MonArk to play Franschhoek Cellar on Sunday 23 April 2017

Without a doubt one of the most exciting acts to break out from 2013, MonArk are changing the face of pop music in South Africa and they will be playing Franschhoek Cellar on Sunday 23 April 2017

Franschhoek Cellar has over the last few months hosted some of SA’S top acts including Watershed ,Ard Matthews ,Prime Circle ,Arno Carstens ,and the Parlotones and now MonArk on Sunday 23 April ,starting at 3pm -Book at webtickets.

The shows have been curated by James Stewart and Martin Myers with support from Paul Bothner Music and Franschhoek Country House and Villas and sound design and operation of each show by Abdul Burton

Mixing Eugene Coetzer’s uniquely characterful vocal delivery – polished with his distinctive falsetto – and Ewald Jansen van Rensburg’s unmatched, global production style, MonArk craft songs rich in meaning and soul stirring hooks. Performing as a 4-piece band, MonArk deliver something completely fresh and unique, and are setting trends sonically and stirring up tastes in the South African music landscape.

The band has dominated the South African airwaves with their singles;

Smiling (5FM Top 3)

Build It Up (5FM Top 5, #1 on JacarandaFM, 947/KFM, AlgoaFM, OFM)

Something (947/KFM Top 10; OFM/JacarandaFM Top 5)

You Make (Algoa Top 20, ECR TOP 40)

Their debut album NEGATIVES, was released worldwide on 14 July 2014 and peaked at nr. 1 on the iTunes Album Chart on its release day. Their latest single, Hush, was released in May 2015.

The band was formed when producer Ewald Jansen van Rensburg teamed up with friend and vocalist, Eugene Coetzer. For a couple of years they patiently developed and worked towards finding the specific sound they were after and once they had discovered it, they gathered together the musicians that were needed to grow and perform the music. The band officially formed in August 2012 intent on making popular, yet tastefully engineered music with a cinematic feel and a musical twist of realism.

MonArk was nominated for a MK 2014 Award for Best Newcomer, along with being chosen as one of the artists in iTunes’ exclusive ‘New Artist in 2014’ campaign.

The band were also recently nominated for Best Pop Album, as well as Record of the Year at the 2015 SAMA’s (South African Music Awards), along with a nomination for Ewald Jansen van Rensburg for Best Producer for the NEGATIVES album.

Their energetic and polished live performances have been incredibly well received by their fans, with MonArk performing on some of the top stages in the country – including 94.7 Joburg Day, KFM 94.5’s KDAY, Splashy Fen, KKNK, and the Durban Botanical Gardens, to name but a few.

pic – Franschhoek Country House and Villas

Exclusive interview with Arno Carstens prior to his Franschhoek Cellar show Sunday 15 January at 3pm

arno 15

Arno Carstens

Happy New Year and what better way to get 2017 started than chatting to the amazing Arno Carstens who only last week was on M Net on Sunday night (8 Jan) with Arno and friends and fresh from that show is at the Franshhoek Cellar this Sunday from 3pm.

Arno is a Platinum selling, award winning, singer-songwriter who has released 12 albums He’s had over 20 top ten singles and won 5 SAMA Awards. We caught up with him over a cup of coffee last week

How are you?

I am well. Kind of ready for 2017 the adventures, curve balls, highs and lows. Bring it on and lets see.

What does music mean to you?

It’s been the backbone to my existence for many years and its not done with me yet.

Any Purple Rain moments?

Since Prince died I have been doing that song every now and then. I have been a massive fan of Prince and Bowie for many years so 2016 will always be remembered as the great cull regarding musicians.

Your hero’s?

They come and go but the legacies remain. They kind of shape your youth and give comfort when you get older. I am a fan of many I consider myself rich in that regards.

Life in Cape Town?

This question reminds me of something someone said to me about Stellenbosch.

Living in Cape Town is like living in a fool’s paradise. Being a fool is a small price to pay for living in some kind of paradise.

