I Hear Drums is featured on Tom Robinson’s BBC Introducing Mixtape.
The Sighs of Monsters were privileged to be able to film the video for the song they originally recorded for the forthcoming tribute to South African poet, Ingrid Jonker, in a historic 14th century medieval church in Kent, England during the village of Southfleet’s annual festival during which the building is transformed into an art gallery. A few of the parishioners and visitors took a break from wondering around the paintings in this splendid Gothic setting to see what all the noise was about. They seemed to appreciate our efforts and even provided some polite applause at the end. But what an epic setting for such an epic poem! We hope our music and performance does it justice.
Elkeen hoor Ingrid Jonker anders. Gee vir ‘n uiteenlopende groep musikante die geleentheid om Jonker te laat sing, en jy kry soveel hoofde, soveel sinne. Ingrid Jonker: Die kind is nog jonger is ‘n skatkis waaruit klanke borrel, ‘n produk so uiteenlopend as die musikante, so interessant soos die digter self.
A review of our song ‘Drawing‘ contributed to the Ingrid Jonker tribute album, Die Kind Is Nog Jonger.
“Vir my is die hoogtepunt van die eerste album egter “Drawing” (gebaseer op die gedig “Tekening – Vir Jack”) van The Sighs of Monsters – ’n Britse groep met ’n Suid-Afrikaanse konneksie in die persoon van Brett Lock. Van hierdie lied is daar ’n pragtige video op YouTube wat in ’n historiese 14de-eeuse kerkie in Kent in Engeland tydens kunstefees daar opgeneem is. Treffer staan dubbel en dwars oor hierdie liedjie geskryf.”
Translation: “For me, the high point of the first album was ‘Drawing (based on the poem Drawing – for Jack) by The Sighs of Monsters – a British group with a South African connection in the person of Brett Lock. There is a lovely video for this song on YouTube recorded in a historic 14th century church in Kent, England, during an arts festival. ‘Hit’ is written large all over this song.”
Ingrid Jonker was a South African poet – often compared to Sylvia Plath, and whose life took a similarly tragic trajectory – who committed suicide in the mid 60s, leaving a rich legacy of written work in her native Afrikaans. Her work is now considered part of the country’s cultural heritage and her poem “Die Kind (‘The Child’) was recited by President Nelson Mandela when he opened parliament in May 1994 under the new post-apartheid democratic constitution.
We were thrilled to be asked to contribute a track to a compilation of songs based on her poems commissioned by her estate and curated by her daughter, Simone. The project was overseen by Simone’s husband Ernesto Garcia-Marques.
While most of the tracks were in the original Afrikaans, several were English translations and we were allocated the poem “Tekening – vir Jack” (‘Drawing – for Jack’). Our task was to take the poem as lyrics and – without altering them in any way (though repetition was permitted) – compose music and record it as a song.
Besides a knocking-it-out-of-the-park vocal by Dean which channeled all the pathos in Jonker’s words, the track features a double-guitar solo by Brett and Dean, representing the tensions expressed in the poem.
UPDATE: The band were rewarded with a very positive review for their contribution the Cape Town (Jonker’s home town) daily newspaper, Die Burger. Their music critic wrote [translated]: “For me, the high point [of the first album] is Drawing (based on ‘Tekening, Vir Jack’) by The Sighs of Monsters – a British group with a South African connection via Brett Lock. For this song, there is a beautiful video on YouTube shot in a historic 14th century church in Kent, England during an arts festival. ‘Hit’ is written large across this song.”
This song was written in January 2015 shortly after the news of the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office, and a Kosher supermarket. During the course of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the murderers targeted only one woman: the Jewish writer, Elsa Cayat ” In November, Paris faced a shocking reprise of terror. These acts of slaughter, as bookends to 2015, presage an era of horror, and a shift within our culture, that impacts us all.
The proceeds from the sale of this single will be donated to The Campaign Against Antisemitism (antisemitism.uk)
We were very excited to work with punk icon Michael Flek of the late 70’s band Wild Youth. Michael was putting together an anthology of his work from Wild Youth to the present and had two new songs he wanted to include. He asked us to co-produce these and to contribute extra parts to augment his voice and guitar on one track, and voice, guitar and drums on another. We had an absolute ball working with his material and the resultant songs – When Time Stood Still and Desperate Lives – were indeed included on the anthology – to favourable reviews – available on CD and vinyl.
We had a great time playing at the Catford Constitutional Club for Oxjam Lewisham. The crowd was bloody marvelous and we enjoyed every minute of it. We donated some CDs to the vent and we’re very happy to say they all sold with proceeds going to the charity. We debuted a new song, I Hear Drums, which we’re in the process of recording for our album coming out next year.
Thank you Dannique and the Oxjam Lewisham team for the hard work putting this festival together.
We had a great time last night supporting the Dad Horse Experience at the Bird’s Nest in Deptford. “Dad Horse” is an eccentric one-man-band who plays a sort of Germanic-infused, Americana-inspired apocalyptic gospel music which is both infectious and bizarre all at once! Well worth checking his music out. It was lovely meeting him after his set.