The history of the South African music scene really shows the passion which is found in the hearts of all music lovers. It has persevered despite a wide variety of challenges, including global interest, conservatism and the apartheid era.
The first official organized music training was introduced to South Africa by Christian missions ages ago. The first recorded South African song to have been written was written in Zulu. African tribes were the most prominent in writing and performing music during that time. Most of the other music enjoyed in South Africa had landed on its shores with the ships of white settlers from different parts of the world.
The British colonizing of South Africa, as well as apartheid in later years, forced a separation between the white and African population of South Africa, and for many years, music was developed within individual cultures. With one or two exceptions.
In the 1950’s the music industry began to boom. For the first time since the beginning of the apartheid rule, there was collaboration between African and white musicians. By the 1970’s South Africa had developed both in its infrastructure and population, and its music industry to begin attracting international artists. However, the majority of the South African population still being conservatives, the music industry remained somewhat suppressed.
At the turn of the century, South African music was released from its conservative bounds and allowed to grow freely. Today, South Africa has a variety of musical genres as diverse as its people and its culture. From the sounds of jazz in the streets of Hout Bay to the mass sokkies in the Pretroia town hall, and everything in between.
In recent years, proudly South African artists have begun to make their mark.
Faraway George is one of those artists. A young, vibrant folk artist who is tacking the South African music scene by storm!
The story starts in Polokwane, Limpopo. A boy is born, with him, a passion which immediately begins shaping the course of his life. He grows up in a typical Afrikaans family. At age 14 he picks up a guitar and learns to play.
In August 2015 the boy, now living in Robertson, Western Cape, quits his day job and moves to Pretoria. His talent is spotted by a local radio station, Jacaranda FM. The station begins to air his single, Nooit te Laat, and the star known as Faraway George is born.
Less than a year, and 120 live performances later, mayor singer/songwriter and award-winner Elvis Blue chooses Faraway George as his support artist for his Erens in die Middel van Nerens tour.
In 2016 Faraway George released his first album, Vir ‘n Vreemdeling, on iTunes. Since, he has also appeared on the Expresso morning show on SABC 3. His show count to date is around 250.
Listen to Vir n Vreemdeling on iTunes
Faraway George felt that he could relate to many of the things that he had heard on the radio as a young boy. This feeling grew later in life as he began to play the guitar. However, he pursued a different career all together before beginning his musical career.
“It was a massive risk to take at first. There was no guaranteed success. I went from being in a comfortable working environment to the unknown world of music.”
A Duo was formed by Faraway George and his brother and fellow musician, Fritz Gun. They called themselves Vasco Bromada. The two toured across South-Africa and later played at STRAB in Mozambique.
After the airing of his song ‘Nooit te Laat’ on Jacaranda FM, Faraway George was asked to go on tour with platinum selling artist Elvis Blue as a support artist. He accompanied Elvis Blue for 12 shows. During this time, he met and built relationships with many of South Africa’s leaders in the musical industry.
Soon after touring with Elvis Blue, Faraway George recorded and released his first EP, Vir n Vreemdeling.
“I’ve been very blessed to have been sharing the stage with some of South Africa’s greatest musicians, producers and songwriters. When you get to learn from someone who have been through the exact same struggles and doubts that you are dealing with… it means a great deal to me. It helps to be open to good criticism, constantly learning and becoming who you want to be.”
Faraway George grew up listening to artist like Glen Miller, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Nat King Cole, Sixto Rodriguez, John Meyer, Chevelle, Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Beach Boys. These were all artists who have very influential in his own music. His musical style consists mainly of Afrikaans Folk with strong Jazz and Rock roots.
“At one point, there was no boundary considering genre. I could listen to anything, but sometimes all I wanted was the blues. I have heard people call my my music Afrikaans Folk and I’ve started to enjoy the sound of that. Usually I write from a place where I share my personal experiences, sometimes even that of others. It’s always tricky to write in a way that really tells a story.”
His roots run deep and he stays true to them in all aspects of his life, including music. He is currently working on new songs for a new album. His hopes for the future of his music? He describes it best:
“I want to make good music and continue to make music. I don’t want to famous or popular for something I am not.”
Faraway George is quiet and down to earth. His demeanor often leaves one wanting more. He speaks in a soft, deep voice. He describes one of the biggest highlights of his career as being as the phone call from his parents saying that they had heard his song on the radio. His free time is spent on various DIY projects, exploring and enjoying time with his family.
His philosophy for life is simple. Leef en Laat Leef (Live and Let Live).
“If we can set aside our differences we might be able to discover a whole new world from each other.”
Faraway George offers this advice for aspiring new artists, “get yourself some honest and crazy friends and play music together!”
This OR That
At the end of our interview, I asked Faraway George a few ‘This or That’ questions:
Road Trip OR Cruise Ship?
Coffee OR Tea?
Eggs & Bacon OR Pancakes?
Eggs & Bacon
Hairdo OR Hat?
T-Shirt OR Button-Up?
Game of Thrones OR The Voice?
Bowling OR Putt Putt?
Mansion OR Farm House?
Dogs or Cats?
Freddie Mercury OR Justin Bieber?