LIBRETTIST / COMPOSER / LYRICIST / PUBLISHED AUTHOR
It takes more than resolve to write a rock musical of epic proportion. It requires a deep-seated passion. From an early age, nurtured by a musical family, I was drawn to anything that required creativity and artistic expression. I soon learned to play several instruments and by the age of 16, I was composing music. While I seemed destined for a career in musical theatre, my life changed direction and songwriting was relegated to hobby status.
A few years ago, I got to a point in my life where I realised that it is better to have no regrets. I made the decision to follow my true vocation and with my family’s support, I embarked on my Rockville 2069 journey. The first step was to contact my school buddy Bruno. I was always comfortable with composing music but felt that it would be better to collaborate with a likeminded partner on a project of this size. Bruno and I shared a vision of inspiring positive change through music. Even though we are both products of the peace and love revolution that took place in the 60s and 70s, it took about a year to develop a concept based on the Woodstock Music and Art Festival of 1969.
Once the idea took root, we began writing and composing in earnest and it took us another year or so to develop the basis of our rock musical. The script also trekked throughvarious processes. Justin Wilkinson helped us to develop the initial script and it was nurtured further following invaluable feedback from several well respected musical and theatre directors. To produce the final version, I followed the advice of totally deconstructing the script and reassembling it to ensure that every part of the story was covered by an appropriate song or musical moment. We were so thrilled with the result that we decided to also express the story through a graphic novel accompanied by a CD. This allows a person to read the story and experience it visually while listening to the songs. The illustrations were developed by talented Capetonian artist Leandro Van Der Westhuizen. The arrangements were completed jointly with Kyle Petersen who assisted in compiling our demo. Thereafter, I approached Darryl Andrews to adapt our arrangements and score the music. We decided to follow the route of recording a concept album as a forerunner to the staged musical. Enter the very talented Andrew Ford – a Musician, Composer and Sound Engineer at the Nut House Recording Studio. Our 22-track album took two years to compile in partnership with over 60 artists and musicians. This was then submitted to two record labels, EMI and Next Music. Both said yes and we began to bring these products to the market. After launching the CD, digital album and graphic novel, we moved onto the adaption of the stage production. I needed a director who was prepared to take that arduous road with me and was fortunate enough to find Gavin Wright, a pioneer in Musical Theatre Development. While the story remained constant, we had to delve deeper into the expression of our characters. After 6 intense months, we were ready to book our Artscape venue and The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. Our 28-part musical grew to a 50-part score with an expanded vocal arrangement. This was the Everest!
Exhausted by the challenge, I contacted my good friend Dr Steve Muir (Music) and asked if he or someone else could work with me on these orchestrations. He recommended the musical genius Stephen J Wright, who flew to Cape Town and got straight down to business. He has produced the most amazing orchestrations that will play around the world for a long time to come. The final step was to get costumes, set design, graphics, technology, our fabulous cast, The Kyle Petersen Band and Cape Philharmonic Orchestra primed for action. Finally on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock 1969, the premiere was held at the Opera House – Artscape, Cape Town on the 29th August 2014.
LIBRETTIST / LYRICIST / PUBLISHED AUTHOR
Although South African by birth, Bruno has been involved in international development for over twenty years and has worked across the globe spending much of his time in New York, Bologna, Paris, Brussels, London, and Copenhagen. More recently he has spent time in Cape Town, Hong Kong and Dubai. Although he has two Masters degrees, one in Humanities and the other in Management, and has studied both in South Africa and France, he has no qualifications in music or drama, other than a passionate love of both. He currently lives in England.
He has worked in Higher Education in South Africa, Italy and England and has presented regularly at conferences globally. He has written extensively on matters to do with politics, literature, management, education and development and has served on a number of Boards, both as chair and ordinary member. Rockville2069 is a labour of love and incorporates his concern for our neglect of the earth with the ability for music to connect, engage and transform.
