I n t e r v i e w s


140928 Interview with Herlad-Palladium (SA) 1. Why did you choose the name HA!Man? What is the meaning behind it?

during the nineties I shifted amongst various rational concepts to capture what I am doing. the term improvisation, for instance, seemed to me too loaded with unnecessary associations. I finally realized I could not capture my art on a mere rational level, as it springs more from a feeling dimension, like a breath.. it is in expressing a simple "ha!" that I can give an answer to both where my performances start from, and what I regard as an "answer" to question of the meaning of life

2. When did you first start performing and what drew you to play music?

I grew up in a musical family. my father stimulated me to improvise two years before I started taking formal lessons from my mother. I was lucky to have had this start with music, as it created a haven for me of discovery and true play before notes and theory interfered. a natural gift for sound also played a role, of course.

3. Give me a little of your history - education, street-performing years?

I took piano and cello lessons throughout my schooling years, as well as composition during the last three of those years. I had to do two years compulsory military service before I went to university (those were the dying days of Apartheid when South Africa was virtually a military state). I proceeded to study to become a minister in a reformed church, during which time I played in orchestras and ensembles and continued with cello studies. I cut the theology course short to move over to music, as I realized I could not live my life in spite of my deeper passions anymore. the music studies were also cut halfway through as by then I realized that the classical environment could not sustain my creative urges either. I reached a dead end, almost literally. it was here that improvisation entered as a means to combine my performance and creative abilities, and really, at a deeper level, gave meaning to my life. the following eight or so years were the "street performing" years, as without that, I would not have been able to survive. there was simply no existing audience for full-on improvised performances on a regular basis. I had to build a supporting network from scratch.

4. Describe your music.

Loose pieces with a western classical base, infused with elements of african, eastern, jazz and commercial musics. The overall characteristic is a certain intensity, both towards intensity of feeling and intensity of energy. the stylistic language is wide, resulting in performances that could better be described as musical world-journeys.

5. Explain "creativity-in-the-moment." In performing spontaneously, is there any structure or composition that you play off of, or is it completely off-the-cuff.

The structure and "composition" springs from an inner musical language, grown over years of simply playing "from nothing." I make a strong point that structure is not the exclusive domain of left-brain, predetermined music. The tradition of "free improvisation" or "free jazz" creates the wrong impression that once you create from "nothing" you avoid structure by necessity, whereas structure grows naturally once you allow free expression to grow. To be "creative-in-the-moment" is to get into touch with one's inner self, daring to communicate that. I say communicate, rather than just "express," as getting in touch with oneself implies closing in on one's deeper humanity, a level which is shared by all. "In-the-moment" also implies "in-the-here," becoming more present, also to those around you. Expression alone does not create. Creation happens in making connection, just like sparks only fly when polarities connect. Expression alone remains random. Creativity gives birth to new meaning.

I should add this: if you play off an existing or conscious structure, you diminish the act of creation, and therefore also the quality of the connection. What often happens with such predetermined elements, is that they tend to dominate - structure becomes mechanical (applied), rather than an organic and living part of the whole.

I do not ALWAYS play off a 0 starting point, but that is my primary preference and tendency.

6. You perform with Joke Debaere. Tell me about your relationship with her and what she contributes.

I met Joke almost 5 years ago and recognized a kindred artistic spirit from the start. Her life story has strong parallels with mine, a story of a creative spirit often at odds with mainstream education and performance practices. Her background is theatre and literature, even though she studied piano too and all her work carries a strong musical dimension. This makes for a close affinity when we perform together, most often with her improvising with words on my musical accompaniment. Sometimes her words become song, or hover in-between song and poetry which offers a fresh balance between feeling and rational meaning. Like my own development, hers is an unfolding story that is yet to unleash her wealth of acting experience and abilities into the "HA!" environment. Not only does she add these mediums to my mainly musical scenario, her presence also makes it possible to provide the audience with the interactive "magic" and artistic communication between us on this "in-the-moment" level.

7. Growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid years, how did that effect your social consciousness and music.

I experienced the break-down of super-rational structures in the face of raw human emotion, both on a social and interpersonal level, as the ideology of western supremacy crumbled through the cracks of its inhumanity. To me, there was a parallel development between political change and my own musical development - from the neatness and cold controls of a Eurocentric milieu to the rough edges and warm ease of the African environment. A shift from the head to the heart. I don't want to over simplify, nor idealize the one or the other. But I certainly became more critical of the West and its impact on the rest of the world while moving closer to the spaciousness found in Africa, both geographically and psychologically. When one adds the reality of our common origins in Africa, this shift - to me, at least - also represents a shift closer to my own deeper and more vulnerable humanity.

8. You still live in South Africa. What attracts you to that environment and how does it benefit your music and world outlook.

South Africa is a world-in-one - the variety is palpable and global realities are brought to your face. One meets the other in a more original form, as we do not have such a strong overarching national identity as the Americans, for instance. It is also the geographical variety that keeps drawing me, an intensity of the presence and beauty of Nature not felt in many other places. I am also drawn to the deep roots of modern humanity found there, and in a strange way, drawn to the country's messiness, the tangible risks of finding yourself in a place where extreme rich and poor live so closely together. Then of course, also to the particular way the human spirit found itself being healed there, the figure and role of Nelson Mandela being but one example of many. I feel at once home there, as I feel challenged like I feel nowhere in the first world - a challenge that my creativity feeds on.

