet “September Morn” saam met César de Almeida wat verantwoordelik was vir die opneem en produksie van 13 CDs deur die jare en saam met my die hele musiekpad gestap het – dankie César! ‘n Gevoelvolle nuwe Afrikaanse lied is “Meisie wat wag” geskryf deur sanger en liedjieskrywer, Martin van Tonder. Op ‘n meer enstige noot is daar die hartroerende “Funeral Blues”, van W H Auden se gedig, getoonset en gespeel deur die pianis en komponis, Wilhelm Joubert en “Strength for the day” (woorde van Annie Flint) wat ek in 2015 getoonset het vir my pianis van vroeër, die wyle André Wessels gespeel deur my huidige briljante pianis, Marelize Koch wat ook haar kunstenaarskap toon op “If we only have love”, ‘n Brel duet saam met Sharon van “Con Grazia”. Hierdie lied het ek gereeld saam met liedjieskrywer, sanger en pianis, Eugene Vermaak gesing en ek dra dit op aan hom – Eugene, dit is ons lied vir altyd. Dan is daar ook die sielvolle “Stof tot stof”, geestelike lirieke deur Azette Wiesner en musiek geskryf deur sangeres/lliedjieskrywer, Lize Stassen. A bonus track that stands out is “Dance me to the end of love”, one of Leonard Cohen’s best, enhanced by the artistry of “Con Grazia’s” Syntiche on violin. “Mother of mine” is written for my former journalist/writer mother Joan, who with her creative soul has always understood my life and deepest essence and encouraged me throughout – “Mother of mine – you have a poet’s soul – it rings so true…”. Thank you for your love, Mamma. And finally, “A 1000 winds that blow” composed for my father Jan, who sometimes shared my stage and inspired me always – to be, and do the best I can – Daddy, you are always beside me and I carry you in my heart. This nightingale, as you called me, will sing forever. This CD is dedicated to you. …and to my dearest dog, William the Conqueror – may you continue to guard me in spirit. This CD reflects the passion, artistry and dedication of many musicians – Ettiene Meintjies, Rick Barnard, Marelize, Wilhelm , Con Grazia, Johan Viljoen, Lynne, Marius, César and David – Thank you! Lydia (Winchester) dankie vir jou passievolle bemarking en geloof in my CD, Carina van Media Chef en Carissa, dankie vir die lang ure, lekker koffie en toegewydheid, sodat my CD-boekie, 21 jaar plus reflekteer. Aan al my aanhangers, dankie dat jul nog steeds in my musiek glo en aankoop en al my ware vriende ( jul weet wie) dat jul daar is - en laastens – Thys, my diamant, vertrouling en fondament, dankie dat jy my lewe altyd verstaan. Thank you, dear God – for giving me a voice to sing, and a life of music.
Double French album of “Spirit of Piaf and other French Legends (2015)
Double French album of “Spirit of Piaf and other French Legends”
The CD developed and grew over a period of more than a year starting with the title track, “Rooiwynliefde”, a song celebrating enduring love, the lyrics born from the pen of Marianne Venter (for Marius), her husband and put to music by Christa Steyn, one of SA’s great songwriters and musician s – then the song seized my heart and after a music video was shot in August 2011, on the magical Deetlefs Wine Estate in Rawsonville over three days by remarkable filmmaker Leon in conjunction with HH Productions (a wonderful creative process), it became clear that this was the CD’s title track… The CD features nine of my own songs and a new French/Afrikaans version of “Sonkring” and “Tolbos in die Wind” – songs which I wrote at the beginning of my career and brand new songs “Goodbye to the Living”, “Quasi, quasi blu”, my first Italian/English song, “Seasons of the Heart”, the first collaboration with my mother, Joan, writer and former journalist, “Die Trein het jou kom haal”, the music for which only came to me five years after the lyrics were born, “Citizen” written in London as far back as ’98 which proves again that a song sees the light when the time is right. Five other songs are featured and were eventually chosen after approaching and receiving songs from many great, well-known and unknown songwriters, Bruno Andries, Belgium born songwriter whose captivating lyrics for “Bonnie and Clyde” were put to music by Karen Zoid in the unique way she can, creating a song about dark, obsessive love, three iconic Afrikaans poems, put to music, “Katrina van die Bo-Kaap” (music, Lizanne Barnard of Marimba fame and the first pianist I worked with 20 years ago) – thank you Lizanne); “Diep Rivier”, the classic poem by Eugene Marais set to music by Eugene Vermaak, superlative songwriter and; “In die Hoëveld”, another classic poem written by Toon van den Heever and set to music by the great contemporary songwriter, Philip Nel. Finally; “Innocence Lost” by my childhood friend and inspired songwriter, Teresa Hely-Hutchinson – we started to create music together when we were growing up – a haunting song full of longing and her second one to appear on one of my CDs. These songs would be nothing without the life that was blown into them with the brilliant artistry and remarkable inventive creativity of David Jooste’s production and arrangements. I experienced this the first time with the CD “Divided Heart”, but with this CD David has surprised me and surpassed himself in the studio- thanks for the remarkable journey, David! This CD was recorded and engineered again by my friend of 19 years, I met with my tape – “Piaf and Just a Little Me”, César d’Almeida. – his incredible “ear”, sheer musicality, turns ideas into vibrant songs which come fully into their essence… This CD, “Rooiwynliefde” would also not have reached the heights and variety it has without the mastery of Mauritz Lotz on guitar – from acoustic to electric – his genius transforms songs making them evocative, playful, sublime or powerful. Our paths first crossed with “Winde van Verandering” (Anton Goosen’s famous album) and now, at last, he has left his mark on “Rooiwynliefde”. This CD is a crossover for me from my previous CDs with its commercial, electronic yet acoustic sound. Once again I would like to thank the Creator for giving me the gift of song and all my friends, fans and family for supporting and believing in me and spurring me on. Press Comment. “Rooiwynliefde is a splendid CD by a great local artist ... features nine of her own songs including Seasons of the Heart, a song which started as a poem by her mother Joan.” Pretoria News “Her voice is a rich versatile instrument with a seductive bass note that many female singers are unable to reach.” CD Sounds “Rooiwynliefde was ‘n vrugbare oesjaar vir Helena. Mens kry die gevoel die wingerd is gefynkam en die druiwetrosse is een-een met die hand uigesoek. Deur alles dra Helena se stem elke snit met die donker kleur van ‘n goeie pinotage waardeur ‘n sonstraal val.” Anna-Retha Bouwer - Beeld.
