S h o w..D e s c r i p t i o n s


170223 Short HA!Man Show Description The HA!Show is a musical experience that offers a rare journey through a range of emotions. The HA!Man (Francois le Roux) is a classically trained composer, cellist and pianist, but his all-original music is tapping from a wide range of styles and traditions, making extensive use of improvisation and electronic accompaniments. There is no set programme. Each performance of a series of suitable items unfolds uniquely. The audience is constantly on edge at each new inspiring surprise and is lead to a home-coming climax. Soul to soul, heart to heart, with loads of energy. HA!
160614 Show description with venue samples To be a HA! performance, spontaneity needs to lie at its core. It actually covers a range, from raw improvisation at one end, to prepared items at the other, unless it is intended as a full-on improvised performance (usually acoustic - piano and dramatic voice, for instance). Normally a HA! performances is item based with no pre-planned programme. I draw from a pool of accompaniments next to me on my laptop, then improvise along with it, mostly with the cello, but also keyboard, flutes, dancing and whistling. When appearing as guest, Joke would join me at times, improvising with words in a poetic-song like manner, picking up on (or fighting) the atmosphere I create, finding expression for her own feelings, telling stories, reading poems or addressing issues of human import. The whole show becomes a journey, broadly starting out slow and soft, going into high energy and challenging sounds, culminating in more home-coming and connecting items, by which time interaction with the audience might have grown - sometimes even towards everyone joining into song or dance. The HA!Show adapts naturally to different types of settings and audiences, but generally flourishes in a focused and open-minded atmosphere.

The backbone of the HA!Man performance schedule is made up of house concerts, followed by community events (art galleries, studios, schools, churches), smaller music and theatre venues and by occasion, especially when collaborating with choirs and orchestras, bigger and more prominent venues. Of the latter, a long list of examples includes these: Southern Africa - Oude Libertas Teater, Guy Butler Opera Theatre, Swaziland House on Fire, Johannesburg Linder Auditorium, Endler Hall, Kalk Bay Theatre, HB Thom Teater, Sandton Theatre on the Square, Die Boer, Backstage Theatre Windhoek, Wellington Breytenbach Sentrum, Cape Town Novalis Ubuntu Centre; (Europe) Cafe Mandela Copenhagen, Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen, Hotel Le Meurice Paris, Zuid-Afrikahuis Amsterdam, St Nicholas Cathedral, Gent; (North America) Chicago Swedish American Museum, Henry Miller Library CA, Toronto Arts and Letters Club, Hawaii Honoka'a Peoples Theater, Los Angeles Besant Lodge and Center Studios Immersive Dome, Cincinnati Kennedy Heights Arts Center and Schenectady Proctor's Theatre.

The HA!Man Show in various guises has also in the past featured at the following festivals in South Africa: The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, KKNK, Woordfees, Kolligfees, Innibos, Suidoosterfees, Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen and Aardklop.
160429 Examples of Typical HA! Show Items Current Favourites

" "vir mariana" - recording made for my mother just before she died, 26 January 2016 (HA!Man)
" "moving Johannesburg" - video images of the city of gold with multiple african drumbeats
" "The old man" - poetic tale of a blind man looking for direction (Joke Debaere)
" "the Madenss makes me Homesick" - poem about the European refugee crisis (Joke Debaere)

A. Show start

1. HA!Man: Slow moving and transporting improvisation with cello, sustained keyboard pad and string sounds, whistling, voice
2. HA!Man with accompaniments like "african night sounds," "song before sleep" and "a million stars."
3. HA!Man accompanying Joke with semi-improvised poem "a home i cannot name"

B. Improvisations

1. Solo improvisations on cello, keyboard
2. Layered improvisations, recording different instruments one after the other
3. Improvisations on themes given by the audience

C. Classical-styled pieces (HA!Man)

1. Orchestral arrangement of poem by Jan F.E. Celliers, "Die Ossewa"
2. "Sonnet 30," a modernized medieval English chant
3. "when the herd came down," string orchestra soundtrack to a scene of elephants coming down to the water side
4. "A Polovetsian Dance" - a free-style arrangement of Borodin's like-titled dance from the opera Prince Igor
5. Arrangement of Mendelssohn's Wedding March

D. Items with Joke Debaere

1. Improvised poems with HA!Man improvised accompaniments (keyboard, cello, voice) in English, Dutch and French cabaret style
2. "The old man" - poetic tale of a blind man looking for direction
3. Improvised piano duo
4. Playing the mbira with HA!Man improvised accompaniment
5. Dramatized texts from the collaboration "Relentless Universe" (Los Angeles, 2015)

E. Extracts from Soundtracks

1. "Migrations" - another LA based collaboration
2. The Stutterheim engines project - featuring the rhythmic sounds from old running engines
3. Tracks from "Skepping 7," a music-sound journey based on Genesis 1

F. The epic songs

1. Her Time Has Come (for Africa)
2. Beautiful Land (for South Africa)
3. Afrikaner is my Naam (for the 21st century Afrikaner)
4. It's up to Us (for community empowerment)
5. Lekke Lekke Cape Town

G. Other Types of Pieces

1. Pieces for HA!Man to dance on: "love dance," "to lose it in all its details," "Grand Africa" and "when the heart is sensed"
2. Issue related pieces like "Global Warming
3. Pieces with a personal story behind it like," "on her death" and "for mariana"
4. Place-related pieces like "america" and "Chicago Industrial"
5. Africa-style pieces like "African Groove," "my africa" and "mene-mene"
6. The rest is categorized under mystical, spiritual, experimental, high energy, jazzy, melancholic, festive and home coming pieces...