9. Should people think more globally?

Yes, and more locally. the one does not go without the other, just as a tree can only grow taller by shooting deeper roots. I do believe that a lot of our global problems can ease out if we would empower ourselves more locally.

10. Is there a mission statement that you operate under?

I could invent quite a few, I think.. But such a statement draws things more to a rationally defined level, with which I always run into trouble. Let's just say, if I do have a mission, it is HA!

11. The HA!Man experience is much more than music. Tell me about other issues - ecological, political, social, faith - that you address.

I often address issues, but it does not quite make me an activist for any of them, specifically. I think these issues spring more from the life-attitude that evolved along with my performance practise. And yet, certain broad orientations are rather clear to me. First an foremost, a concern for the state of the planet and the fact that we are heading for serious crises on scales humanity has not had before. this calls at once for finding ways to deal with deep trauma and finding ways to alleviate the contributing factors. I am in no doubt that it is humanity's own actions that drives these crises in the first place, from global warming, to species depletion, food scarcity and environmental degradation. It all boils down to the way we relate within ourselves, living too far away from our own natural environments, our own physicality and limits as organic beings. Coming from a theological background, the spiritual implications of this are also close to my heart and mind. Broadly, we have allowed a spirituality do develop that became an escape from the physical world, rather than bringing us into connection with it. On the political front, what concerns me is the concentration of power on national levels, and today, the level of multinational corporations. These concentrations suck the life from the local level where people still feel for each other and know their environments more intimately, fostering a cancerous situation where these big entities become too big to fail.

12. Have you played the US before? What is the reaction from US audiences as opposed to other audiences, especially South Africa?

I am often ask how audiences differ fro around the world. At the core, reactions are very similar. I think the spontaneous character of my playing strikes almost a child-like nerve with most people, which is a more universal mode of response. but then you can have countries where the external responses in general are more muted, and this is certainly not the case with Americans. I appreciate the immediate energy given here by means of solid applauses and sometimes shouts. At the same time, I also learnt that there is a special regard in the States for the individual that rises up and achieve a measure of success, or at least try. Consequently, a strong applause here is not always an accurate indication of how "good" you were on a more objective level. In South Africa, you would soon know if you do not make a strong impression - the real feeling of audiences is more directly reflected. This can be sobering, but then again, audiences in the US are more encouraging, which can inspire you as a performer to a higher level, there and then.

13. What can we expect at the show at Box Factory?

Shall I try to be rational? Expect the HA! (my web site tries to give an impression of the ever evolving HA! performances through sound samples, videos and some descriptions)

14. Are you working on any projects? What is next for HA!Man?

A Mandela Celebration concert in upstate NY on 22 Nov. I am composing a song for the occasion and direct the programme which brings a number of art forms and performers together. A highlight to end the year with!

120511 Questions for the book 'Cultivating Original thought' by James Maberley (UK) Q1.

You have written about your "deep inner shift" between 1986 and 1988 and your subsequent "estrangement' from your past and from society in South Africa. This must have been a deeply challenging time when you were really not certain of who you were or what you were doing, although you seemed to know clearly that you wished to be a musician. It strikes me that this must have been a period of great vulnerability for you. You had broken the "norms' of accepted behaviour and whilst you had made the choice to do this, you must have been ridden with doubt from time to time. How did you cope during this very challenging period?


At first i was hiding it all inside. I was at the time a student at Stellenbosch University, studying to become a minister in church. I was really losing my stability in believing in a personal god. The faith complex within me faded, was strengthened anew, to just fade again. Cycles of doubt and anxiety and new insights. It amazed me how, through the creative application of language (supported by the Bible), i could still have a meaningful life within the church, even as a leader, without revealing my deepest doubts. As the faith structure slowly crumbled, it made way for a closer relationship to my body for instance. This in turn liberated my mind and senses so that the world could be seen and experienced in new and more open ways. This was seen and felt by others and often interpreted as spiritual growth. It would all depend on how far i could walk this road of new enlightenment (and darkness) and still be accepted within the faith community. Thus, I 'coped' by virtue of the fact that doubt is only one side of the coin. Doubt prepares the ground for new insights and as long as those can be meaningfully shared, one is saved from becoming alienated. I also coped by keeping conversations alive with those who had a sympathy and some understanding for my journey. Even though i often felt that such conversational friends did not fully grasp all my questions, conversing serves as a channel for emotional sharing, and that flow of feeling contributes to keep one's sanity in tact.

But then again, i also did NOT cope. I often broke down emotionally, taking flight with my bicycle into the mountains. Some relationships broke off including my first serious love. And a deep darkness grew inside of me as i had a strong sense that i would not ultimately be able to remain within the embrace of the faith community i grew up in. Communications with my mother (my father died when i was seven) also became very strained and convulsive. I was losing my anchors and the only way to cope with that was to consolidate, economize, digging deeper to find possible seeds for a small and new beginning.

