Monday, 20 June 2016
HOT new band Boketto is making waves in the local music landscape
New on the South African musical scene, Boketto is a 5-piece band formed by singer-songwriter Callum Kuhl and guitarist David Arnot who met in high school in Johannesburg. In December 2015, after moving to Cape Town they recorded an album titled 'About You', a hybrid jazz, blues rock, folk, improvisation and groove-based album. Single ‘All I Want’ was released nationwide to radio in June and it's blasting up charts. It’s a song about love as a vice and an addiction. It’s a positive and negative look on a universal subject, bound together by a moody Jazz sonic landscape. Lead Singer / Songwriter Callum's vocals and acoustic guitar form the foundation for many of the songs alongside Dave's melodic and improvisational approach to lead guitar. Featuring the effortless but ferocious rhythmical drive of legendary South African jazz/rock drummer Kevin Gibson and the percussive prowess of Ronan Skillen on Tabla, Udu and percussion, Boketto lends from and combines sounds and genres across the spectrum, from esoteric to pop, from traditional to modern. Inspired by bands the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Radiohead, Alt-J, Carlo Mombelli, Atoms for Peace and more, this is a debut album far more mature than the age of the members creating it. The name Boketto is derived from the Japanese word meaning ‘The act of gazing vacantly into the distance, without thinking’. Callum notes – “I chose the name because the word itself has no direct English translation, the shortest way we can express it is ten words long, yet there’s this one idea in another language that captures it more perfectly in just one word. I believe music operates similarly - music has the potential to capture an expression of emotion better than five hours of talking. The artwork, a joint creation by Callum and his girlfriend Yuma is inspired by Yuma’s Mandala artwork. The experience of music comes from its ability to create the spectrum between beauty, symmetry, and what might seem like random choices and chaos. Callum adds – “The image of the cats creating a yin and yang surrounded by crashing waves is a reference to our beloved cat Alphonse who was knocked over by a car and killed. The cats are natural, beautiful and perfect, but they are being washed away by waves, a chaotic natural force that can take things from you without a moment’s notice. The cats are also a reference to our favourite writer; the Japanese author Haruki Murakami”. The album is titled ‘About You’ because, as Callum notes – “a lot of the lyrics have non-specific metaphors in them. While they mean a lot to me, I hope the feeling people get from the album is one that affirms their search for themselves”. Stand out tracks on ‘About You’ include the Led Zeppelin inspired ‘River Truth’, a song Callum wrote after attending his first Opikoppi and deciding he wanted to write a song he could perform there. As Callum recalls – “We were in traffic for 8 hours on the way home from Opikoppi with one Robert Plant CD and I heard the song ‘Mighty Rearranger’ dozens of times, it’s style influenced the sound quite a bit”. Another special track is ‘Yuma’ a song about love and the hope of its return even in times of separation. “I wrote this song as gift to my girlfriend on our 3rd anniversary, and the lyrics, ‘I’ll hold you in my arms, just come the new year’ were written when I thought she would probably be moving back. She didn’t, although we’re still together now and both in Cape Town so I’d say it’s a hopeful song”. ‘Changes’, an equally important song is about major life changes, amidst previous comfort zones. Callum notes, “When I got to university, everything about life started changing rapidly. I wrote this song to mark a kind of shift in my perspective to the idea that change in life is constant”. With an impressive line-up of experienced musicians and ground breaking music, the future looks very bright for Boketto.