Gert Vlok Nel - Beaufort-Wes se Beautiful Woorde

Gert Vlok Nel - Beaufort-Wes se Beautiful Woorde - 5/5

Where to start with this album? I decided to share some of South Africa`s finest work with you and only one album came to mind. Before you listen make sure you get a box of tissues and a strong whiskey to still the pain: this album is no joke.

I know you won`t all be able to understand the lyrics (translations can be organised, if you want, and I actually reccomend asking) but this is so much more powerful than just the lyrics. As I am writing, not listening on the words, I can feel the shooting, ice-cold emotional pain that this man has managed to convey in just 44 minutes. Many artists have been called blues: Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC... This album puts all of these bands to shame in what it really means to sing the blues.

I can`t call the album "minimalist" as there is a very distinct use of instrumentation, lively drumming in "Rivier" or steel guitar in "Hillside Lullaby", for example, but most of the album is dominated by the acoustic guitar, harmonica and desparing wail of Nel. An almost repetitive musical sequence is present in all the songs but to call it boring is, quite simply, to lie. To call this music repetitive is like calling a roller-coaster repetitive: true, but unfair.

I once heard someone saying of the blues: "Blues is about the guitar. The singer is only there to narrate." But what Nel has managed to accomplish is so much more: a myriad of techniques, ranging from a morbid female back-up singer to subtle touches of piano, are successfully used to create an unforgettable atmosphere. All of this is only improved by the fact that this man is a poet of the highest quality.

The lyrics don`t paint a very different picture: an ongoing road-trip through the pains and sorrows of Nel`s mind. From a tale of lost love ("Beatiful in Beaufort-Wes") to a eulogy for one of Afrikaans music`s greatest legends, who sadly passed away in a road-accident ("Waarom Ek Roep Na Jou Vanaand"), this album shows you exactly how it would feel if everything you love, died and you were slowly walking to the cliff where you were going to commit suicide. I don`t even care about the constant English words he throws in and I`m the biggest Afrikaans-purist you`ll ever meet!

The only downside to the album is the few scratches on the first track but I am willing to take full responsibility for that (scratched CD`s and such) and hope it doesn`t keep you from enjoying the sweet, sweet melancholy that Gert Vlok Nel has ceated.

(Link provided by me :D AND YOU`D BETTER APPRECIATE IT!)

Highlights: Every-bloody-thing! And I`m not even kidding!

» Click to show lyrics - click again to hide... «


jennifer said…
would love the english translation of beautiful in beaufort wes, love his album, yes tissues needed, sadly my afrikaans is sadly lacking after 40 years away. thankyou
T. Bawden said…
There are translated lyrics in the drop down menu at the bottom. Just click it and it'll open!
jennifer said…
Thankyou for telling me , lovely to have the lyrics cheers!
rapscalian said…
Ah man. Thank you for posting Nel's album. I have wanted to get my hands on it for ages. His lyrics touch me in a place that few others ever have..
kiwikenney said…
I love Gert's music. Been away from SA for nearly 10 years and discovered this blog about a year ago. Thought I'd just do the decent thing and say thank you :-)
Anonymous said…
I am about to post lyrics to Waarom ek... and want to link this blog post.
I am going to link here, if you object, let me know at and I will delete.
Thank you for taking the effort to translate. An epic job.
maryke amzqal said…
hi guys

the same story that happened in this song happened to me and it also happened in beaufort west. ironic right? sad i would say...

there is just one mistake on the lyrics though. she wasn't lying sweet sweetly in his arms but sweating in his arms. beaufort west is in a very hot part of our country so you can imagine two passionate bodies against each other in the heat where not even the night brings comfort from the heat. sweet in english is something nice lol but sweet in afrikaans is something not so nice.
T. Bawden said…
Heh, thanks for the correction. I have no idea how good Odendaal's Afrikaans is, all I know is I can't say a word :P