I was able to finish my degree and church activities without breaking down completely. I switched my studies to music and found a room on a farm to stay in. A new relationship developed with a rebellious woman older than me. Some lose links remained with the church, but for all practical purposes i was out. I then threw myself completely into the world of music.


Having seen one of your workshops and been so affected by not only the music but also the effect it had on all the participants and indeed on all those watching, it seems to me that what you are doing is opening a doorway to their intuition and "giving them permission' to break with conventional teachings and "norms' and allow themselves to "taste' their own extraordinary natural creativity. How do you feel about this analogy? How does your thought process work in the process of conducting one of your performances or workshops?


The analogy is apt, albeit only from a more objective point of view. Conducting such a workshop, however, does not proceed from any conscious aim to break norms or make people discover themselves. Often such aims only succeed in creating yet another norm or rule that prevents the surprise of true discovery. The reality is also of course that no such liberation is guaranteed and even if a breakthrough is made, this might not be a pleasant experience, nor one that has any lasting effect.

I call myself the 'HA!' man exactly because i lack a rational basis for what i do. 'HA!' is not a rational concept. It is an expression, but an expression of what? It can certainly convey something, but that something is never fixed. Nor can it be taken for granted that it will be meaningful. And this is where the vulnerability sets in: nothing that can be held by the conscious mind can serve as an anchor in this process. I enter in silence. I proceed from an animal-like state, a pre-conscious state (that corresponds to a prehistorical state, or child-like state), i most often use no words until well into the process.

I cannot lead participants towards an outcome. I can only be, and through being facilitate an environment that may be of expansionary value for those present. So if you ask me about thought processes, i can only confess that thought processes in itself are counter-productive, unless you include under the umbrella of 'process' mental events like paradoxical thinking and meditative states - both of which serve to counteract a dominant mind so that feeling can flow through.

The question should rather be, how to describe the state of being you are in while you conduct such a workshop. Then i would refer to three basic aspects of being, all of which play a role in the process: the instinctive, the mental and the emotive. On a gut or instinctive level, silences and raw physical power emanates. On a mental level, meaning is expressed in metaphorical and often paradoxical ways, like, if you'd like to express yourself freely, then be totally focused; or, you are a fountain - do not do anything until you feel wet. Finally, on the motive level - which forms the crux of the whole event - feeling myself, the atmosphere around and each participant as while as the whole group - therein lies the deeper art, a dialogue of sensitivities, a play with colour, an openness to be human with each other.

It is in this sprouting of a certain state of being that the creative moment can occur, whether on a raw or experienced level, no matter. And when it occurs, even that cannot be taken for granted, or be properly defined. Nor can it be captured to be repeated. Most often, rational approaches to creativity tries to capture that 'which works' so that this can be outlined for repeated use. For the effect that you experience to come about, even the most sublime moment of artistic expression has its natural ending and needs to leave space for the next unknown.

The conclusion is not an outcome nor a product, but an event that lived with the fullness of flow.


You mention that working in education and with young people is given special focus. What is it about working with young people that is so inspiring for you? What is it that you are trying to convey to them?


The most obvious answer is that being young naturally leaves more scope for spontaneous expression as life is still largely unformed and free from too many constraints of surviving and succeeding in society. Secondly, creativity in itself is a youthful exercise, as it makes itself busy with that which is new and fresh. Given this, it is not much of a conscious choice for me to work with younger people. There's a mutual attraction at work here.

It does not close the door to working with other age groups too, of course. Creativity in that sense knows no boundaries. A good friend of mine that is turning 100 years old this year has this as one of his motto's: that to live a lasting life one needs to remain creative all along - something that he has achieved to a remarkable degree.

What i do get back from young people is their raw energies. They give me the freedom to be far more playful on stage than what is possible with adult audiences. And i think that my regular performances are emboldened by spending good amounts of time with younger people and especially pre-teenage children.

Again, the question of 'conveying' something to them is not quite apt, as i hardly have any 'message' in mind relating to them. I do exude a certain energy and my primary responsibility to then is to be myself in a most creative way, rather than to deliver a message or 'things to remember.' I believe that the meaning that is 'left behind' (and is reflected in the many outpourings of excitement, even life-changing experiences) springs mainly from what happened between us, rather than that which happened from me to them. Yes of course, i do enter with a certain focus and specialized experience, but all that is rather lame without that which is coming back from them, including their own creative beings. If change, or the breakdown of constrictive norms, is what is to be achieved, that comes about more effectively by acting-from-within by all who are present, rather than from a one-way process of conveying.


Entertaining and performing appear to come easy for you and yet your performances are not choreographed affairs. When I saw you run the workshop in Zimbabwe it was a spontaneous event and it was that factor that gave it its magic. However this approach is in conflict with an accepted business philosophy that "for all things to move forward effectively, a clear structure and goal should be determined'. It is of course a very effective method in that it gets things done, but having a blueprint for the entire process seems to negate the possibility of any additional creative intervention. In other words in adopting the process, they sell themselves short. As an artist, how do you feel about the concept of "releasing the expectations of outcome'?