It’s a truism that wars have always been fought over resources, specifically the scarcity thereof, whether land, water, money, power, people and food. All of these are being directly affected by climate change and the impact is being felt all over the world, no matter where one finds oneself. They say that hindsight is a perfect science but why wait for the apocalypse to ascertain that something should have been done ages ago.
The Festival at Woodstock was ostensibly about the opposition to Vietnam, but the philosophical position was equally about an opposition to climate change. Today we know for a fact that glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists have predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, longer, more intense heat waves and, paradoxically, more snow being dumped and longer winters. Dylan said in the ‘60s that “the times they are a-changin’” and this is apparent not only in a political and sociological sense, but in terms of climate impact directly. We are the generation that can do something about it straight away and music can bid us all in this endeavour.
Inspiration for the dialogue and lyrics for Rockville 2069 came directly from the culture and the parlance of the 60s. The decade was a watershed moment in history and it is only with hindsight one is able to see this. The effect of the events of the time on, inter alia, world views, culture, music, literature and mores, was dramatic and caused seismic shifts which are still with us today (and, in my humble opinion, will still be with us in 2069). The post-war generation had grown up with continual conflict somewhere in the world and the turmoil that manifested itself in Indo-China, in Africa and in South America in the 60s led to wide-spread demonstrations on both sides of the Atlantic as young people called for a kinder world than the one they had inherited from their parents. The spirit of civil unrest and disobedience is palpable in the events of the musical but so is the desire for a calmer, more nurturing world, although the focus is more on the catastrophic effects that climate change will have on the world if we don’t do something about our cavalierattitude straight away.
For all this, Rockville 2069 is not meant to be preachy in any way, but rather is hopefully a great entertaining night out with dancing and singing …and a message of peace and hope for the world thrown in for good measure. How appropriate are the words “Stop the War” right now, the words chanted by the hipsters at Woodstock. Now, when the world sits on a knife-edge and the Balkans and the Levant burn. Sure the context in 1969 was different, with youngsters being shipped off to Vietnam to fight a proxy war, but the sentiments are identical. War seems to have been the constant backdrop to the twentieth century.
Right from the war to end all wars to conflagrations in various places around the world today, there has been constant carnage. And somehow it is left to the youngsters to try to change things as politicians sit on their hands for fear of offending voters. Woodstock was primarily about that impetus. It was about young folks having the moral courage to expose the bankruptcy of politicians and their fascination with the military-industrial complex. This same impetus influenced the demonstrations in Warsaw in 1956, Paris in 1968, Prague in 1968, Tiananmen Square in 1976, and Cape Town in 1989. The Arab Spring was a further manifestation of this sense of political impotence that politicians were displaying. No longer is the young electorate prepared to put up with the lack of delivery by elected and unelected politicians. Again, it is the youth, admittedly using different ways of operating from their counterparts 45 years ago, that are providing the moral backbone to the world. Where are the statesmen and stateswomen, the moral leaders of the world? Where are the public intellectuals, providing thoughtful guidance? Where have all the young men gone? Where have all the flowers gone…?
COMPOSER / ARRANGER / PRODUCER / MUSICIAN
Kyle learned piano from the age of four and soon turned his attention to the keyboard and vocals. By 16, he had appeared in nine rock musicals and operas at Artscape with principal roles in two of them. After turning 21, he directed music for Sun International, IMAX, CTICC and Emperors Palace, among others.
To date, his performance experience encompasses everything from intimate showcase venues to performing live to 90 000 people and national prime-time broadcast shows.
Kyle is currently the South African Ambassador for Roland keyboards after being selected as their top South African contemporary keyboard player.
STEVE J WRIGHT
COMPOSER / ARRANGER
After being introduced to Johnny Ray through a mutual friend, Steve came to Cape Town to create the new orchestrations for Rockville 2069’s premiere with the Cape Town Philharmonic.
He is also the Musical Director for the opening run. As a Composer and Arranger, Steve Right has recently worked on numerous films including About Time, Alpha Papa and 47 Ronin as well as documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum: Alive.