It’s your round what are you drinking?

It’s the last drink of the night so everyone gets a litre of water to take to there rooms.

The song you wished you wrote?

“ Slave to love” by Bryan Ferry

But there are so many other songs I love and am jealous off.

Dream gig to do?

That will be the still to be discovered breathless venue with bunch musical friends where music and sound compliment the scenery and atmosphere.

What makes you stand out?

A good interactive or appreciative audience makes parts of my body glow in the dark.


Arri or Cassi or Klein Jos

If you were not a musician what would you do?

A Struggling fine artist.

Pick five words to describe your band?

Of the cuff brilliance.

5 Desert Island Discs?

It will be a compilation of many artist including Harry Belafonte, Friendly Fires and many more.

Greatest Movie Ever Made?

Meet Joe Black

Who do you love?

My family.

What does the usual mean?

Feeling healthy and content or not at all, the usual is in constant fluctuation.

Favorite Fashion Garment

Vintage Garments and Kilts

Give us some slang

Sharp my Bra.

Do you have famous phone numbers on your phone?

If you mean the numbers of socially awkward people then yes.

What do you complain about most often?

Life, but it’s also the thing I celebrate most.

What is your fear?

Total health and financial failure being unable to take care of my family.

Happiness is?

A Blissful moment in time where nothing else matters.

On stage I tend to?

Loose control every now and then it sometimes works and sometimes bombs but am still working on fine-tuning the performance thing.

What are you doing next?

Id like to see Springbok Nude Girls doing something this year also I’m working on an art exhibition.


Arno Carstens at Franschhoek Cellar this Sunday 15 January at 3pm

Don’t forget Arno Carstens this Sunday at Franschhoek Cellar for a fantastic climax to a wonderful season of sell out shows.
The cellar has hosted Prime Circle ,Watershed ,and Ard Matthews and this show on Sunday with Arno is sure to be a sellout.

Franschhoek Country house and Villas are also on board and the PA is provided by Paul Bothner Music.

The host of the show in non other than James Stewart former lead singer of the band the Usual

James now has a wonderful solo career as a singer songwriter and last year took part in the first ever

BMI songwriting camp held in Cape Town in September in conjunction with Music Exchange the annual global music conference based
in Cape Town

Book at Webtickets and the show starts at 3pm in the Cellar with lunch being served from 12noon on the terrace.

Ticket price for the show excludes the lunch.

Arno Carstens at Franschhoek Cellar this Sunday 15 January at 3pm

Don’t forget Arno Carstens this Sunday at Franschhoek Cellar for a fantastic climax to a wonderful season of sell out shows.
The cellar has hosted Prime Circle ,Watershed ,and Ard Matthews and this show on Sunday with Arno is sure to be a sellout.

Book at Webtickets and the show starts at 3pm in the Cellar with lunch being served from 12noon on the terrace.

Ticket price for the show excludes the lunch.

Arno Carstens solo album ‘Lightening Prevails’ receives a SAMA nomination

Arno Carstens 5th solo album ‘Lightening Prevails’ received a South African Music Awards nomination in the Best Adult Contemporary Album Category earlier this month.

Other nominees in this category are:

BlackByrd – Home

Howie Combrink – Eat it While it’s Hot

Josie Field – S’bongile

Niemand – Back Again

The ceremony takes place on 21st April 2015.

Arno started working with SAMA winning producer Dan Roberts in 2013 with the intention to re-write and record an acoustically driven album to include some orchestral versions of some of his most popular career tracks.

Two months later, they emerged from studio with something completely different.

As Dan says: “Arno would come into the studio and we’d be set up for Another Universe or something and then he’d have this idea from the night before… So we’d digress and by lunchtime have a brand new song going.Arno is an artist in the real sense of the word, prolific, experimental and lyrically very strong.

‘Lightning Prevails’ boasts a seductive departure from the comfortable and familiar Arno Carstens sound. There are the same thought provoking, profound lyrics and melodies that soak into the skin, but this time the marriage of organic sound and electronic beats are made lusher, with a big brass section and the powerful backing vocals of Jamali’s Mariechan.

