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Bos Notes a different energy

donderdag 26 januari 2012, Cape Times, Jason Curtis

CAPE TIMES THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012                                                                                                                   ARTS    9



Bos notes a different energy



Jason Curtis

A YEAR ago, practically to the day,

Dutch-born pianist, poet, actor and

philanthropist Stef Bos staged a

brand-new, self-titled show outside

Cape Town. Since then the production

has entertained packed houses in

Europe, and is about to come full circle,

back to the country of its birth.

After his son was born in 2010,

Bos was inspired to create a oneman

show that included all of his

usual musical magic, along with a

storytelling element his fans had

never experienced.

The response to this format shift

sparked critical acclaim both here

and abroad for its raw energy and

disarming honesty. Over the past 12

months the show has evolved and

the seamless marriage of music,

humour, insight and anecdotal

commentary has made it a hit wherever

it’s staged.

Rated by local and international

critics as the best show of his illustrious

career, the year-long journey

draws to a close tomorrow and on

Saturday when Bos returns to his

second home to conclude a chapter

in his life that’s forged and exposed

yet another side to the gifted artist’s


“Even with the show being a

year old, each performance is original,”

he says. “It’s continuous

improvisation. Nothing is scripted

and that’s what still makes it as

much fun for me to perform.”

He considered several possible

venues, but settled on The Fugard

Theatre to host two of the final

shows of his current tour.

“It all started at the Cluvers’,”

Bos says of that memorable first

show in 2011 at the Paul Cluver

Forest Amphitheatre.

“The combination of music and

storytelling opened up a whole new

world of possibility. SA is my playground

where I have been fortunate

enough to test a great many new

ideas before taking them overseas.”

Along with his compelling repertoire,

Bos goes to great lengths in

finding special spaces in which to

tell his tales.

“Every venue I play lends something

to the performance. This is a

one-man show and establishing a

relationship with the space is as

important as extending that to the

audience. The Fugard is an intimate

space, so I’ve got nowhere to hide.”

It all started when one of Bos’s

first hit singles, Papa, released in

1991, led to invitations and opportunities

to perform with the late great

Johannes Kerkorrel and Thandi

Klaasen. Through the decades that

followed, he’s recorded and released

a total of 27 albums, three DVDs and

singles that have topped the charts

locally as well as in the Netherlands

and Belgium.

Although he’s done his utmost to

avoid fame, the past 20 years have

elicited numerous accolades for Bos.

“In Belgium I became something

of an overnight success back in the

early 1990s. So that didn’t work, did

it?” he jokes about his celebrity

allergy. “I knew then that I wanted to

control my destiny and I’ve been

striving to do that ever since.”

With each new album and subsequent

tour, Bos has continued to create

and share authentic music.

His show starts with him

recounting the birth of his son.

“I take the audience on a journey

that ends where it began.

“Imagination is important. Tapping

into topical issues helps, add

another dimension, and offer audiences

local perspective. My show in

the Netherlands, at the end of last

year, was particularly interesting.

Not only because the format of the

show was not something the fans

expected, but as a country, they are

a nation socially and politically confused.

So I had lots of material to

work with. I don’t ever choose sides,

though. I prefer to be a commentator

on what’s unravelling around the

audience I happen to be playing to.”

With no band to back him up and

only a piano and a mind full of reallife

memories and personal observations

to guide him, Bos presents

himself at his most vulnerable. He

admits it was a big change to come

out from behind his piano.

“Standing up in front of a room

full of people creates a different

kind of energy,” he explains. “Winning

the room over is the first challenge

– keeping them there to the

close is the ultimate reward.”

With a songbook as fluid as his

mood, each night Bos can add or

take away any part of his life story,

all neatly knitted together around

music that’s become his success.

Suikerbossie, Die Tovenaar, and,

more recently, Kloofstraat are just

some of the many songs brought to

life by taking note of what happens

around him.

In preparation of closing yet

another rich and rewarding chapter,

Bos is not resting on his laurels.

“I never underestimate the audience.

Intent is king and I always aim

to treat the muse with respect.”


l Tickets are R100 to R140. Call

021 461 4554. The show starts at 8pm.

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