Local indie for my ears

By Jehan Ara Khonat

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Funny should you listen?

Replace why with funny. Just try it… Doesn’t make a lot of sense, right? But I’ve got a hunch that that’s the point.

You probably haven’t heard of this indie band yet, but Dear Reader, hailing from the city of Johannesburg, play a composition of music and words that send currents reaching out of your speakers to give a slight shock to your heart and mind.

Let’s face the fact that the recent music uprise of South Africa seems to be taking place in the form of sound and beat over matter. Die Antwood and Locnville have been grabbing international attention, but do they really represent South Africa? Sure Die Antwood is Afrikaans and Locnville keep it real, but what about the less party crazed crowd who listen to music for meaning and also those that produce for purpose?

Dear Reader, comprised of Cheri MacNeil, Darryl Torr, Jean-Louise and Michael Wright, play with a mixture of acoustic guitar, keyboard and drums to inspire a subtly soothing ambiance that is finished off sweetly by the female vocals and catchy lyrics that leave you with something to chew on.

Previously known as Harris Tweed, the name change came about due to the Scottish Harris Tweed Authority sending lawyer papers about using their name. However this only led them to work from The Younger to finding a new sound emerging on their album Replace Why with Funny.

Yet that isn’t the only international attention they’ve been given. Performing a tour through Europe they were interviewed by many, getting the South African sound and importance past the borders.

Reminiscent of other renowned indie female leads such as Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson and Florence + the Machine, Dear Reader has a striking edge. Set in their Southern African heritage, their songs The Same and Out out out deal with the personal issues of the remnants of our current post-apartheid land.

Such a great divide between you and I. How I wish it would go… I don’t listen to Kwaito, wasn’t born in Soweto, I don’t understand you, but I want to (The Same).

Arguably the songs can blur into one another after a while, but a fair amount of listens allows you to differentiate the expressive lyrics and message that stand out in each song.

Hard to place their sound of alternate indie, folk and pop, this proudly South African product stands out significantly from all other music. With a true sound of originality I promise within seconds of hearing her distinct voice on the radio you’d be able to place the name to the notes. So I suggest you either remember this name or memorize those words.

If you’re still not convinced they’re amazing, check out the live performance below -you can’t make this stuff up:

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