Brendon Bussy

Strange Neighbours at House of Joy

Posted in Events, Music by Brendon Bussy on September 19, 2011

Some time back I approached Kolade and Emma, to have a house concert at their home (the House of Joy) in Observatory, Cape Town. They very generously agreed. It went well and since then they’ve hosted at least one such event a month. It’s really grown with some high profile acts and good support. Well this month I’m back, this time supporting Masha in an evening of story telling using voice and sound this coming Sunday 25 September.

Antjie Donder - One of Masha's Strange Neighbours

Masha will dip into her new short story collection “Strange Neighbours”, bringing its menagerie of unexpected Capetonians to life. These include trolls with a taste for pepper spray, mermaids and mysterious roast chicken eating backyard dwellers. Brendon will provide the live soundtrack using his perishable and astoni…shing instrument inventions – Gourmet Harps and other noise makers made from the bits we normally throw away.

There’ll also be tales from other parts of the world, including the beautiful world of Inuit (Eskimo) legend. But beware: these are grown up stories. Dark secrets will be revealed in these stories with and without words.
Here are the details: (more…)

How We Made Noise at Out The Box

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Music, Soundtracks, Theatre, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on September 15, 2011

Noise was prevalent at last week’s Out the Box festival, and I made some of it.

I created original music and sound design using a table lamp amongst things, for Ubom! Theater’s Door and sound design for Kim Kerfoot’s hilariously dark Guillotine – part of Iqonga, Handspring Puppet Company’s experimental platform at the festival.

And I also found ample opportunity to test drive one of my new instruments, a perishable harp made from a 5 litre bottle and bamboo rod. Nicknamed ‘the Stick Insect’ I played it at the festival launch and garnered some favourable astonished responses (“What’s That?”). Then I used it as part of a performance workshop which Jori Snell and I ran called ‘Land of the Underneath‘.  Here’s a dramatic picture:

Playing the Stick Insect

And here’s a close up: (more…)

Children’s Theater – Not Only for Children

Posted in Soundtracks, Theatre by Brendon Bussy on September 15, 2011

So the Out the Box festival is over. A huge selection of performances, but I managed to get a taste of some of the best, much of which was high class children’s theatre.

I’ve realised the challenge of children’s theatre – how do you keep a highly energetic and perceptive audience enthralled for the duration?

I saw The Sand Boy, a simple story – a boy on a beach fashions a boy out of sand who then comes to life, has many adventures (including an epic fight with a lobster), then falls for a mermaid. It sounds light and it was, however the story was a vehicle for a sensual feast utilising complex lighting, a dramatic and detailed instrumental score, not to speak of the smoke and bubbles (!). I was really impressed at Omar Alvarez’s skilful control of all aspects of the production, including of course, the puppet manipulation, an impressive demonstration of an Argentinian tradition of puppet theatre where the manipulator does everything on stage.

The Sand Boy with his Mermaid

Another highlight was Bye Moon presented by the Belgium based Pantalone company. At only 10mins long, many avoided it thinking it wouldn’t be worth the ticket fee. (more…)

How to Create Noise Makers with Personality

Posted in Design, Invention, Music, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on August 3, 2011

In early September Cape Town’s Out The Box festival comes to life. Its focus is ‘puppetry and visual theatre’ and presents quite an eclectic mix of performance media – the traditional plus all of the newer stuff (video, installation etc).

I’ll be presenting two workshops, one with Jori Snell – which explores sound and movement (read more about it here). And one solo which focuses on the nitty gritty of building and playing unusual string instruments, or more broadly speaking, ‘noise makers’ for use in theatre and life.  See below for the detailed info.  And if you need to know more, you can contact me directly.

Water Bottle & Sardine Can Segankuru (Zulu fiddle)

How to Create Noise Makers with Personality
Sunday 11 September
10h00 to 16h00 (6 hours)
Venue: Cape Town, venue to be confirmed

This workshop focuses on making and using unique and quirky musical instruments. (more…)

Konis Phonis Homo Habilis

Posted in Design, Events, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 20, 2011

A few happy customers after Saturday’s open day Kone Phone drive.

Happy little injun with Khonephones 🙂


Open Studio & DIY Konis Phonis Exploratika

Posted in Design, Events, Invention, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on July 13, 2011

This Saturday my studio workshop will be open to anyone interested to see what I’ve been up to.

I’ll show you a few of the musical instruments I’ve made and you’ll also be able to make yourself a personalised set of Kone Phones (Konis Phonis Exploratika).

Or just have a cup of tea and chat 🙂

when:  This Saturday 16 July 2011
time:  10 – 3 (but we’ll probably run later)
place:  12A Chamberlain Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
directions: Drive down Roedebloem Rd and turn right into Chamberlain just after the Woodstock Lounge. It’s the pink house on the left.  Google Map

If you know that you’re coming drop me a line if you have a chance. Or just rock up.

See you 🙂

A satisfied KonePhone - ista

Workshop: Making Useful Instruments

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New, Research, Workshops by Brendon Bussy on June 25, 2011

I’m going to be running a workshop focusing on building and playing stringed instruments made from found objects.

Based on traditional (and not so traditional) African instruments such as harps, fiddles, lutes – made from tins, cardboard tubes, boxes, and any suitable odd but useful object.

seriously playing a cardboard kora in district 6

In the first session we’ll explore (more…)

The Possibility of Self Adjustable Spectacle Lenses

Posted in Design, Invention, Materials by Brendon Bussy on June 6, 2011

Having worn glasses forever and heavily dependent on them – I can’t see what I’m typing now if I remove my specs, I’ve always wondered what I would do if I didn’t have access to an optometrist. Or worse, access to any of the technology required to have 20/20 vision.

So I find the initiative to make self adjustable lenses quite inspiring. And also to discover that someone’s been working on it for a while already. The innovator of note is Joshua Silver and the organisation of note is the Centre for Vision in the Developing World.

Have a look at the various approaches here which range from lens kits to fluid filled lenses which can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing fluid pressure.

Here’s the man himself wearing a pair of the fluid adjustable types. Note the (removable) syringes for lens adjustment.

Here’s a close-up: (more…)

How to Build a Harp in the Ground

Posted in Invention, Materials, Music, New Old Old New by Brendon Bussy on June 2, 2011

Last week Nicola Visser and I decided to make a Ground Harp.

So we met at Cape Town’s Constantia Nek and headed into the pine plantation equipped with spade and Angel the dog – the essential ground harp equipment.

We placed a soundboard over a hole which Nicky had dug amongst the roots of a tree. Then one foot on the board, we tensioned a length of nylon gut which had been attached to the centre of the board.



Listen to And Not But Speak

Posted in Art, Materials, Recording, Sound by Brendon Bussy on May 27, 2011

I’ve been hanging out with the wrong sort, but it’s not been bad.

Francis Burger and Christian Nerf who operate on the sanding edge of conceptual art here in Cape Town invited me to contribute to their new installation at the AVA titled ‘And Not But‘.

They asked me to interact with its centre piece,  a sculptural form.  By talking to it.  And recording the conversation.

Here’s a working model of the chap at the centre of  the attention, ‘And Not But’  (the final version in marble, wood and resin can be seen here):

And Not But (wood, wood glue, incidental ballpoint ink)

Well as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one going to be doing the talking. And just as well you might say (for those who know me).  (more…)