Jim Beam Welcome Sessions

Lo-Ghost and Morena Leraba break the onstage ice at Aandklas in Stellenbosch

Back in the day when I was a student at UCT and my BFF was a student at Stellenbosch, we had the best of both worlds, partying in town during the week and spending our weekends stalking Dorp Staat. Seems our jols in Bird Straat were hours well spent though, because on my way to Aandklas for the next Jim Beam Welcome Session, I couldn’t figure out where the hell to turn off.

But once things fell into place and muscle memory took over, it was like I’d landed smack-bang in the middle of a time warp. Aandklas might look different courtesy of a lick of paint, but it feels the same – the outside section still has that lekker warmth about it and the pizza’s still taste as doughy and delicious.  

I’d had a chat with Lo-Ghost’s Shannon Devy a few days before on Texx Talks Xxtra and we spoke about how excited we both were for this gig. And as they step onto stage there’s a strong sense of camaraderie between Shannon and the other half of Lo-Ghost, Evan Strauss. 

A classically trained pianist, who also studied classical percussion and jazz drums, Strauss is masterful at keeping the show together and moving, while Shannon builds her bold vocal layers with stark lyrics. It’s not easy filling a stage like that with only two people but somehow they make it look effortless. 

Morena Leraba’s been potting around Cape Town playing shows and having secret listening parties like an underground OG, but somehow our paths only managed to cross on a Zoom call last week about some exciting shit I can’t share with you just yet. But. The group of musicians that he’s amassed to play alongside him is spectacularly slick. And dressed in his traditional Basotho shepherd garb, armed with a traditional stick, he cuts a formidable figure front and centre stage. This is music to lose yourself in, one chant and reverberating drum beat at a time.  

Stellies is a special place, fuck what anyone says. And it’s nights like this one at Aandklas, even after all these years, that remind me just how warm and welcoming the town can be.

Check out the full gallery from this event.

All pics courtesy of Leigh Groenemeyer.