Alive - DVD (2010)
It is 2010 and by chance also the year in which Helena will release her tenth CD and first DVD – “Helena Hettema Alive”. The DVD and bonus CD will be available countrywide by the middle of May. Accompanying Helena, multi-award winner (SABC 2 Geraas Best Female Vocalist, PE Herald Showtime Award, SAMA nominee and Vonk Award) and one of South Africa’s top cabaret artists in this tour de force are her brilliant pianist André Wessels and talented double bassist, Nippy Cripwell. This atmospheric DVD comprising 30 of Helena’s top favourites performed countrywide over the years, was recorded and shot with a live audience at the Centurion Theatre. Some of her legendary renditions of French songs are on the DVD such as “La vie en rose”, “L’Accordèoniste”, “Non, je ne regrette rien” and”Cent mille chansons” , “Et maintenant” as well as “She”, Brel favourites, “Mariek” and “Port of Amsterdam”. Contemporary favourites such as Leonard Cohen’s “Dance me to the end of love” and songs of Albinoni and Marianne Faithful are also featured. Some of Helena’s hits such as “Tolbos in die wind” and “Divided Heart” are also there as well as a new composition, “Goodbye to the living”. Old South African favourites such as “Mannetjies Roux” and “Sprokie vir ‘n stadskind” , “Toemaar, die donker man” are among the items as well as a new nostalgic song, “Rooiwynliefde” with lyrics by Marianne Venter and music by Christa Steyn and given to Helena to perform. The DVD also includes a touch of jazz. Helena who is multilingual sings in English, Afrikaans, French and Italian on this DVD, produced by Helena Hettema Productions and distributed by Jaco - (017) 634-2788. Her main sponsor is Rademeyer’s and Nikao Studios carried out the post-production editing.. And then just a little cherry on the top of the DVD will be Helena’s visit to Turkey to perform at a private function in the middle of July.
Spirit of Piaf and songs from other French Legends (2007)
"Spirit of Piaf and songs from other French Legends" This is a CD I have always wanted to make. Since the age of six I have been entranced by Piaf’s music and at the age of 18 wrote for her.
Divas Divine - Inside Out (2005)
In “Divas Divine”, Helena Hettema who is also a Vita and SAMA nominee, takes one on a musical journey to experience the pathos, tragedy and humour in the lives of some of the world’s greatest divas of the song like Billie Holiday, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Nina Simon and Miriam Makeba, amongst others. On this CD and in the show “Divas Divine” which she wrote and conceived herself, Helena provides a glimpse behind the scenes into the private lives hidden behind the the public image of the great divas. Press comment “And boy, can she sing. Hettema has a voice that ranges from crushed silk to wet gravel and she uses it with sensitivity and skill … great opportunity to see one of South Africa’s finest performers in action.” (Divas Divine in the Liberty Theatre, Johannesburg) - Peter van der Merwe - Pretoria News - 2006. “ A classical vocal exhibition which can easily be voted the best performance at the Festival” - Cue magazine- (The show received critical acclaim with its first performances at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, 2005 and inspired the manufacture of the CD)
Divided Heart (2004)
"Divided Heart" is a truly South African CD featuring original songs from young and seasoned South African singer/songwriters in both English and Afrikaans yet with a totally new-world, atmospheric, modern music sound - Africa meets Europe meets Asia - with exotic rhythms yet sophisticated arrangements and instruments ranging from the Australian didgeridoo, Indian tablas and sitar to the potbelly drum...
The Bridge (2002)
We have taken "The Bridge" literally and figuratively to venues and theatres countrywide (the whole metal structure too) and to three festivals (Karoo, Hadeda - Tzaneenfees, Kalahari Kuierfees - Upington) and finally we bring it to you, since you asked for it.
CD also featuring Magaliesberg Children's Choir on some cuts and Jan Hettema, her racing driver father on "I'm just a gigolo".
Helena Hettema Highlights (1998)
A compilation CD of the best of Fool's Gold and Jasmine Lament. CD Nominated for South African Music Award (SAMA - Best Afrikaanse Kontemporêre CD 1999). Music Video "Skadudans" made by Geraas
Jasmine Lament (1997)
Quintin Pendle (arrangemets, pianist and harmonies), Alwyn van Heerden (pianist) en Helena Hettema (vocalist, composer and harmonies)
Fools Gold (1995)
13 out of 15 cuts Hettema Originals. Arrangements Quintin Pendle. Titel snit geskryf terwyl Helena in Italie was om optetree by twee feeste -1996.