I have already touched upon this. I think working towards the future is a devil. Yet it is a hallmark of human consciousness probably since the dawn of civilization. We have smartly developed linear structures in our minds, indeed to 'get things done' and make survival of a species possible on a scale never seen before on this planet. Yet working towards goals all rests on a fundamental illusion. And that illusion is that the future is attainable at all. We do not walk our lives on a line from the past through the present until the end of the future. We always remain in the present. In fact, if we would be able to reach the future, it will lose its meaning. The very essence of the future is that it is more open and unknown, just like a far-off horizon is to the traveller. Once that horizon is reached it is no horizon anymore. Behold! Another horizon lies ahead.. It is only in our minds that we can sustain the illusion that 'one day we will reach the future.'

Indeed, there is no magic in working towards a future goal. It sucks us dry from being surprised and it makes us fearful of discovery. Working towards a goal is an effort to narrow reality down to more elementary elements that can more easily be manipulated. But we are paying a huge price in the process. We lose balance. We keep on leaning forward. We lose the fullness of living in the present. And we neglect our past - that which should form a counterweight to the future. The result is not what we wish it to be, i.e. being more effective and economical. The deeper result is that we are never satisfied. Because we believe in reaching something that can never be reached. And so we created a world that forever dreams about and is planning to fix things for the future. Yet all along it creates such a web of complexities and intractable problems just because we fail to reckon with the whole. And the whole lies in and all around us. Not just in front of us.

I could enter a workshop with the idea that i want to inspire kids to become musicians. Or i could enter it making music and by chance infect those present to make music too. In the first case, i shape my work to serve the future. In the second, i work as a matter of present interest. In the first, i present. In the second, i am present. The first might just put a few kids on a trajectory to become pianists singers and band players. The second makes musicians of all for that moment. In which scenario were things really getting done?

It is a deep question, pertaining to all aspects of society. In the economy for instance, do we 'grow it' in order to 'create wealth?' Or do we look at that which is at hand and sustainably accessible and economize our material lives around it?

The trick is that the musician that was made from living for the future plays and looks differently from the one that unfolded through spontaneous expression. And these two are often cast in opposition to each other. The future-crafted musician specializes and achieves abnormal levels of skill that impress others into a humble silence. The organic musician that always just made music, however raw and unpolished it might have been, who experienced growth as a side-effect and not as a conscious goal, that musician is the one that could deliver magic with simple means, that might also impress, but without humbling others. The first adds music onto life, the second uses it as an expression of life. The first carry music with great effort and commitment, the second breathes it. The first's fulfilment lies in the glory moments of achievement, the second's fulfilment lies in being music each time it is expressed and can be carried through until its last breath.

If by "releasing the expectations of outcome' you mean that those expectations should be relaxed, i would again put it in paradoxical terms: the outcome that lives in you as a longing can only be achieved when it is forgotten. Being on stage often means to me to take those very real desires (of technical mastery of an instrument for instance) not as an outcome, but as a bundle of energy that can be invested in the present moment. Therefore, the conscious desire is brought into the whole, rather than projected away onto an abstract timeline. The result is mostly that the outcome do appear eventually, yet the primary experience and focus is not that of achievement, but that of continuous fulfilment, with so many more aspects coming into play than just the future.

It is in this sense that much more is getting done than when you narrow your scope in order to take a shortcut. Our future-obsessed culture get things done indeed, but pretty much only on a surface level. It all shines well, yet leaves layers and layers underneath in a neglected state. And then we wonder why we are afflicted with cancers, environmental doom and all sorts of depression?

Yet on this world-view stage i can also just be, rather than provide directives as to how to operate with a presence-consciousness as a business for instance. As an artist i can only be that consciousness within my limited means, throwing seeds to the unknown. Healing, like the magic you describe, is no achievement.


You have obviously had to work hard to develop your "work base' over the years with a lot of hard work on your part networking amongst friends and admirers across the world. There must however have been moments when you wondered where the money to buy your next meal would come from?
One of the great concerns that people may have in making a decision to "step out' and follow their own hearts is that they simply will not be able to finance themselves or their families or their way of life. You clearly made a decision to get on and make this work, despite the concerns that you would have to earn a living. How have you coped with this and what would your advice be to someone considering "stepping out'?


There is a very simple, yet serious realization that came over me through the years. And that is that money do not make people. People make money. Put in another way, money was not first, people were first. There can be people without money, but no money without people.

There is actually quite a strong parallel between the future and money. Both are abstractions. And both are made into gods that we choose to serve. 'Living for the future' or 'Live to earn money' are both expressing the desire to narrow life towards means that can be manipulated more easily. If i have money, i can buy all this stuff. It gives me power. Or if i have a clear goal, i can order my life effectively and remove doubts and gray areas. But again the illusion: just as the future cannot be reached as it always remains secondary to the present, just so can money never deliver the power it promises, because money derives its very meaning from people and not the other way around.