COMPOSER / ARRANGER
Shaun Crawford is a South African born composer of film music and symphonic works whose influences range from those of the late romantic and modern composers, to the rich scores of the Hollywood tradition and beyond. His works have been performed by various orchestras in and around South Africa such as the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra (JSO), the South African Film Orchestra (SAFO) and now the Cape Town Philharmonic. His eclectic musical background saw him singing and performing traditional African music, popular music and ‘gumboot’ dance routines in Kearsney College’s Olympic gold winning choir while on music scholarship there. Later he pursued an undergraduate degree in Jazz at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN), studying piano under Professor Darius Brubeck. After graduating with an Honours degree in Electro Acoustic Music also from UKZN, Shaun moved and settled in Cape Town where he spent three years under the instruction of internationally celebrated composer Professor Hendrik Hofmeyr, in completing a Master’s Degree in Composition at the University of Cape Town. During this time, he was the recipient of several generous grants which enabled him to attend New York University’s (NYU) Summer program in Scoring for Motion Picture after being selected to participate out of hundreds of applicants. There, his film score was performed by members of the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestras, and resulted in him being selected by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher’s (ASCAP) Composer Spotlight, as one of six up and coming ‘Composers to Watch’.
Duncan Mackay’s musical career spans over forty years of worldwide achievements as a performer, composer, arranger and musical director. He was awarded a musical scholarship to the prestigious Shrewsbury School and went on to achieve his music degrees L.T.C.L / L.R.S.M with violin as his first instrument and church organ as his second. Playing keyboards, He toured South Africa and Zimbabwe with his own band, composing and recording his first solo album, “Chimera.” Soon after moving back to the UK he joined Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, touring Europe and America achieving his first of four gold albums. As a session musician he recorded with many top artists including Kate Bush, the Alan Parson’s Projects and with the rock groups Camel and Budgie. During this time he started putting together his own studio and released several library albums with KPM. Duncan became a member of the world renowned group 10CC. His first recording with them resulted in the No 1 hit “Dreadlock Holiday,” from the album “Bloody Tourists”; two more gold and platinum albums followed. Three further solo albums were successfully released
He was musical director and co-writer with Elkie Brooks for 3 years. In 1990, four years work on a symphony for orchestra and synthesizers entitled ‘Orchestral Evolution’ is performed and recorded with the East Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in East Berlin. Since emigrating from England to South Africa in 1993 Duncan has composed and recorded music for a number of SABC series, produced and recorded many other artists – including 6 albums with the SAMA nominated classical virtuoso guitarist James Grace. Composed the music for the Animal Planet documentary “White Lions – King of Kings,” and wrote 20 songs and all the incidental music for the educational version of the UK cult cartoon character, “Pingu the Penguin.” Duncan continues to compose and record successful “library albums” of many genres for “Strange Fruit Productions” in Australia. In 2015 he teamed up with the original members of Cockney Rebel to join Steve Harley for a UK tour to celebrate 40 years since the release of their number 1 hit “Come up and see me make me smile.” He has just completed a Prog Rock album “The Bletchley Park Project” with drummer Georg Voros which was released in March 2017 on the Japanese ‘Belle Antique’ label.
