NEWS

WELL-KNOWN SOUTH AFRICAN ENTERTAINER COMING TO CHARLOTTE

January 9, 2007

Charlotte, NC – Jeremy Taylor, British-born and much-loved South African singer, song-writer, poet and humorist, will be performing in Charlotte from February 18th until February 28th at various events and schools in the area. Most noted for being banned from South Africa for ridiculing Apartheid, his infectious tunes and songs were a lone voice in the long struggle for a South African solution. Jeremy tells his story of South Africa—its history, its peoples, its cultural and racial divides, its struggles for supremacy—all revealed with humor and humanity through his songs, poems and stories. Audiences will gain a warmer view of a complex land with this highly accomplished and seasoned performer.
Taylor will be visiting a number of high schools in the area, doing some private living room concerts and also a public performance at Ri-Ra’s Irish Pub, to share his experiences and unique message about life in South Africa today. See attached program of events where he will be appearing.

Jeremy set South Africa alight in the sixties with his song “Ag Pleez Deddy” and was subsequently banned from South Africa for ridiculing the apartheid government. After two years on London’s West End stage in Wait A Minim, a South African musical revue, he became a leading entertainer on the British folk circuit with songs like “Jobsworth”, “Red Velvet Steering Wheel Cover Driver” and “Prawns in the Game”.

His “Piece of Ground” was recorded in the USA by Miriam Makeba. With John Wells he wrote songs for the West End musical satire Mrs. Wilson's Diary, was for two years Spike Milligan's stage partner in For One Week Only, wrote a Latin lyric (“O Caritas”) for Cat Stevens, made frequent concert appearances with Donald Swann and Sidney Carter and performed his own one-man show at Soho's Boulevard Theatre.

TV series included Granada's At Last Its Friday with Richard Stilgoe, Diana Quick and Keith Dewhurst; Psssst! which included Julie Covington, Jean Hart and Kenny Lynch; and Songs From The Two Brewers in which he hosted stars from the folk world including The Dubliners, Ralph McTell and Pentangle. In 1980 he had his own series on BBC2 with Telephone Bill and the Smooth Operators.

A change of government in 1979 led to his re-admittance to South Africa and from 1980 to 1994 he chronicled his life in Broederstroom, (a rural farming area of the Transvaal, now known as Gauteng) , in a series of tales which were gradually woven into his one-man stage shows. These included Back In Town, Go For The Gap, Jeremy Taylor Stuff, Jeremy Taylor Entertains, An Evening With Jeremy Taylor and Broederstroom Diaries.

He also acted in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood, Robert Hewett's Gulls ( two awards), The Fire Raisers by Max Frisch, Aladdin in pantomime and The Earl And The Pussycat by Harold Brooke and Kate Bannerman. In 1991 he narrated Peter And The Wolf and Carnival Of The Animals on stage with the SA National Orchestra. He has made fifteen solo albums, five shared albums, ten singles, four EP's, three CD's and one 78, released in Johannesburg on the African 'Bush' label New Era in 1962 and featuring his 'Kwela'-style song 'Tsotsi Style'.

For six years he was the television face of South Africa's highest-selling brand of tea. He published the book Ag Pleez Deddy- Songs and Reflexions in 1992 and in 1994 returned to the UK.

He has settled with his wife in the Loire valley of France and continues to entertain in folk clubs. He also performs his one man show as “Lectures on South Africa” in schools and in 2000-2001 was Artist in Residence at Wellington College, Crowthorne. He has also co-produced an album of songs and poems by Sidney Carter for Stainer & Bell entitled Lord Of The Dance. He and his wife share five children and two grandchildren.

PROGRAM OF EVENTS BOOKED TO DATE IN CHARLOTTE

  • Sunday February 18, 2007 Private Living Room Concert in Charlotte
  • Wednesday February 21, 2007 Myers Park High School 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM
  • Wednesday February 21, 2007 Public Performance at Ri-Ra’s Irish Pub 8 pm Tickets $20 available from Dianne Stewart 704-844-1064 or at the door. Seating is limited so prior booking is advised
  • Thursday February 22, 2007 at Carolina International School, Harrisburg, NC 9:00 AM – 12:00 NOON
  • Monday February 26, 2007 at Providence Day School with invited students from Vance High School who are currently involved in a project linked to a school in South Africa.