Yes, money has been a big theme all along my path as an improviser. I was often told how i could apply my talents better in order to earn more (become more famous). Yet i have never been out of money, except once when i had to ask a friend for about 20 pounds just to get by (a friend who offered to help me anytime i really hit the wall). Through the years of hitch-hiking in South Africa my overheads were minimal. I never lacked. But after buying a car and computer and building amplified music sets on three continents, my overheads rapidly rose and i was vulnerable to robberies, constant maintenance costs and especially transport costs. I often had fantasies of riches and fame and were rather open to being taken up in the more mainstream arenas, yet, always stopping short of giving up on my core focus of spontaneous (present-orientated) music making. Currently, after 20 years, i am doing financially just well enough to survive in a healthy way.

The reality is that in order to make this shift (towards a life and living that is deeply connected to my core being) i did go to lengths that most people would probably shy away from. For a decade i had no vehicle, hitch-hiking my way with a backpack on my back - which contained all my material possessions. I broke almost every rule in the book of modern day survival. I did not ask myself 'what do the people want.' I did not research where my 'niche-market' would lie. I did not insure myself. I did not try to make money out of money. I did not go after sponsors or grants. I definitely did not have a 'steady income' as an ideal.

So what did i develop then? How did i secure survival in a money-obsessed world? I can only say that i did three things. I asked myself: what do i want to do? And answered (the answer took years to reach me) that i want to go on stage with nothing. Then i asked myself: what is my success as an artist? My answer very early on was this: people. In relating to people, connecting, networking, communicating, in the exchange of meaning.. This i saw as the very basis of my 'career' - my insurance, my joy and my inspiration. Thirdly, i applied myself to these two things and all that it implies and entails: spontaneous performance and relating to people - audiences, hosts, friends, supporters, strangers.. Thus, my life consists mainly of performing and communicating and then moving along these life-posts of stages and people connections. And just like the future becomes a side-effect of the fulfilment of the present, so money becomes a side-effect of performing and relating to people.

I cannot give any specific advice. I can only be witness to the act that living from the primary elements mostly takes care of the secondary. Money is a devil too. We simply should not allow it to blind us to the fact that we created it in the first place.


You have alluded to the fact that you have often played with well-known people in important locations and the opportunity has been there for you to move country and step out and become a respected world recognised musician. Yet you have chosen to stay close to your roots and the continent from which you came. There is obviously a driving force behind this decision. With the potential of fame and international recognition there for you, what is it that keeps you from taking that step?


How much i have the potential - as an improvising musician - to become a known player on the world stage is a moot question. It actually begs the question in what way can the vulnerability of spontaneous performance survive the cranked-up lime lights of our global culture?

The added question should be why did i not then choose to shape my art into a more sellable commodity? And furthermore, is it really a requirement to be based abroad in order to become world-recognized?

I have never closed the door to entering more illustrious avenues as such, and there were many such encounters through the years. But even as i pursued these, they mostly reached dead-ends that i can mainly ascribe to at least two factors: they usually demand a higher level of specialization (especially in order to be able to 'box' you into a more recognizable category) and they had to compete with a rhythm that i have already grown with patterns of touring and voluntary commitments to people and places around the world. I therefore hardly ever found myself in a begging position and i gradually gained more and more confidence to say: 'well, if you would like to have me, take me for what i have become. Otherwise, peace!'

Often people would be very taken by my work and would feel frustrated that i am not known much more widely. They then wish me to find my 'big break' somewhere along the line, or they would reprimand me for not promoting myself properly, or letting myself be promoted properly.

Perhaps i should put my position regards these comments in negative terms: that yes, it is my fault that i find constant high levels of fulfilment, whether i play to 10 or 1000 people, whether in a location of no consequence or in one of note. I therefore lack the inner drive to climb the ladder so to speak. I am a weak achiever..

But i have made my peace in this regard. Working spontaneously is really digging into a more original field of music making and as such it is more about planting seeds than tending orchards full of fruit for masses of people to eat. And working with seeds asks for its own kind of input and nourishment. I therefore certainly find more nourishment in the continent of origins (Africa) than in a northern one where spaces are cramped out with orchards and lots of human fruits.

I do believe that there is still much scope for my contribution to be made effective on a wider scale, even if simply by natural growth as i move on in my (more primitive) way. Yet at the same time i am aware that i chose to work on a level that is not exactly conducive to mass consumption. Again, if i have to be recognized more widely, let this sprout from where i am based. And if i ever have to shift base, it must be for far more reasons than just to add quantity and fame to my name - both of which carries problems and limitations of their own.

Besides, i truly love (South) Africa and am glad to be able to call it home..

070123 Kimberley optrede onderhoud Ella, hallo!

Foto aangeheg -laat weet as jy nog wil he?

Jou vrae:

Wat behels die show by Gruispad?