H. Video Tracks

1. "On wings of Wind" - traversing a sea of "kosmos" flowers
2. "Rainbow Dance" - slide show with effects of dancing South African youngsters along with the track "first contact"
3. "On being Nguni" - visuals of indigenous african cattle in wild habitat along with track "my africa"
4. "moving Johannesburg" - video images by HA!Man and Joke Debaere of the city of gold, with a multiple african drumbeat soundtrack
5. "Song of Nature" - video and images by HA!Man and Joke Debaere of the Seweekspoort mountain area along with poetic text by Joke

150823 performance description A HA! performance starts with silence and no predetermined programme. All live playing and singing is improvised and each performance is therefore unique. HA! is a breath and also a jump into the unknown. And yet, many layers of experience build a trustworthy journey that each time reaches a connecting destination. This unique creative journey travels from the inner world to the external world, from the minimal to the expansive, the healing to the boisterous, then reaching the world of interacting and homecoming. The sounds and words reflects life experience and bring intense emotions, vivid landscapes and dramatic stories into play. Main mediums are the cello, keyboard instruments, flutes, body movement, words, voice and acting. Layered electronic recordings serve as accompaniments, covering and renewing music styles from the classical to world music (especially african), elements of jazz and popular music genres. Video projection are sometimes added, enriching the HA! experience with images of road travel, nature and people from around the globe.
150728 Omskrywing van 'n HA! vertoning Die HA!Man en Joke Debaere besluit nooit vooraf op 'n program nie. Hulle optredes is elke keer uniek, soos wat hulle die verloop van 'n program item vir item aanvoel om sodoende beide hulself en die gehoor voortdurend te verras. Items wissel vanaf solo improvisasies (tjello en klawerbord), die gebruikmaak van oorspronklike elektroniese begeleidings waarmee saam geimproviseer word, temas uit die gehoor waarop geimproviseer word en dan duette van woord en musiek, soos wat Joke Debaere intree met geimproviseerde gedigte. Die resultaat is telkens 'n reis met 'n besliste begin en bestemming, 'n boeiende vloei van 'n ryke verskeidenheid style en emosies wat moeilik met woorde omskryf kan word. Elke program is 'n "HA!" wat diep ontroer en begeester.
150127 HA!Man Show Content Samples o overall flow: The programme follows a particular curve: from the serious and atmospheric, to the demanding and interesting, to the heartfelt and relaxing.
o apart from the cello other elements include the singing voice, whistling, the keyboard (piano and organ if available), small flutes, found objects and the dancing, moving body.
o the setting often inspires the moment, whether there's water nearby, or certain light effects or a crying cat.
o audience interaction and participation is encouraged as the programme develops
o the spirit of spontaneity (HA!) is felt throughout
o examples of items that might appear:
o Contemplative solo cello and keyboard improvisations
o Collaborative improvisations with voice and word artist Joke Debaere, also as a music duo
o Spontaneous cello with electronic tracks, such as Song for Women (created for the South African Woman of the year ceremony),
o Stutterheim Engine Museum piece (music layered on recordings of century-old running engines with added cello), "African night sounds," "Relentless," "Global Warming" and "Grand Africa."
o Extracts from varous soundtracks, for instance that of "Skepping 7," the Twelve Princesses (for children), "Moving Chicago," "Gumbo," "Migrations" and "10 Green Bottles" (about creativity with waste) and the "Knysna Elephants"
o Improvisation on a series of notes given by the audience
o Original arrangements of classical favourites, like "The Swan" by Saint-Saens and Borodin's "Polovetsian Dance."
o spontaneous collaboration with a member of the audience
o orchestral arrangements of South Africa folk songs like "Sarie Marais" and "Al le die berge nog so blou"
o cello with standard accompaniments like "Light Steps," "Coming Home," "Waltz for a Fractured World," "Global Warming" "Relentless," "East to Africa," "Salsa" and many more
o Singing some of the famed HA!Man choir songs like "Her Time Has Come" (song of dedication to Africa), "It's Up To Us" (community empowerment), "Lekke Lekke Cape Town" and "Child of the World" (caring for all children and the child within)
130627 eerste persoon inleiding Dit is nie maklik om te beskryf wat ek doen nie. Ek speel tjello en klawerbord vanuit my gevoel en skep musiek in die oomblik. Ek maak ook gebruik van elektroniese begeleidings wat ek deur die baie jare van voltydse optredes geskep het. Die musiekstyle wissel grootliks, maar wat konstant bly is musiek wat vol gevoel en energie is. Jy kan die improvisasie noem as jy wil. Ek noem dit sommer net HA!. Saam met my, vir die laaste jaar, reis Joke Debaere van Belgie. Sy improviseer met woorde en stem in drie verskillende tale. Ook haar werk is vol van gevoel. Julle kan op my webwerf www.hamanworld.com gaan lees wat mense van ons optredes se. Ek haat dit om my eie beuel te blaas. Net dit: wat ons doen kom jy nie elke dag tee nie. Jy sal iets ervaar wat jy nie maklik kan beskryf nie, maar jy sal weet dat jy geraak of geinspireer is. Wat ons waarborg is 'n wye reis en kos vr die siel. Dis al.
Francois le Roux, die HA!Man
120918 more on the HA!Man performance A HA! performance proceeds from the unknown - no set programme, no presumption as to what the audience will like or not. An open and minimal atmosphere is created at first, proceeding to challenging and fresh experiences, bringing it all to the home and heart in the end. The HA!Man draws from a pool of original electronic recordings to accompany his cello playing, which is always spontaneous. No piece will ever be played in the same way. He draws these as the feeling between him and the audience develops. Apart from the accompaniments, solo improvisations on the cello and keyboard are also included, even some flute playing, dancing and whatever else a specific event may bring forth. He may also be moved at moments to speak his heart, improvise a song, a poem, or be joined by members of the audience - turning raw expression into magic. This typical magic is not possible without the unknown, the unknown that can also frustrate, as many today are used to a certain minimum amount of information on which to decide their attendance. That the HA!Man has the gift and experience to turn this into what can be a deep recognition, an inspiration and an overall entertaining experience, is attested by regular standing ovations and highly appreciative responses. In a rushed world, the HA! calls out for a moment of turning within, of mental and emotional openness, to move the heart and mind in a way not commonly found.
120123 General EV format paragraph The HA! stage is a playground of instruments and often other art forms too. His main instrument is the cello, then the piano, making use of original electronic accompaniments, which in themselves carry the spirit of spontaneity and provides for a glittering array of musical styles and textures. You may catch some classical, some African, touches of the east and the Mediterranean, serious and pop, dream-like music in the beginning, then challenging sounds, high energy and finally purely homecoming entertainment. His skill as an improviser is widely admired and he may surprise at any time with taking themes from the audience, making up songs and poems, dancing and talking about deep issues and who knows what the specific occasion might deliver. The experience elicits strong responses, including this one from Greg Pastoll in Cape Town: "If you go to your grave without seeing this show, you will have let history pass you by." Ultimately, the HA! Show brings people together, touching on a human core that is accessible to the widest audience out there.
120109 SERVICES: the HA!Man Show The basic HA!Man Show has the spontaneous cello as its core, played solo, but mostly with accompaniments - a pool of original and varied electronic recordings collected over years of HA!Man travels and projects. Even though electronic and sampled, soundscapes and orchestras and traditional popular sounds are evoked in a variety of textures that hardly fails to keep anyone disinterested. The HA!Man Show is a journey of emotions, mental images and creative surprises, as adventurous and multi-faceted as the HA!Man's life itself.

