Large Country Festival back at Carnival City

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The long-awaited return of Lefra Productions’ Country Legends and Friends to Carnival City’s Big Top Arena has been confirmed for Saturday, July 6, 2013 @ 20:00 and brings together an unrivalled gathering of the legends of South African country music and a new generation of country singers in one of the largest country shows ever! Building on the success of the previous Country Legends and Friends, legends such as Lance James, Barbara Ray, Clive Bruce, Matt Hurter, Sally Vaughn and Tommy Dell will be joined by their friends, The Campbells, Alan Ladd, Jason Bradley, Manie Jackson and Rinel Day in an extravaganza that will establish these artists once again as legends and legends-to-be in the country music world. Bookings can be made at Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or at www.computicket.com. Groups of more than 10 will receive substantial discounts; please phone Lefra Productions on 011 815 3000, or send an e-mail to marketing@lefra.com. You’re also welcome to discuss fundraising activities with to. For more information, visit www.lefra.com or send an e-mail to info@lefra.co.za.

Frans Swart, producer of the Country Legends and Friends 2013 at Carnival City as well as all the previous concerts, says he always knew that country music was still very popular in South Africa. “The American country legend Charley Pride once remarked that ‘it isn’t reasonable to expect that everyone in the world is a country music fan’, and added ‘Not yet, anyway.’ The runaway success of the previous Country Legends and Friends concerts proves that not only is country music still extremely popular, but its fan base is ever-growing”, says Frans. “The support of the public surprised even me … it was wonderful to have the previous Country shows sell out weeks ahead of the time, and the concerts were incredible. Combining the legends with the new voices in the industry was simply the logical next step after the first two Country Legends concerts were completely sold out, and that is why we have decided to return with a new concert to Carnival City.”

The future looks bright for South Africa’s biggest country legend, Lance James! Evidently there is no time for taking it easy for Lance, fondly known as the Big Daddy of South African country. Lance is known as a versatile artist who is well loved for the special bond he forms with his audiences during his performances. He is also popular on radio and started his broadcasting career 1954. Lance can be heard on Radio Today, Radio Panorama in the Free State, Impala Radio in Perth, Australia and also in Namibia. His programme “Keep It Country” has been on the air for 35 years and is broadcasted on 12 stations around South Africa and on “streaming”. He has performed abroad and has released more than 85 albums, including a few gospel albums. Lance has received too many wards to mention, but is especially proud of his lifetime achievement awards during the 2011 South African Music Awards (SAMA) and the 2012 Ghoema Awards. His latest CD, “For Tears to Come”, was released late in 2012 and is currently charting at number one on a couple of radio stations’ hit lists!

Lance also recorded various albums with Barbara Ray. Barbara emigrated from Scotland to South Africa in the mid-60s, had her first hit in South Africa in 1970, and has become and household name, known for the past four decades as the Queen of Country. Twenty-two of her albums went gold, and she won many awards for her contribution to country music. Barbara is especially well-known for her hits “I don’t wanna play house” and “Down the Mississippi”.

Clive Bruce, known as the Midnight Cowboy, started singing at a very young age. “Actually, I don’t remember there being a specific time I started with music – but I was always attracted to the radio music programmes and learned a few chords and some folk songs”, says Clive. “This was in the early sixties and I made my first recording with a band as their (bad) bass guitarist. I improved, picking up keyboards, drums, guitar and other instruments along the way. My step-mother, Virginia Lee, the Queen of Song of the early ‘60’s, introduced me to the recording studios and I was hooked on the profession from then on.” Clive went on to host the award-winning, “Sing Country”, which became the longest-running show of South African middle-of-the-road music up to that time. “I was dubbed the Midnight Cowboy … I think a certain Mr Lance James was behind that one!”

Matt Hurter, standing 6’4" in his boots, is affectionately known as Big Matt Hurter and is the current president of the South African Country Music Association (SACMA). As the news spread through the media of Matt’s hard work and contribution to country music, he was recognised and praised by the then President of the CMA in Nashville, Jo Walker-Meador. Willie Nelson sent Matt a Texas flag which had been specially flown at the State Capitol in Austin from sun-up to sunset and a certificate stating that the flag, “herewith presented to Matt Hurter, president of the South African Country Music Association by representative Mark Strama … (was) given in recognition of (his) love and support of Texas music”. Although he is from the old school, with old school values, standards and principles, Matt is now involved in the new world of the internet and all its amazing opportunities.

Sally Vaughn, alias Mama Country, is one of our best loved and most colourful country musicians. Her appearance at the 1984 Nashville International Music Festival was so successful that she was invited back later. Sally is a born entertainment star who has won many awards, and fans will also remember her as one of the “Over the Hillbillies” together with Lance James, Joanna Field, Clive Bruce and Billy Forest. She is indeed another one of our golden girls, singing her heart out as if the world would never end.