Die gewone HA!Man vertoning met 'n spesiale tema: Gedigte wat handel oor reis deur myself en Marlene Zwiegers, deur ons voorgelees en met spontane musikale begeleiding deur myself. Hierdie gedigte handal oor plekke waar ons gereis het, maar ook or dimenesies van die begrip reis. Daar sal ook videobeelde vertoon word. Die HA!Man show is met elke optrede 'n unieke vloei van tjello met eletroniese begeleiding (ek put uit 'n groot poel van musiek, alles oorspronklik deur myself wat 'n wye verskeidenheid van musiekstyle insluit. Vanaf lig, tot dromerig tot baie energiek tot passievol tot musiek wat 'n unversele karakter het). As die oomblik my lei, dans ek ook, sing, speel klawerbord en kry gehoorlede om saam met my te kom improviseer.

Wat het jy alles gedoen vandat ons jou laas gesien het (reader's digest weergawe as dit te veel is om op te noem)?

Sjoe, sedert Maart verlede jaar was ek vir 'n week in Suid-Korea met 4 optredes, 2 maande in Europa en die VK met 28 optredes, 2 maande in Kanada en die VSA met 35 optredes (20 000km gery), 'n week in Namibie met 4 optredes en die res in al die hoeke van Suid-Afrika met wie weet hoeveel optredes, werkswinkels en klankbaanprojekte. 'n Hoogtepunt was die finale konsert van die onlangse Suidoosterfees waar die lied wat ek vir Afrika geskryf het (Her Time Has Come) met maasakoor, orkes, DNA Strings en Zanne Stapelberg uirgevoer is.

Wat is mense se reaksie op jou shows? Was daar al ooit negatiewe kritiek?

Reaksies soos: Jis, ek is nie 'n musiekkenner nie, maar ek het sit nou BAIE geniet.. Mense se dikwels hulle word baie geinspireer. Ander se hulle voel oorweldig en kan nie eintlik iets se nie. Ander is weer gefassineer deur die "opwindende" gebruik van die tjello in kombinasie met moderne tegnologie. Woorde soos "briljant," "onvergeetlik," en ook "geniaal" kom dikwels voor. Mens weet nie van al die negatiewe kritiek nie, want mense praat nie sommer daaroor met jou nie. Maar daar is, veral vanuit die geledere van streng klassiste wat nie hou van die speelsheid waarmee ek die instrument hanteer nie. Ook nie van die feit dat ek vele maniere gebruik om myself uit te druk nie (ek moet meer "spesialiseer"). Dan is daar die anti-tegnoloee wat net akoestiese klank wil hoor (ek oorwin wel sommige van hulle). Partymaal is daar kleiner lastighede soos musiek wat (net-net) te hard is. Oor die feit dat ek my eie "mixing" van die verhoog af doen en ek nog nie 'n beligtingsstelsel het nie verwag ek kritiek, maar kry dit nie.

Wat hou die toekoms vir jou in?

Ek het groot gevoelens vir groot sake, soos die toestand en toekoms van die mensdom, van Afrika, Suid-Afrika en die Afrikaners. HIerdie word in my musiek uitgedruk, maar ek praat en skryf ook daaroor. Wat ek vertrou die toekoms sal inhou is dat ek die platform sal kan ontwikkel om hierdie sake effektief aan te spreek, en 'n bydrae te ka maak. Dit impliseer dat ek plaaslik en internasionaal 'n profiel en stem ontwikkel wat gesien en gehoor en mee gekommunikeer word. Die pad is al 'n ent weg, maar die kruin is nog ver. Ek beplan om 100 jaar oud te word - as ons dan nog almal hier is..

Wat inspireer jou?

Mense, plekke, die natuur en vele kunstenaars in die hede ne verlede wat die menslike hart, verstand en liggaam kan en kon roer.

Wat is jou ideale? Wat hoop jy om deur jou kreatiwiteit te bereik?

Kreatiwiteit het nie doelstellings nie. Dit werk met die nou. As ek 'n ideaal het daarmee, is dit dat my kreatiewe tuin sade sal verpsrei wat ander tuine laat opkikker, herleef, en nuut begin. As kreatiwiteit eg is, dit wil se regtig put uit jou donkerste, en daarmee iets voortbring wat 'n onmiskenbare nuutheid en outentiekheid bevat, het dit verskeie kragte: 'n helende krag, 'n spirutuele krag, 'n kommunikerende krag. En dit is wat ons wereld nodig het: sommer baie heling, 'n spiritualiteit wat ons nader aan mekaar bring en nie kunsmatig in geloofskampe opsplit nie, en effektiewe kommunikasie om die globale krisisse waarmee ons sit aan te spreek.

Hoe lank speel jy nou al tjello?

33 jaar.

Beskryf jouself.

Te veel van 'n optimis, baie kind, maar ook geslaan met perfeksionisme. Sensitief in gevoel en gehoor, daarom dikwels meer eenkant. Lief gemix met geirriteerdheid, sensueel gemix met skaamheid en uniek gemix met "haai, jy lyk net soos..!"