Other elements on stage include the keyboard (piano and organ if available), small flutes, found objects and the dancing, moving body. The setting often inspires the moment, whether there's water nearby, or certain light effects or a crying cat. Depending on the character of the audience, lively interaction can develop, but not before the music has not firstly transported all to places less travelled by.

As the spirit of spontaneity reigns, the HA!Man Show format can swell and shrink - up to including guest performers, members of the audience even, choirs, instrumental groups and other art forms, such as action painting and poetry performances. These participants can come from preceding workshops where the ice towards spontaneous expression is broken and performance possibilities framed (see Services: Workshops). It can also go minimal to just the acoustic cello, or piano, or still moving body, or a theatrical mode like 'One Man and a Cello' where the instrument becomes a character. The shape of the event is often the result of communication between the host and the HA!Man to suit local conditions, issues and needs.

The magic and endurance of the HA!event lies in the inner skill of combining various contradictory elements into a holistic experience - as seemingly random elements can sound prepared - repeatedly confounding sceptics, both those looking for mere entertainment and those with a serious bent. Ironically, the magic makes it difficult to explain and to promote these events. To a certain extent, both host and audience need to open themselves to the excitement of the unknown and put an active trust in the creative process beforehand to contribute to a successful event.

Common formats are the house concert, fundraiser and community events, intimate public venues and theatres, garden picnics, events in church buildings, school halls and regular concert venues. When the format expands to include massed choir for instance, successful events have been held in major concert halls and opera houses. Then there are the odd venues, like a laundry or a boat or a cave, all pregnant with creative possibilities for the HA!