Tommy Dell, also known as The Killer, and Sally Vaughn represented South Africa in Nashville in 1984. The main singer of the Elvis group The Jordanaires was highly impressed with Dell’s work: “I’ve never seen a singer from another country command so much respect from an audience”. No wonder, since nine of Tommy’s albums went gold … while “Teddy Bear” and “Little Rosa” earned this artist double golden awards. He started singing at the age of 5, winning several competitions, the most significant being the popular “Stars of Tomorrow”. He also won the well-known national competition “The Battle of the Bands” with his group, Tommy Dell and the Boys. After his schooling, Tommy studied classical music and opera at the Cape Town School of Music. He trained under Prof Gregorio Fiasconaro and worked with artists like Mimi Coertse and Gé Korsten.

Brothers Harry and Tony Campbell, better known as The Campbells, are seasoned musicians who have been making music since a very young age. Fourteen albums and six DVDs later, the Campbells have established themselves as South Africa’s favourite duo and have sold more than 700 000 CDs and DVDs. Songs like “Bietjie Bietjie Lam”, “Vat My Vas”, “Sewe Soene”, “Mamma Maria” and “Rooi Rok Bokkie” will always be remembered. In 2010, The Campbells won a South African Music Award (SAMA) with their album “Mamma Maria” for the Best Sokkie Dance Album. They have also won three Vonk Afrikaans Music Awards as well as twelve gold, seven platinum, three triple gold and two double platinum sales awards! These well-deserved awards cemented their place within the South African music industry. In 2012, the Campbells celebrated their 12th professional year in the South African recording industry and started up their own record label – Campbell Records. They have recently completed their first release as label with their 14th album, “Voet in die Hoek”. The album is guaranteed to be a hit with their fans!

Alan Ladd was born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1966. He and his 12 brothers and sisters (among whom was the legendary singer, Kupido) immigrated to South Africa in 1976. Ten years later, he recorded his first “seven single”, with one of his own songs, Daddy, also on it. He attained great success as singer/songwriter in the years that followed, and his last two albums were released in 2006. The first, The Country Gospel CD, reached platinum status within two months, and sold more than 44 500 copies. The second, My Hart Klop Country, sold more than 37 000 copies within four months.

Jason Bradley has been a quiet but unmistakable talent in this industry ever since appearing in the local Country Music arena in 2003. In 2007, the legendary Ray Thomas introduced Jason to Lance James, who was so impressed with his talent that he invited him to participate in the first Country Legends & Friends shows (2008 and 2009). Later Juanita du Plessis invited him to be a part of the KykNet Country programme, where he had the opportunity to share the stage with the legendary Tommy Dell. Jason visited Nashville, the capital of country music, in 2010, where he had the privilege to perform with world-renowned Chuck Jones. The main reason for his visit was to meet with as many as possible producers and songwriters. His latest album, This is Country Music, was released in 2012.

Manie Jackson made his stage debut in August 1997 during the nationwide Tahila Talent Competition in Johannesburg. His debut CD, “Wie Sal Weet?” was released during the following year, reaching the top ten on many of the country’s local radio stations’ hit parades. Jackson won IFM’s Country Singer of the Year Award in 1999, and shared the award for Overall Country Artist of 1999 with legend Bobby Angel. He completed his award trifecta by also winning Country Hit of the Year with his version of “You’re the Reason”. Later in the same year, Manie released his second album “My Song for You”, repeating the success of his first CD. In the following decade, Manie released seven more CDs. His self-titled tenth CD was released in 2010 and was awarded the South African Music Award in 2011 for Best Country Music Album. His latest CD, “Liefde en Genade”, was released last year.

Rinèl Day released her self-titled debut CD in 2012. The lyrics of her 18-track CD, mostly written by Michael de Lange, are sure to enchant listeners of all ages. One track that stands out is the touching duet, “Promise You”, which she sings with the legendary Dennis East. Rinél’s warm personality shines through on the CD, and her comfortable style and versatility on stage have the audience eating out of her hand in no time. Her music video, “Geluk”, can be seen on KykNet, and also on the social network YouTube.

Country Legends and Friends is going to put the country’s most popular Country talent on show. “This year will be a milestone for Country”, says producer Frans Swart. “We had one goal in mind – to bring the brightest stars in South African country music together in the perfect venue – Carnival City’s Big Top Arena. On July, 6 Carnival City will be the Country Central HQ! The revelry will kick of at 20:00 – be sure to get your tickets now!” As always, tickets will be available at Computicket on 0861 915 8000 or www.computicket.com. Groups of more than 10 will receive substantial discounts; please phone Lefra Productions on 011 815 3000, or send an e-mail to marketing@lefra.com.