040128 Onderhoud met / Interview with Rozanne Stoman (for English translation see below)

GEDAGTES soos per onderhoud vir dokumenter
(Rozanne Stoman, 2004, Knysna)

Hoe verstaan jy spontaniteit

Dit is om te doen wat jy graag wil doen sonder om bang te wees dat jy n fout gaan maak, dis dan eintlik om foute te maak sonder vrees, dit wil se jy laat jouself toe om klanke te maak, om musiek te maak sonder dat jy 'n waarborg het dat dit gaan reg klink. Of jy dit nou vir die eerste keer doen en of jy dit al vir jare doen, dit bly dieselfde. Jy het nooit daardie waarborg nie. Maar wat jy het is n sekere vertroue. Jy vertrou dat iets gaan gebeur wat nie maar net afgeskryf gaan word nie, of iets gaan gebeur wat kommunikeer. Om spontaan te wees vra allerhande kante, dis nie maar net go with the flow en maak wat jy wil nie. Jy fokus ook en jy luister na wat jy speel.

Wat gaan in jou kop aan terwyl jy speel?

Jys eintlik besig om te dink oor wat jy doen terwyl jy dit doen ook. Maar daai dink kant, daai analitiese kant is nooit so sterk dat dit jou laat vrees vir die vryheid nie. Dis nooit so sterk dat jy verbouereerd raak nie. Jy dink, jy analiseer, jy beplan tot 'n mate, jy antisipeer, sonder dat die vloei verlore gaan, sonder dat jy jou boldness verloor. Want dit vra 'n sekere boldness. Jy wil iets se en nou GAAN jy dit se. Jy wil iets hoor en nou GAAN jy dit hoor. Jy speel 'n klavier en jy dink, wow, ek wens dit wil nou net so klink en dan MAAK jy hom klink.

Jy doen baie dinge op dieselfde tyd. Is dit nie beter om meer te fokus op dit waarmee jy goed is nie?

Wel, daar was 'n stadium in lewe dat ek selfs minder gefokus was! Ek het in amper alles belang gestel - all die kunsvorme, die akademiese dissiplines, al die kulture, vorme van uitdrukking. Ek het geleer om integrasie net soveel te waardeer as spesialisasie. Ek was gefassineer - en is steeds - deur die manier waarop die geheel van dinge die details betekenis gee. Met ander woorde, daar is 'n Kunsvorm wat groter en dieper strek as die verskillende kunsvorme van die dag. Daar is 'n Vaardigheid wat al ons onderskeie vermoens onderle. Ek het 'n manier ontwikkel om soveel op die geheel te fokus as op die dele. Wanneer die geheel gesond en lewend is, bevrug dit al jou aksies en ontluik selfs meer vaardighede van onder af, soos wat die wortels van 'n boom die takke vanuit die aarde voed. Op die verhoog het ek deesdae 'n klein gemeenskap van vaardighede byderhand: hulle komplimenteer almal mekaar (soos hoe my tjellospel byvoorbeeld baatvind by liggaamsbeweging). In hierdie gemeenskap is daar ruimte vir die minder-ontwikkeldes, dit wat aan jou 'n broosheid skenk. Jou sterk punte dra nog steeds die dag, maar hulle domineer nie. Dit beteken minder perfeksie, ja. Maar meer menslikheid. Minder goddelikheid, maar meer gees.

Is jy oppad na sukses?

Al wat ek op hierdie stadium kan se is dat die gehore wat na my luister die meeste van die tyd soos die in Europa, en in VSA waar ek sopas was, is die reaksies verskriklik positief. Die gehore daar is SO excited, en dis lekker, dis asof n vars bries hulle tref en dit gee my die hele tyd daardie gevoel ek is iewers op pad heen. Ek is besig met iets wat die moeite werd is.

WIL jy groot gaan?

Ek se vir myself: as ek op klein skaal daardie tipe van erkenning reeds kry, hoekom nie later jare op n groter skaal nie? Maar nou ja, in my gedagtes is daar maar altyd vrae wat hang. En 'n mens werk primer met die hede, nie primer met die toekoms nie.

Geniet jy dit om met kinders te werk?

Baie. By kinders leer jy iets. Ek het n sekere vryheid met kinders, amper soos 'n geleentheid om te ekperimenteer, ek dink dit maak jou net los, jy gaan heeltemal mal, en hulle is self mal daaroor.

Waaroor gaan jou werkswinkels?

Ek praat oor spontane kreatiwiteit, en ek probeer oordra dat daar skatte binne in jou is. Rykdom le nie net buite jou nie. Ek neem gewoonlik die voorbeeld van musiek: ons dink in die algemeen dat musiek bestaan uit geskrewe note wat van buite na jou toe kom; maar daar is net soveel musiek binne in jou, in jou siel, in jou wese, waaraan jy moet aandag en uiting gee.

Is daar plek vir spontaniteit in vandag se wereld?

Spontaniteit is tog deel van ons lewens. En in die musiekwereld het dit nog nooit uitgesterf nie. Daar's jazz en jazz is groot vandag. Daar is baie tradisionele musiek wat spontaan geinfiltreer is wat vandag gepopulariseer is as wereldmusiek, en jy kry stukke suiwer spontaniteit binne rock of binne jazz as die dromme of die saksofoon byvoorbeeld 'n kans gegee word om te GAAN. Dis dan gewoonlik ook daardie stukke wat mense mees opgewonde het. So as jy vra of dit 'n plek het vandag, wil ek se dit is daar in elk geval. Dis net dat dit n bietjie stief behandel word. Daar is 'n baie groot parallel tussen die situasie met vroueregte 'n 100 jaar gelede. Vroue is nie uit die samelewing verwyder nie, maar hulle het maar 'n raw deal gekry. En spontaniteit le vir my in daardie meer feminine area, minder rasioneel, minder gereguleerd. Soos daardie ander groot vroulikheid - ons Aarde - behandel ons dit maar baie stief.

