PRESENTERS K – L
Kechil presents the astronomy feature Looking Up at 17:50 on Fridays.
When her father carried the half-asleep little girl outside on cold winter nights on the Scottish border to look at the sky, he did not know what he had started. The seed of inspiration lay dormant until she took up a post in Uganda, some 35 years later, where, as in her small natal village, the darkness was unpolluted by electric lights. Interest in astronomy bloomed in Cape Town, where Kechil came in 2003 as lecturer in Information Systems at the University of Cape Town. She is now a very active member of the astronomical community, having been Chair of the Cape Centre, the Astronomy Society here in Cape Town, Chair of the Friends of the Cape Town Observatory, and regular astronomy outreach organiser. She has now extended this interest to form an astro-tourism company Over The Moon Tours, www.overthemoontours.co.za. Her love of teaching and of the subject of Astronomy led her to create the weekly Looking Up show on Fine Music Radio, to give listeners a glimpse into the magical world of Astronomy (please also see: www.lookingupsa.com).
Her involvement in FMR goes further back, to an initial meeting in 2003 with Sylvia Bruinders, with whom she produces the two-hour World Cafe on Wednesday nights. In Uganda there were many great radio stations playing a variety of local music. Finding nothing comparable in Cape Town, she asked UCT colleague Sylvia where on the airwaves she could find some World Music. To her astonishment there was none, and World Cafe was born.
Prior to coming to Africa, Kechil worked in the IT sector throughout Europe, has a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and another one in Information Technology from York University.
I’m Dave Kruger, and I was born, grew up and went to school in Johannesburg. Moved to Cape Town in 1972, and worked for 4 years in a guitar studio as a teacher of guitar.
In 1976 I started formal studies at UCT for a Bachelor Degree in music education with guitar as my first major and singing as a second. During these four years (and a few afterwards when time allowed) I sang in the ad-hoc chorus for (what was then) CAPAB opera. After graduating, I taught music, its associated subjects and a few others at Camps Bay High School from 1980 – 2007, when I took early retirement, and used the time to go back to UCT to do a Masters Degree in Music.
Since 2003, I have been writing and broadcasting programmes for Fine Music Radio. These include a series on the history of the guitar, and another on German Lieder, which I co-wrote and broadcast with the soprano Virginia Oosthuizen, and one focusing on Chamber Music that I shared with Patricia Thorp.
I have done several other shorter runs of non-specific programmes for FMR, as well as a few specialist programmes on composers (Wagner; Verdi; Benjamin Britten) and performers (John Tomlinson; Joyce Barker; Segovia; Julian Bream).
The sort of activity that fills my time is cooking, reading, walking my dog, writing programmes for FMR, and occasionally getting to the gym, and even more occasionally practicing guitar.
Mike presents “The Jazz Lounge” from 7.00 to 8.00pm on Tuesdays, playing relaxing, melodic jazz: the likes of Diana Krall, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Steve Tyrell. He avoids overly-progressive and avant-garde styles.
Mike writes the weekly “Jazz News” for Cape Town which goes out to a large mailing list every Monday, and which forms the basis of FMR’s gig guide, broadcast at 7.30pm from Monday to Friday. His website www.CapeTownJazz.com has had more than 50 000 visits.
Mike is a professional saxophonist; he has played with most of Cape Town’s best jazz musicians, has performed in virtually all the major venues, and has played at hundreds of weddings, corporate functions and parties.
He has recorded many CDs; one of them was chosen as a promotional tool by the Pam Golding group and widely distributed. His CDs have been featured as “Album of the Week” by several radio stations.
In addition, Mike is a crossword compiler (more than 500 cryptic crosswords for The Times/Sunday Times website amongst others), he’s a qualified microlight pilot, and past Chairman of Mensa Western Cape. He is also involved with Cape Sidecar Adventures, driving tourists about in a vintage motorbike with sidecar.
Priscilla Laing presents Classical Choice on Thursdays as well as being involved with various other classical programmes on FMR, including alternate Tuesday and Friday Matinees, Great Interpreters and Composer of the Week, Music Among Friends, Symphony Concert and Reflections.
A true child of Africa, Priscilla grew up on a farm in Kenya and began her schooling in Nairobi. When the troubles in Kenya began in the early 60s, the family left for Brisbane, Australia, where they lived for two years. As a young girl, Priscilla took piano lessons at school in Kenya and went on taking lessons in Australia, at the Brisbane Conservatoire. Later the family returned to Africa, this time for South Africa, where they settled in Durban, and where Priscilla matriculated.