Putting a job label on Mick Evans is a difficult task. Mick is the producer/engineer and Director of Melpro Recording Studios, Cairns, Australia, and co-director of Mothership Music, Cape Town, South Africa. His job description is wide however, as he also is a musician in his own right, a songwriter, and a sound designer and engineer for film post production, along with a multitude of other talents, and many years experience in the studio environment, in both film and music. He has an advanced diploma of Music Industry Technology Production, and is a certified Pro Tools HD Trainer. Mick, a former drummer and keyboard player, DJ, and Radio Host in Australia began his international career in the 1980’s, when he left Australia to open up a club in Salzburg (Austria), which became a most prestigous club, called ‘LIFE’. He then expanded his horizons and moved to London to start working as a DJ for Peter Stringfellow at the World Famous “Hippodrome” and “Stringfellows”, on St Martin’s Lane. During 1990, Mick channeled all his energy and concentration into Producing, Engineering and Remixing for many established artists, as well as up and coming Talent. One of the major projects was setting up a Recording Studio called M.E.L. Midi-Mix Studio, and forming a dance/soul band ‘2XL’ with Duncan Mackay from 10CC and Neil Lockwood lead singer of ‘E.L.O Part Two’, and the Alan Parsons Project. The band released their first single in May 1990 with D.S.B. Records, Germany called “Disciples of the Beat”. The song had good success throughout Europe. Mick was contacted by Simon Brown of ‘Julianna’s’, to open up one of the biggest and up-to-date clubs in Europe; ‘Arthur’s’ in Geneva, Switzerland. This club was used to launch MTV throughout Europe. Mick was writing and producing with John Wicks formerly of The Records, John Fiddler from Medicine Head, Yard Birds, Box of Frogs and Lawrence Archer from Thin Lizzy and UFO. Mick and John went on to write new material for Liz Mitchell, lead singer of Boney M. Mick also was a pioneer of the remix revolution and worked with many of the top international artists of the time. This included Duncan Mackay from”10CC” and together they wrote and produced songs for Raindance Records and MCA Music. Mick also organized and produced several major Australian film and music events in London. Mick moved his Studio back to Australia where he expanded the studio into film and television as well as music. He was a founding partner in a film/documentary company called Mulong, and went on to produce several local and international documentaries which were marketed on DVD and Television. He produced work for Screening Australia on documentaries about Indiginous Australians and environmental issues. This led to many years of working in film post production, and writing and producing advertising material for film and television. Melpro Recording Studio is based in Cairns, tropical North Queensland, Australia. Mick one of three directors of a new South African company called Mothership Music, which is a sub branch of The Mothership Film Company.
Rebeka Rain is a singer/songwriter, lyricist, recording and performing artist, co-producer at Melpro Recording Studio, Cairns, Australia, and co director of Mothership Music, Cape Town, South Africa. She has 2 solo albums, Question – (2014) and I Am Rain – (2015), 1 album as a duo with Mick Evans and other artists, called Duality – (2017), and a self titled album with her band LIFE – (2016). As well as several singles, all available on itunes and other digital outlets. She has recently become a partner in Fame Music Radio , Johannesburg, South Africa, where she is a co-host on several shows. She has had international success with a number of songs charting in several countries including 6 that have reached number one. She was born in Cornwall, UK and relocated to Australia as a child with her parents, where she grew up in Northern Queensland. She started her working career as a jockey and reached a high level of success both riding and training horses in Australia , and internationally. Rebeka appeared in television music shows and won singing competitions over the years while in her racing career. Eventually the time came where music was to become her sole career after juggling it on the sidelines for many years. She has spent the past 4 years working alongside Mick Evans learning the trade of music and film sound recording and production. She has also co written songs for international artists and for television, film and advertising.
- Songs that have charted:
- I’m Waiting – Number 1 on Radio Indie Alliance Chart for Fame Radio, South Africa, & Number 4 on the overall Radio Indie Alliance Chart.
- HeatWave – (Rebeka Rain & Mick Evans) – Was Number 1 on Radio Marabu, Germany 6 weeks – Was also number 1 on Radio Indie Alliance Chart , Fame Radio & Number 1 on Zone Radio , Cape Town.
- Rock n Roll – (Rebeka Rain & Mick Evans) Number 1 on Radio Marabu, Germany.
- Sweet Stranger – ( Rebeka Rain & Theo Hoesel) number 1 on Radio Marabu, Germany.
- LIFE – Pray – Number 1 on Zone Radio Cape Town.
- LIFE – These Games – The Scottish New Music Charts.
- LIFE – Take Another Chance –Radio Indie Alliance Charts.
- See the Sky– Radio Marabu Chart.
- Our Song”– Fame Music Radio Charts.
- Imaginary Man”– Number 2 on Zone Radio , Cape Town.
- Dont Listen To The Darkness – Number 1 on Zone Radio, South Africa