MORE about Coenie...
Coenie de Villiers was born and bred in the Free State where he completed his post-graduate studies in Communication, Media Science and Marketing at Free State University . He studied classical piano and played his formal keyboard exams through UNISA.
Coenie is known as the foremost writer/performer in Afrikaans, and critics universally regard his lyrics as being of a world-class standard. He has performed on virtually all of South Africa 's major stages, and has shared shows with the likes of Sibongile Khumalo, Gloria Bosman, Sipho Gumede, Laurika Rauch, David Kramer and a brace of other South African artists. Likewise, many South African artists have performed with him on his twelve albums, inter alia Jonathan Butler, Sipho Gumede, Gloria Bosman, Amanda Strydom, Afrika Mamas, Leslie Rae Dowling, Steve Newman, Amampondo, David Kramer, Brasse vannie Kaap and Karen Zoid.
He has performed abroad in New Zealand , Canada , England , Holland and Belgium . Coenie has won numerous awards for his music including two SAMA awards for musical excellence. He is universally acknowledged as one of the most challenging and original singer/songwriters in South Africa , and has for many years bridged the musical divides between cultures in South Africa .
Musically his career began in the late seventies when he released a single for which he wrote the music through EMI. The record went on to win a SARIE award for Most Promising Artist. As first and foremost a songwriter, Coenie found the experience creatively unsatisfying, and resolved not to record again if he could not hold complete creative sway over the product.
At the beginning of the eighties, he met Paddy Lee Thorp of Mountain Records who afforded him the freedom to write, arrange, produce and perform his first album, the seminal Skoppensboer , which was released in 1982/83. The album featured Coenie's writing and performance skills as composer, lyricist, pianist and vocalist. The lyric of one song was by Pieter-Dirk Uys, and featured David Kramer doing a duo with Coenie. The album caused a furor in the conservative, mainstream Afrikaans market and most of the tracks were subsequently playbanned by the SABC.
This album was followed by Die Reisiger , which featured, inter alia, Jonathan Butler and Steve Newman on guitars, and which went on to win two SARIE awards and a SCOTTY award. As with Skoppensboer , the album was engineered by Kevin Shirley, currently the producer of, amongst others, the band Aerosmith in America . Coenie again produced, wrote and performed the album. The SABC again playbanned several of the songs.
Kruispaaie followed, an album steeped in the unrest of the middle to late eighties. The title track (referring to the Crossroads squatter camp) included live recordings of squatter evictions during a period where lyrics reflecting the unrest were not allowed. The album also included several live recordings of songs set to the text of award-winning author Hennie Aucamp. Coenie once again wrote, produced and performed the album, and infused it with a clean, crisp production quality that was as yet unheard in the mainstream Afrikaans market.
Coenie lived on the island of Cyprus during the cusp of the eighties and nineties. He wrote, recorded and produced the album Amper Alleen in Cyprus and in Athens , Greece . Amper Alleen was the second SA album to be released on CD. On this quiet, introspective album, Coenie plays with some of the best Greek and Cypriot musicians, notably the bouzouki player Elias Elias.
Coenie and his family returned to South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC. He released Hartland , an album which looked at the dark heart of South Africa , and which included an exceptional vocal performance by Leslie Rae Dowling.
Two further two albums on the Mountain label followed: Karoonagte – which included several new tracks and established favourites in a remastered guise. The title track is probably Coenie's best-known song and has become a classic in the Afrikaans pantheon. The second, Liefdesversies , is a collection of Coenie's finest love ballads.
Coenie's subsequent albums were made in conjunction with JNS records. The first, Ek Wens , is a powerhouse album featuring, inter alia, Amanda Strydom, Laurika Rauch, Sipho Gumede, Lucas Maree and the Jubilee 5 singers from the Eastern Cape . The album displayed a new confidence for the singer/songwriter, and songs such as the title track and Lied van die Exiles have become entrenched as favourites.
The next album, Solo , was recorded with a live audience in the studio, and features the talents of erstwhile Blood, Sweat & Tears trumpet player, Bruce Cassidy. Coenie worked with Johan Laas on the production, which has a live feel to it, but with the technical veneer that only a studio can offer. A feature of the album is Coenie's stunning Afrikaans version of the seminal Bright Blue song, Weeping.
The next album, Hooglied , features the production capabilities of Harold Schenk, who produced the international hit album for Coleske. Coenie ventures into English on this album, and s07.01.2010ika Mamas add textured vocals to the production, and Coenie again shifted the paradigm by using hip-hop group Brasse vannie Kaap in his bilingual version of Desiderata . The album was particularly well received by critics.
His next album, Zen , reflects the certainty of a musician and songwriter with two decades of experience behind him. It is primarily a songwriter's album, with Coenie sharing production credits with Johan Laas, Mauritz Lotz and Marius Brouwer. Once again he pushes the envelope by including a raucous duet with South African rock singer Karen Zoid. This album won the SAMA award as best contemporary Afrikaans album of 2003.
At the beginning of 2003 Mountain Record re-released Coenie's first album, Skoppensboer , in a commemorative boxed CD edition.
His most critically acclaimed album thus far has been the acoustic “unplugged” album Handgemaak , released in 2004 and featuring amongst others the vocal talents of South Africa 's biggest selling artist, Steve Hofmeyr. The album's universal crossover appeal spoke to both mass audiences as well as critics, and won Coenie yet another SAMA award in 2005 for best contemporary Afrikaans album. The album was also nominated by popular vote for the Huisgenoot TEMPO awards in 2005.
Coenie's latest album, released in 2008, is Weerlig oor die See.
Coenie will be releasing a new album early 2009 - Dekade - watch this space for details.