Brendon Bussy

Shower Songs Relaunches with a Splash

Posted in Events, Mandolin, Music by Brendon Bussy on August 27, 2012

After a protracted break from stage and stardom, Shower Songs, my duo with Masha du Toit will relaunch this weekend at the fabulous Voorkamer festival in Darling, South Africa.

Shower Songs (pic: Niklas Zimmer)

Voorkamer is Afrikaans for ‘front – room’, and the performances literally take place there –  in private homes in a variety of locations from the dorp (town) centre to township locations. A really nice community integrated project which brings high class performances (including ours 🙂 into interesting locations. Read more about the festival here.

Masha and I perform a very eclectic set – everything from pop to folk with some real oddness-es thrown in (blues, ancient song, funk anyone?) – all arranged for just mandolin and voice. Read more about us on Masha’s blog.

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If Walls Could Talk Would They Sing?

Posted in Art, Mandolin, Music, Research, Soundtracks by Brendon Bussy on September 30, 2011

In June this year I was approached by Renée Holleman to collaborate on a soundtrack for her upcoming show ‘A Novel in Parts’ at WhatIfTheWorld’s new premises in Woodstock, Cape Town.

The brief she gave me proved to be a great opportunity to explore Woodstock, the neighbourhood Masha and I had just moved into, as well as a useful challenge for my compositional techniques.

This is the final soundtrack:

Woodstock  is today primarily a Moslem community with a growing immigrant population from other parts of Africa, but up until the 1940’s it was a Jewish neighbourhood of Lithuanian decent. Renee explained that the show would touch on specific and tangential references to this context, especially as the exhibition was to take place in the old Woodstock Salt River Synagogue complex – the Hebrew Community Hall having been converted into the new gallery premises.

A detail from a work on the show ‘A Novel In Parts’

[See more images from the show here.]

She also explained that the soundtrack would need to have a clear link to the current context but also in some way evoke the past – and use sound to achieve this.  The starting point would be the location of the exhibition – the Synagogue complex, which had been de-consecrated in the late 1950’s, and had seen a number of other occupants, including a bicycle repair shop and a furniture manufacturer. (more…)

Land of the Underneath

Posted in Invention, Mandolin, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on September 30, 2011

After seeing our performance workshop at Out The Box, Caroline Calburn approached Jori Snell and myself to present a full length version of Land of the Underneath at the Inside Out festival(4-8 Oct in Observatory Cape Town). We agreed and Caroline also offered to help us a little by casting a critical directorial eye  (which turned out to be a real life saver!).

So after many late nights and bumping into tin cans (intentionally and unintentionally), Baba Yaga Theatre and Brendon Bussy are proud to present the new, fully enhanced, deliciously noisy and sensory adventure:

Land of the Underneath!

Suitable for 3 years to 100 🙂

Jori’s crown is played in Land of the Underneath

In ´Land of the Underneath’ a girl wakes up in a land where nothing is as it appears to be. In this land the not quite ordinary Noise Maker plays his instruments made of what we call ‘trash’, but for him they are magical objects. Together they discover a room full of delicious imagination where stories are born through objects and sounds come alive through playful movement. An interactive play inviting children of all ages to join the two characters on a journey of discovery.

Performance details (more…)

Death of Great Japanese Assimilator of Instrument Design

Posted in Invention, Mandolin, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on February 15, 2010

News from the US today that famed guitar builder Taku Sakashta has been found killed. This builder’s wonderfully crafted instruments really epitomise, for me, the skill required to successfully assimilate design.

Read the article here.

Have a look at his instruments – guitars of essentially American invention are given a subtle design twist making them unmistakably Japanese.

I’ve often admired his mandolins – in particular the famous Mustang with its reverse scroll. This is what an F Style usually looks like.

Does innovation like this die with the innovator?

Rant no.1: There’s that pause and then (dah dah dah) The Other

Posted in Mandolin, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on February 5, 2010

Often I’ve just finished a performance or I’m somewhere at a social gathering talking music and someone will ask me:  “What instrument do you play?”.

A simple question, yet I hesitate. Because I know that trouble is ahead. It goes like this:

1) my answer:  “I play the mandolin.”

2) questioner pauses

3) questioner hesitates, then:  “Wow [or similar expression] that’s so cool”

4) I wait in (dark) anticipation

5) questioner again:  “You know, my grandad played the banjo”

6) me:  “Great” except I’m thinking:  “why do I have to know this ?!!!”

Every time.

Now you might think me unfriendly or even ungenerous to think such thoughts.  (more…)