Visit his website for more information and to hear some of his music at www.JeremyTaylor.info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT :

Dianne Stewart  – BSA PR & Marketing           Phone : 704-844-1064             di@bsapr.biz

BACKGROUND INFORMATION :

Jeremy Taylor: Singer / Songwriter
Born: 24 November 1937 Newbury Berkshire.
Education: St Bartholomew's Grammar School Newbury, Trinity College Oxford. MA Modern Languages.

Smash hit of “AG PLEEZ DEDDY” (Southern Africa 1961) 4 times gold.

Currently tourning in the UK and North America, performing in folk clubs and lecturing in schools on the subject of South Africa.

Jeremy does Concert/Lecture Presentations and Discussion Groups where he chairs discussion groups for students anxious to explore further the issues raised in the presentation. In particular he highlights the relevance of South Africa's story to the rest of the modern world. These groups are open-ended and can be tailored to fit existing general studies programs.

His Songwriting/Performing Workshops are based on his two-semester appointment as artist in residence at Wellington College, Crowthorne, UK, where Jeremy guides putative writers, songwriters and performers in the exploration of their craft. He draws on decades of stage experience in one-man shows, plays and concert appearances.

Personal Endorsements : “Jeremy Taylor kept our entire Sixth Form mesmerized. His superb storytelling and singing skills enabled him to give a picture of life in South Africa in a most powerful and entertaining way. ” —St. Edward’s School, Oxford, UK

“My students responded with great enthusiasm to Jeremy Taylor's sharp, playful wit and piercing wisdom. His presence is irresistible, and his songs really moved the kids. They were singing along with one of the songs, and at the end of one concert, all the students stayed beyond the bell to listen to the end. I've never seen that amount of extended, respectful and rapt attention at an in-school field trip before. We would like to have him back next year. Besides a concert, I could imagine him doing some sort of workshop with a small number of serious, creative students. ”—Steve Gevinson, English department OPRF High School, Oak Park, IL USA

“…It is really a mixture of some history, some entertainment and a challenge to our students to think for themselves.” —Whitgift School, UK

“Dear Mr. Taylor, thank you so much for contributing so generously to our community! We feel enormously blessed to have had the opportunity. ”—G. Williams Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, IL USA

“I would strongly commend Jeremy Taylor of any school. His concert was an experience what will long be remembered…I would strongly commend Jeremy Taylor of any school. His concert was an experience what will long be remembered…”

— Geelong Grammar School, Australia

A Personal Statement from Jeremy Taylor

I first went to South Africa in 1959 immediately after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in modern languages. I took a job as a teacher at a school in Johannesburg and virtually at the same time began writing songs. I became involved in staging a musical revue, "Wait a Minim!", which surpassed expectations (it was meant to run for two weeks) by finishing its life, seven years later, in Australia after running for two years in London's West End, a year on Broadway and a further year touring the United States.

The revue featured "Ag Pleez Deddy!", a song I had written in the cheerful vernacular of my pupils. It went to the top of the SA charts virtually sealing my fate until the present day. It was printed in full in the New York Times but banned from the SA airwaves on the grounds of linguistic pollution. It nonetheless became an unofficial anthem for white South Africa. Meanwhile "Piece of Ground", penned in 1962 and later recorded in the US by Miriam Makeba, became a rallying cry for black protest movements of the seventies and eighties. From whatever angle I was considered by the South African authorities, quite correctly, as subversive. In 1970 I was banned from re-entering the country.

In the wake of a government reshuffle nine years later I was permitted to return. My one-man show "Back in Town" played to full houses and I resettled in the land to continue chronicling life under apartheid, its dramas, its tragi-comic turns of fate, its fundamental humanity forever at odds with the continuing struggle for political ascendancy.

It seemed meaningless to take sides. Anyone with a concern for justice could not but recognize courage and decency where they found it, often in the most unexpected places. My inability to take sides left me, after fifteen years of touring my shows, marginalized by the euphoria of "freedom" which, with the elections of 1994, ostensibly marked the end of the "struggle". Talk of rainbows and other wish-fulfillments seemed worryingly at odds with the reality I had been rubbing shoulders with for thirty-five years. Instead of hard-headed governance South Africa was suddenly awash with sentimentalism. The longed-for nirvana was fast becoming, quite simply, reverse apartheid.

Whither South Africa now? Can a land with the highest murder rate in the world (over 22,000 in 2005) be considered a success? Where has it gone wrong? And what has it to do with the rest us?

I like to celebrate the many things that were right with the land and the many qualities that were paramount among its peoples. And I pray that somehow they will prevail.— Jeremy Taylor, 2006


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