KREEFTEGANG - an Afrikaans Folk Masterpiece by Hanru Niemand

Hanru Niemand - Photo by: Johann Sohnge
Afrikaans folk music fans and those following the underground scene will know that Hanru Niemand flies under the radar. Hanru’s music has probably not been playlisted on Radio Sonder Grense, and he has definitely not been seen doing a ‘sokkie-treffer’ on the Skouspel stage. However, this incredibly talented singer-songwriter from the Boland has been making a name for himself in less commercial music circles and boasts with a cult-like following ranging from the Cape region to Northern territory.

Amongst avid underground music fans, Hanru is well-known for his captivating music and witty lyrics. Hanru’s style of music is sometimes tricky to classify, consisting mostly of folk elements. He has been hailed as one of the pioneers of present day Afrikaans folk music. His music and performance also clearly has traces of blues and cabaret elements. Hanru’s music is quite frequently compared to that of legendary Afrikaans icons like Koos du Plessis, Jacques Brel and Herman van Veen. Even though his music has remained relatively unexposed in South Africa, he has been making quite an impression in overseas markets. Some of Hanru’s work has been translated to Finnish and is currently being translated into Russian by one of Russia’s most acclaimed translators [].

One of the prominent themes in his lyrics and earlier work is his lighthearted, satirical view and sharp commentary on Afrikaans music and culture. Banting en Chips and Ek het ‘n Afrikaanse liedjie gekryf are perfect examples of this.

His new EP, Kreeftegang is his latest offering. The songs on Kreeftegang are timeless and tell tales of a time one wishes that Gert Vlok Nel would write just one more poem, a cold winter's night sky resembling the dotted feathers of an African guinea fowl, and the story of a reporter’s ball point pen. Hanru’s writing style and melodies paint each song on Kreeftegang a different shade of beautiful and honest.