Spieël Speel

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“Each is a small work of art of imaginative sounds and poetic lyrics. I would not be surprised if several of the songs are later included in the Afrikaans artsong treasury”

- Volksblad
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“The quality and mix of music, the dramatics, the theatricality and the novelty all came together quite delightfully…”

- The Argus
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“Kathleen Tagg evidences again in this second collaboration with Stapelberg that she has a gift for ‘translating’ word nuances into music. Each song is a showpiece of its ingenious intercourse with a colorful palette of sound.”

- Volksblad
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“Something akin to a miracle has taken place.” “Well-known material and new work, and note that it's all in Afrikaans, are presented elegantly and with humour. This cabaret does not need a preliminary run – it is as is ready for the most select audiences.”

- Hennie Aucamp, father of Afrikaans cabaret

Spieël Speel – created by Zanne Stapelberg & Kathleen Tagg

 

Created & Produced by Zanne Stapelberg & Kathleen Tagg. Costume Design & Creation by Adriana Van Rooyen. Photos & Design by Jomar De Lange. The original musicians were Zanne Stapelberg, voice; Kathleen Tagg, music director/piano; Piet de Beer, violin; Nick Turner, guitar; Shaun Johannes, bass; Frank Paco, percussion

 

“Each is a small work of art of imaginative sounds and poetic lyrics. I would not be surprised if several of the songs are later included in the Afrikaans artsong treasury”  –  Volksblad

 

Spieel-Speel-Smaller-1024x682Kathleen’s recent work includes the full-length Afrikaans alt-cabaret Spieël Speel (Mirror Play) created with South Africa singer Zanne Stapelberg, which premiered in 2013 with a multi-city South African tour. The show features all-new original songs by Tagg and Tagg with Stapelberg- with lyrics by Afrikaans luminaries such as Hennie Aucamp, Elizabeth Eybers, Deon Meyer, Antjie Krog and Willem de Vries.

 

Internationally bestselling crime fiction author Deon Meyer wrote his first song lyric for soprano Zanne Stapelberg and composer-pianist Kathleen TaggAnd the foremost exponent of cabaret in South Africa, Hennie Aucamp, gave them a lyric as a gift. Both became new original songs that are part of the brand new music production Spieël Speel

 

Hennie Aucamp, a South African literary great who is also well-known known for his cabaret works, praises Spieël Speel as being somewhat magical in its spontaneity- and in discussing the production exclaimed:“Something akin to a miracle has taken place.” “New work, and note that it’s all in Afrikaans… presented elegantly and with humour. This cabaret does not need a preliminary run – it is as is ready for the most select audiences.”

 

South Africa hums, vibrates and thumps with the energy of its diverse peoples who have music central to their lives. As South African artists, Zanne and Kathleen gaze into the mirror and extract the sounds from the background of their lives.

 

Spieël Speel plays at the crossroads of genres. This is new music performed entirely in Afrikaans, occupying a unique musical and cultural niche, a rarefied slice of emergent South African culture. Afrikaans was forged in a cultural melting pot and has evolved into a powerful medium of expression for a diverse group of South Africans. First written in Arabic script by the Malay slave descendants perched above Cape Town’s city centre, it is a language linked with the Dutch journeymen who ended up here and, as intangible as sound is, it is an inextricable part of the South African landscape.

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“On a musical note, eclectic singer Zanne Stapelberg and exciting pianist Kathleen Tagg put together a kind of contemporary cabaret with musicians who played bass, violin, guitar and percussion. The quality and mix of music (from Philip de Vos and Stapelberg’s mother-in-law’s traditional recipes, to lullabies, to Tagg’s composition for Hennie Aucamp’s lyrics and a Deon Meyer contribution, the dramatics, the theatricality and the novelty all came together quite delightfully… this is a show that can develop and grow into something extraordinary, especially in a genre in which singers and musicians find it tough to create contemporary work. There’s no space for just song and chat, you have to have substance that will hold the attention and blend that with music that rocks the soul. The certainly did that… That’s the thing about festivals, those strange but wondrous affairs. Just when you think it’s “just another one”, someone sticks their head out and shouts bravely, brilliantly and with a determination that wont allow you to turn away.  

-Unexpected Gems at Vryfees by Diane de Beer – The Argus, 2013

 

“The ballad for which Deon Meyer wrote “magic lyrics” and Noah the Second, a gift from Hennie Aucamp to Stapelberg, showed the honing of word masters… Kathleen Tagg evidences again in this second collaboration with Stapelberg that she has a gift for ‘translating’ word nuances into music. Each song is a showpiece of its ingenious intercourse with a colorful palette of sound. Add to that a performer like Stapelberg, her voice customizable to the non-classical genre, and each song gets special meaning … Who should attend? Those who appreciate creative but still highly accessible music of interpretation to a high standard – Tagg ‘s piano included – and art songs that can hold a candle to the existing ones.”

Volksblad

 

“The best way to pay tribute to a language is to ensure a future for its songs, both new and established. In this production, with its many new songs and new compositions interesting ideas about culture and language are mirrored in the audience’s experience beyond the borders of any one language. What does a shared language mean for an opera singer from Cape Town with a penchant for interesting musical projects and a South African concert pianist and composer who’s been living in New York for more than ten years? This becomes an intruiging question in Stapelberg and Tagg’s innovative and skilfully constructed Spieël Speel (the Afrikaans for “mirror game”).”

 

We stopped trying to assign a genre to this production- the best description we can think of is A Whack of Whimsy