Good vibrations

Wouter van de Venter is the real deal – a true rockabilly cat.

With 100-plus Afrikaans folk rock songs under his belt, long will Wouter van de Venter’s songs live on. His popularity really took off with tracks such as As die hippies begin dans and Toe roep jy my – with no fewer than 1.6 million YouTube views for the former. In short, he’s an outstanding songwriter.

Considering how important he is to the Afrikaans music scene, many people don’t know about him. Luckily, the right people did. Which is why countless artists have been recording his songs. And Laurika Rauch contracted him as her lead guitarist for six years. “This collaboration led to memorable gigs at the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena in England, as well as large theatres throughout South Africa,” he reminisced.

In the ensuing five years Wouter was a member of Die Ses Snare, who released two DVDs and three albums. “But the music business is ever-evolving”, so he left the band in 2015 to move to Langebaan. Six happy years later, he was forced to settle in Saldanha this year after losing his house during lockdown.

Having learned early in life how to engineer a recording-studio console, Wouter is a mean hand in producing terrific albums. At his Weskus Studio he birthed albums for among others, Chris Rain, Morné Postma, Amore, Marcato, Crimson House Blues, SA Blues Breakers and The Ballistics.

While the gig scene is currently a bit iffy, what with Covid and group restrictions, this is where Wouter’s heart lies. “I love performing – be it events, private parties or at restaurants. That’s actually when I’m front and centre.”

To keep the wolf from the door, he’s added guitar lessons for 15- to 17-year-old youngsters to his repertoire. “The kids I teach are simply the hottest,” he said. “My one student has already played in big acts, as well as participating in the Gifberg Spookfees. Although I did teach online guitar lessons at one stage, I prefer the one-on-one interaction to seriously prepare students for gigs.”

Wouter’s music, built as it is on folk rock melody, riffs and the groove, contains a beauty that attracts and lifts in equal measure. But it’s his voice that reaches the higher ground. It burns with abandon, at once powerful and deeply personal.

Ever busy writing, as he’s done for as long as he can remember, he’ll be releasing three music videos end-September this year.

Music aside, he sure values family time. When he’s not playing nerf guns with 12-year-old son Walt, Wouter cooks for wife Anita, a music booking agent. Very much a case of keeping it in the family!

My sport is playing on stage and carrying my speakers
For relaxation, I cook
My pet place on the West Coast is Langebaan
Favourite restaurant is Muisbosskerm in Lambertsbaai
I love eating everything except Brussel sprouts
My signature drink is brandy
On TV, I enjoy cooking programmes 

Contact Wouter on 071 3776386.