Wat kan die HA!Man hieromtrent doen?

Wel, vir lank het ek gewonder of ek hoegenaamd in die wereld inpas met my benadering, wat nog te se iets doen omtrent die toestand van die wereld. Maar ek was ook nog nooit sonder ambisie nie. Iets dryf my gedurig om te ondersoek hoe ek wel 'n betekenisvolle bydrae kan maak. Diep binne glo ek in die waarde van spontaniteit, dat dit noodsaaklik is vir ons vandag. Ek dink nie ek kan veel meer doen as om maar net aan te hou speel nie!


IDEAS as per interview for documentary
(Rozanne Stoman, 2004, Knysna)

What is spontaneity?

It is to do what you really want to do without being afraid that you will make a mistake, it is to be able to make mistakes without fear, it is to say you allow yourself to make sounds, to make music without the guaruantee that it will sound correct. This can be applicable whether you do this for the very first time or have been doing this over years. It will always stay the same. You never have that gauruantee. But what you have is a certain trust. You trust that something will happen which can not be written down, but will be able to communicate. It is a trust. it takes a lot of levels to be spontaneous, it is not just "go with the flow" and do whatever you want. You focus and you listen to what you play.

What is going on in your mind while you are playing?

You are actually busy to think about what you are doing while you are doing it. But that "thinking" side, that analytical side is never so strong that it will make you fear the freedom. It is never so strong that it will make you anxious. You think, you analyse, you plan to a certain extent, you anticipate without losing the flow, without losing your boldness. Because it asks a certain boldness. You want to say something and you are going to say that something. You want to hear something and you are going to hear that something. You play the piano and you think, wow, I wish it sounds just like this and than you MAKE it sound like that.

You are doing a lot of things at the same time. Is it not better to focus on one thing that you are good at?

Well, there was a stage in my life when I focused even less! I was interested in almost anything - all the art forms, the academic disciplines, all the cultures, forms of expression. I came to value integration as much as specialization. I was fascinated- and still am - by the way the whole of things informs the details, in other words, there is an Art which is greater than the various art forms of the day. There is a Skill that underlies all the different skills we practise. So I developed a way of focusing as much on the whole as on the parts. If the whole is sound and alive, it infuses all your actions, and cultivates new skills from below, like roots giving water to the branches of a tree. On stage today, I have a community of skills at hand: they all complement each other (like for instance my cello playing would be anhanced by my movement skills) and the added dimension to the audience is that you present them with the reverberation of the whole - the magic, if you like - as well as the shine of the details. Technique infused by spirit.

Are you on a success path?

All that I can say at this stage is that the audiences that listen to me, most of the time, I was in Europe and the USA, react extremely optimistic. The audiences over there get SO excited, and it is great, it's like a wind that blows through them and it gives me the feeling that I am on my way somewhere. I am busy with something that is truly worthwhile.

Do you WANT to go big?

I tell myself that if I receive this kind of recognition on a small scale, why not also on a bigger scale in years to come? But inside my thoughts there are always questions hanging. And one works primarily with the present and you are not fixated on the future.

Do you enjoy working with children?

Greatly. Children teach you something. I have a certain freedom with children, almost like an opportunity to experiment. I think they liberate you, you go completely crazy and they are actually mad about it.

What are your workshops all about?

I speak about spontaneous creativity, and I try to convey that, you know, there are treasures inside of. Wealth and riches do not only exist outside of yourself. I usually take the example of music: we generally think of music as of written notes that come to you from the outside; but there is as much music withIN each of us, in your soul, your being, to which you must give attention and expression.

Is there still a place for spontaneity in today's world?

It is part of our lives in any event. And in the music world it has never truly died. There is jazz, which is big today. There is a lot of traditional music which is strongly infiltrated by spontaneity which today is popularized as world music. And then you get the momemts of hardcore spontaneity in rock and jazz music when the drum or sax player for instance is given the opportunity to "let go." It is usually these moments that get the crowds going. Thus, spontaneity is there all the time. It is more about the fact that it is TREATED rather badly. There is a great parallel between this and what we had a 100 years ago with women's rights - they were not removed from society, but they had quite a raw deal. Spontaneity to me comes from a more "feminine" place - less rational, less regulated. Like that other great feminine entity - our Earth - we treat her in a pretty degrading way.

What can the HA!Man do about it?

Well, at first I doubted whether I fit in at all with my spontaneous approach, let alone do something about the state of the world. But I have never been without ambition. So it drives me to explore how I can contribute. And deeply, I believe in its value, that it is a necessary thing today. All I can really do about it, is to keep on playing!