After school she did a commercial course and married a marine engineer who worked for BP, and she spent the next four years travelling the world on oil tankers before ending up in Aberdeen, Scotland, where Priscilla joined BP herself and worked for them for the next 20 years of her life. During that time she honed her skills in IT and the implementation of IT systems.
Eventually her yearning for Africa (“If you’re born in Africa, it’s in your bones”, she says) brought her back here – she was offered a job with an accounting firm and settled in Cape Town. But in 1998, she was off again, for another firm, first to Singapore and then for four years to Sydney. In Sydney she lived across the water from the famous opera house, and revelled in the concerts and operas staged there and in the city’s rich cultural life.
Throughout her travels, Priscilla says her two passions she could always return to were music and books, and wherever she was she would always try to tune in to the local classical music station. In 2006, after hearing an appeal over the air, she decided to audition for FMR and was delighted to be successful and after receiving some training in the finer points of radio presentation, she was “on her own”. She admits she has learnt a lot, and her knowledge of the classical repertoire has steadily increased. Even when not presenting, Priscilla is involved as a listener – she has eclectic taste, which includes jazz and most music played on the station.
Priscilla compiles mainly from her own collection of CDs, and prefers to play music she likes, and admits that she tries to take care in compiling, and loves the research required for the specialist programmes. She says she always pleased to get feedback from listeners, especially when she plays an interesting new piece and gets a
Rina was born in Middelburg in the Transvaal, long before it became Mpulanga. She attended school there and in Pretoria and later obtained her librarian qualification through Unisa.
After retiring as a librarian, she did a course to qualify as a guide and took visitors on walking tours through historical Cape Town. She also did a course at the Two ocean aquarium and worked there once a week as a volunteer guide.
Rina’s interests are books, gardening, walking and anything around us that makes life interesting. Her greatest achievements are firstly her four wonderful children (the five grandchildren are their achievements again) and the fact that she learned to drive a car, because as she puts it “ I’m a mechanical and technological idiot.
As far as music is concerned, Rina doesn’t have any special qualifications which make her suitable FMR presenter, except her deep love and interest in music.
That is why it is such a privilege for her to be part of the FMR team and to work amongst so many competent and experienced people.
One thing that Rina learned is that life becomes even more interesting once you’ve gone past 60!
Rina presents Matinee every second Tuesday from 2PM to 4PM.
Valmont presents our programme World Café.
Valmont developed his love for music growing up in District Six and on the Cape Flats. Born in 1966, his childhood years were spent in in the District, as well as in Bontheheuwel, Hanover Park, Factreton, Parkwood and later in Wetton. His mother was a factory worker, mostly in the clothing industry and his father worked for the city, supervising council housing estates in the Cape Flats area.
Valmont formed his musical sensibilities from the sounds and sights of the places where he lived – Indian film music from the radios in the shops on Hanover Street, jazz, funk and soul from illicit recordings of Capital and LM Radio, and from the record collections of the older siblings of his friends. In the 1980s, he discovered the broken musical legacies of South Africa and the Cape as a young musician and activist – the music of Abdullah Ibrahim, Robbie Jansen, the Genuines and many others. These were to have a profound influence on him.
In 1995, Valmont was a musician with a passion for his heritage and completed a masters degree in History at the University of Cape Town focusing on the social and economic history of jazz in the Western Cape. He spent 10 years at the District Six Museum in Cape Town where he established the sound archives and its collections of music and oral histories from the Cape and curated a number of projects. Later he became director of the Museum. He has also been a Fellow at the Centre for Public Scholarship at Emory University and participated in a range of international museum, heritage and human rights projects, travelling to Sweden, Chile, Australia, Russia, Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Eastern Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and many other places.
Following that he worked briefly as a consultant to the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival before joining the management team as curator and marketing manager. He believes the arts help challenge us in ways we cannot predict and are a critical part of a free society.
Valmont is a firm believer in local vernacular musical expression and works tirelessly to assert its place as part of the music of the globe. He is currently an active member of organisations such as the Arterial Network to promote creativity and build markets for African and South African creativity in the world. His presentations on World Café seek to assert this connectedness between the music of the Cape and its resonances with themes in global music.
Valmont Layne lives in Muizenberg with his wife and three-year old daughter. He currently works as a consultant in the arts.