The album is almost entirely made up of new songs, and completely inspired by my musical history, past and present” says Carstens.

We decided to keep Bubblegum on my Boots on the album, the version we recorded worked very well with the new songs and I added two covers, which are so vastly different from the originals.

ACDC’s Highway to Hell was such a big part of my musical influence growing up and Sam and Dave’s Hold On (I’m Coming) was Dan’s idea and I love where the track took me. When I went into the studio, my intention was to make an album of old hits for the fans that come to my acoustic shows, but what fate had in mind took us all by surprise.”

Arno Carstens is also a celebrated fine artist, who paints in oils on canvas ( The album cover for ‘Lightning Prevails’ was designed using an original painting done by Arno a few years ago

World Class Producers Tristan Keyte, Brian O’Shea, Charles Webster Talk 21st Century Production at Music Exchange

World Class Producers Tristan Keyte ( UK, USA ), and Brian O’Shea ( USA, Germany, UK ) and Charles Webster (UK, USA) discussed the new challenges in producing commercially viable music in the age of technological equality.

The trio, who all have extensive international experience at the highest levels of the industry, shared some of the psychological aspects that go into the 21st Century creative process.

Tristan Keyte, (Roger Daltrey, Westlife, BoyZone) was particularly candid saying ” It really isn’t a dictatorship anymore” when discussing production. He went on, ” The vibe of the people in the room is the critical part” and ‘ If the feeling in the room isn’t optimal, its time to leave the room for a while”. He also described the teamwork ethic 21st Century artists require these days. ” It’s no longer a process that has any authoritarian component to it “.

Keyte, who is based out of Cape Town and London continued to discuss the dynamic of the new technology and its effect on the artists ability to engage in the production process, “The artist can now engage in pre-production themselves while creating the ideas for a track, which can help guide the production into the original vision of the song” and also added ” It becomes a total team effort these day”.

Brian O’Shea, ( Seether, Watershed, Elvis Blue, Arno Carstens, Lloyd Cele ) added that artists are seriously interested in designing “commercially viable tracks”, whenever possible, in order to put themselves in position to profit immediately. He went on to declare ” The New Artist has a clear vision of what they want, when entering my office. They come in with several well developed tracks and want me to design a “Radio Hit” with a few of them”. It has become clear, that the 21st Century Artist is a quasi – producer, who is more interested in participating in every specific step of the production process.

World Class Producers Tristan Keyte, Brian O'Shea, Charles Webster Talk 21st Century Production at Music Exchange

World Class Producers Tristan Keyte, Brian O’Shea, Charles Webster Talk 21st Century Production at Music Exchange

SA music comes up trumps at Music Exchange 2013

South African music is entering an exciting era of opportunity and progress as new markets open up for homegrown sounds. This was one of the key messages emerging from the 2013 Music Exchange Conference, which saw industry moguls and musicians congregating at the iconic Cape Town City Hall to talk about the serious business of music.

Music Exchange 2013

Music Exchange 2013

Music Exchange 2013

Music Exchange 2013

Music Exchange 2013

Music Exchange 2013

For three days, from 21 to 23 March 2013, the City Hall was abuzz with the sound of music – with a full programme of workshops and panel discussions on making it, marketing it, getting it heard on various platforms and ensuring that it moves with the times.

This independent music conference, now in its third year, attracted hundreds of experts and delegates from across the music spectrum – from composers and publishers to record company executives and media – to share knowledge and ideas, network, perform live showcases and identify opportunities to boost South African music locally, regionally and abroad.

Among the high-profile music creators spotted at the conference were Vicky Sampson, Mynie Grové, Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, RJ Benjamin, Chad Saaiman, Jimmy Nevis, Mark Haze, Dub Masta China and Arno Carstens, as well as industry heavyweights such as Universal Music A&R consultant Benjy Mudie, Cape Town Jazz festival founder Rashid Lombard and Rolling Stone SA editor-in-chief Miles Keylock.

