Review

Hanru Niemand shows his full range of abilities on Opgrawings Vir ‘N Lugkasteel

Afrikaans folk-maestro Hanru Niemand’s fourth full length album, Opgrawings Vir ‘N Lugkasteel, shows two sides to a musician who’s steadily been making his way in the local industry.

Opgrawings Vir ‘N Lugkasteel is a shining example of the understanding of Afrikaans language and culture that has helped Niemand build a cult following since he first stepped onto the scene 17 years ago.

The album has an A and B side, the former made up of songs that are regularly performed live and are recorded in a way that reflects Niemand’s live performances. With only a guitar to accompany the voice, songs like “Kreeftegang Wals” and “Land van Kain” showcase the special relationship between lyrics and music.

The B side of the album is more expansive, adding piano, violin, bass, and backing vocals to the arrangement. With a touch of Bob Dylan circa Desire, songs like “Freaky Joe” and “Tiran” go back to the roots of folk by spinning stories of people who find themselves in trouble of one kind or another, the violin bringing a healthy dose of tragic grandeur.

Opgrawings Vir ‘N Lugkasteel puts Hanru Niemand’s immense talent on full display, showing off not only his impeccable songwriting abilities but also his versatility as a performer.