The international speakers on the programme included acclaimed house music producer and remixer Charles Webster (UK), music promoter Doug Davenport (USA) and Africori CEO Yoel Kenan (France).

One of the conference’s undisputed highlights was the keynote address by Trevor Jones, moderated by Universal Records managing director Randall Abrahams. Now based in the UK, Jones was born in District Six and is considered one of the top five film score composers in the world, with several Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations as well two ASCAP Awards in the bag.

Jones has made an indelible mark on the global entertainment industry, scoring international blockbusters such as Notting Hill, The Last of the Mohicans, Mississippi Burning and The Mighty and working with the likes of U2, Sting, David Bowie, Sinead O’Connor, Britney Spears, Elvis Costello and Charlotte Church.

Jones became overcome with emotion after being given a standing ovation by delegates, who warmly welcomed him back home.

During his inspirational talk, he spoke about the importance of music education and his desire to give something back to South African music industry: “Key to South Africa’s success is hard work and building a positive perception of our country and us a nation,” he said.

Award-winning local singer, songwriter and guitarist Arno Carstens, who spoke at the conference about the song that made him famous, said it was an honour to be part of Music Exchange and it was encouraging and inspiring to see so many enthusiastic people attend and share their experiences and knowledge.

Joining Carstens on the stellar line-up of artists speaking about the song that made them famous, Vicky Sampson acknowledged songwriter Alan Lazar (formerly of Mango Groove, and now a successful composer based in Los Angeles), who wrote African Dream. “I am grateful that Alan gave me the song and did not pass me up for Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston,” Sampson quipped. She spent every minute of the conference absorbing and learning, as well as reconnecting with her mentor Benjy Mudie and her old friend RJ Benjamin.

Versatile singer, composer and teacher Benjamin, who has been invited to be a vocal coach for the upcoming season of Idols and will be composing SABC2’s new signature tune, continuously urged delegates to make use of social media platforms to reach new audiences. Benjamin stood out as one of the speakers to whom delegates were drawn and his presentations proved to be extremely popular.

After the weekend’s proceedings wrapped up, local music legend Hotstix tweeted: “What a conference; what great speakers and delegates – wow!”

Added a delighted Music Exchange founder and board member, Martin Myers: “We have been completely overwhelmed by the positive feedback we’ve received, and the animated conversations on social media platforms about the success of Music Exchange.

“Recording and performing artists, as well as composers and other industry players, have complimented the conference for being relevant, engaging and thought-provoking. There was a strong focus on the business side of music, which elevated this event above a mere talk shop: they left with useful, practical information that will undoubtedly be of immense value in their various professional ventures.”

Visit to find out more about next year’s Music Exchange conference, or follow @musicexchange on Twitter.

Issued by JT Communication Solutions on Behalf of Music Exchange –

Arno Carstens for De Waal Park -Sunday 3rd March from 3pm – 4.30PM -Free

During his career as the lead singer of Springbok Nude Girls and subsequently as a solo artist, Arno Carstens has released 10 studio albums (5 as the lead singer of Springbok Nude Girls, 1 as half of the Electronica project, Bhelltower and 4 as a solo artist).   He has had over 20 top ten singles, won 5 South African Music Awards and shared the stage with legends of the music world including U2, The Rolling Stones and REM.  He has toured extensively in SA, UK, Europe and USA, headlined every major South African festival and performed at some of the most legendary international music festivals including Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, V Festival, T in the Park and Hard Rock Calling.

2012 is a milestone year for Arno.  Besides working with Springbok Nude Girls, and on the Arno Plus art exhibition with accompanying collaborative Blind Tiger sessions, Arno recorded his 4th solo album, which is the landmark 10th studio album of his 20-year music career.  Titled “Atari Gala” (Warning Cry), the album was written in part in New York, London, Johannesburg and Cape Town and produced by Arno and Brendan Jury.

Arno Carstens for De Waal Park -Sunday 3rd March from 3pm - 4.30PM -Free

Arno Carstens for De Waal Park -Sunday 3rd March from 3pm – 4.30PM -Free


The title Atari Gala is a Japanese translation that implies a warning cry or celebration.

I painted the Japanese word “Atari” on a recent artwork, to mimic a bird singing a message of warning, which got me thinking that it could be a great name for a piece of music.  Because this is my 10th studio album, I wanted to emphasize a kind of celebration, not only of the 12 tracks on this particular album, but of the whole creative process that has brought me thus far.  Every song is an event or a tale, a celebration or a warning cry, that stems from life’s experiences,” says Carstens.

The album flows like a concept piece, from the opening track “Two Dogs”, which is a retrospective look at life, through to “Switch off the Machine” a song about a dying man’s last confession of love to his wife.  From there on out, the album takes a spiritual turn with the song “ Road to Enlightenment” followed by a hint at reincarnation with “Be My Immortal” and a look to new beginnings with “Goodbye Crazy”. The final three tracks, “I Breathe” “Only One Law” and “Sticking It In” all deal with a life in all its dark decadent glory, as if the soul didn’t learn from its previous existence.


“With this album I wanted to capture a full band sound and represent a version of the live band that I perform with and in that I think I have managed to capture the ‘sweet spot’ between my previous solo albums and the Springbok Nude Girls sound.”


The first single, ‘Two Dogs’ was released on the 25th June.


“I wrote ‘Two Dogs’ in Johannesburg last year.  I was on tour with Springbok Nude Girls at the time; we had just gotten back to SA from London, recording and touring ‘Apes with Shades’.  ‘Two Dogs’, and the whole album in fact, deals with the beauty and intricacies of life; triumphs of spirit and turbulence of everyday living.”


The music video for ‘Two Dogs’ was directed by Ryan Kruger and produced by Ryan Kruger and Darryn Bennett.


Two people are chained to a table out of reach from each others touch, in a representation of purgatory and an endless last supper scenario.  The only way they can explore each other and fulfill their desires both good and bad is through the meal laid out before them.  We see the monotony, even though the meal is perfect, overcome them.” Says Kruger


The album art was designed by the internationally acclaimed & award winning executive creative director Rob McLennan (Network BBDO)










Melanie Carstens





Arlene Machattie




(Studio albums marked in bold *)


*Springbok Nude Girls – Neanderthal 1 (Epic, 1995)

Springbok Nude Girls – It Became a Weapon (Epic, 1996)

Springbok Nude Girls – (Epic, 1997)

*Springbok Nude Girls – AfterLifeSatisfaction (Epic, 1997)

Springbok Nude Girls – Omnisofa (Epic, 1998)

Springbok Nude Girls – OPTI MUM (Epic, 1998)

*Springbok Nude Girls – Surpass The Powers (Epic, 1999)

Springbok Nude Girls – Un-E.Z. (Epic, 1999)

*Springbok Nude Girls – Relaxor (Epic, 2000)

Springbok Nude Girls – The Fat Lady Sings / Best of the Springbok Nude Girls 1995-2001 (Epic, 2001)

*Arno Carstens – Another Universe (Sony, 2003)

Springbok Nude Girls – Goddank Vir Klank 1994 – 2004 (Sony, 2004)

*Arno Carstens – The Hello Goodbye Boys (SonyBMG, 2005)

Nude Girls – Nude Girls (Exclusive UK release)(Golden Fairy Records/SonyBMG, 2006)

*Springbok Nude Girls – PeaceBreaker (SonyBMG, 2007)

Springbok Nude Girls – Live at London’s Astoria DVD (SonyBMG, 2007)

*Bhelltower – Bhelltower (SonyBMG, 2008)

Arno Carstens – Wonderful Wild (Sony, 2010)

*Arno Carstens – Wonderful Wild Deluxe Edition (Sony, 2010)

Springbok Nude Girls – Apes with Shades (Sony, 2011)

*Arno Carstens – Atari Gala (Gallo Record Company, 2012)



Arno Carstens on climate change

Geneva/Cape Town…. South African Arno Carstens is linking Africa’s school children with his mates worldwide to give the next generation a voice on climate change.

The singer songwriter is backing the Consider Us Campaign that will link school children globally to deliver – – “the real message” – – -on climate change to world leaders.

Arno penned the song, Emergency, earlier this year, while working in London and Spain, with legendary British producer Youth. It will be released as a single off his 3rd solo album, Wonderful Wild, which is scheduled for release 1st quarter 2010.

After hearing about the Consider Us Campaign, Arno felt instinctively that the track suited the concept as if it had been written for it. Prior to its release as a single, Emergency will be used by the United Nations as their global warming anthem to heat up the Consider Us Campaign. The rock legend wants South African finance and investment institutions to seal the deal.

Arno will be working behind the scenes with Theo Crous on this campaign, adding the voices of Africa’s school children to the chorus, an addition that did not form part of the original track. South Africa’s coolest musicians, who headed up the band The Nudies in the 1990s, will perform Arno’s hottest song yet; live at a United Nations conference that meets in Cape Town on 22-23 October 2009.

And then the song will be delivered direct to the world leaders at the biggest ever United Nations meeting on global warming that meets in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

Consider Us, a global advertising and multi-media campaign dreamed up by Zoom Advertising of South Africa, the country’s first carbon neutral advertising agency, will collect twenty word messages about climate change from children in Cape Town, Copenhagen, Chendu, Caracas, Chennai, Chicago, Canberra and beyond.

The children’s messages for Consider Us will be delivered direct to the world leaders when they meet in Denmark before Christmas to decide the future of their planet – – ” hot, cool, cold or perfect”.

Arno Carstens explained: ” What children think and say on climate change needs to be heard by the world’s leaders. That’s why I am backing Consider Us with a song that I hope rocks a generation”.

Arno added: “ We think Consider Us and Cape Town Green Week is a brilliant concept to encourage the younger generation to work with the United Nations for their future.”

Theo Crous said: ” It’s an honour to be working with the United Nations on this. Arno and me are right behind Consider Us. It’s great for children to be working with their heroes like Angelina Jolie who works for the UN as an Ambassador for Refugees.”

” Angelina would be proud of what school children in South Africa are starting and I think Nelson Mandela would be thrilled with the movement the country’s youth have started…” Theo added.

Steve Massey, Managing Director of Zoom Advertising explained:” Important people will debate big issues and make crucial commitments regarding climate change and carbon emissions. But the most important people will not be there: the ones who will inherit the outcome of these decisions – – the children.

Steve added: “That’s why Consider Us and the track, Emergency, which we hope will become the global warming anthem, is critical. The voices of the children need to be heard in Copenhagen.”

Rob Tacon, Chair of UNEP Finance Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and some 180 financial institutions, added: ” Arno and Theo’s support for UNEP FI and Consider Us is essential as their music moves young people in South Africa, across Africa and around the world. Those same young people deserve, need and want a voice on global warming and the future of the planet.”

Arno and Theo will perform Emergency with Arno’s full band live at the start of the 2009 UNEP Finance Initiative Global Roundtable ” Financing change, Changing finance,” 22-23 October, 2009, Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa (

Arno Carstens 3rd solo album will be released in the 1st quarter of 2010. It was written, recorded and mixed in London & Spain with co-songwriting contributions from Giles Martin, James Walsh, Jim Duguid and Youth. The album was produced by legendary British producer Youth (The Verve’s Urban Hymns) and Jim Duguid (Paulo Nutini’s These Streets). Final mix on the album is by Tim Bran (The Verve’s recent UK#1 album).

Emergency will be released as a single off this album during the course of 2010. <>

arno carstens photographed by music moods south africa

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