Anton Goosen has come a long way since he travelled from Heidelberg where he studied, to do a 15-minute set in East-London at a local concert. The young Anton Goosen mainly did English covers and it is unknown whether the audiences realised what a big influence Anton would have on the South-African music industry in general and more specifically the Afrikaans music industry.
There were sceptics. In Gr.11 Anton was told by a school psychiatrist that there was no future for him in music. That was after he started playing music in school, strongly influenced by songs like Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry), I can’t get no (satisfaction) of the Rolling Stones and She loves you by The Beatles. After school with no immediate musical career on the horizon he qualified as a teacher and taught at St. Stithian’s while playing the pubs at night.
Few people know this but in that time Anton also qualified as a South-Transvaal soccer referee. During his time at St. Stithian’s Anton wrote a musical, Jantjie, which was performed by his students. Anton gives up teaching in 1976 and starts as a part time reviewer at the newly founded newspaper called Beeld.
In this time he also gives guitar and pottery lessons. His first interview as music reviewer for Beeld was with the relatively unknown Sonja Herholdt, whose song Ek verlang na jou was just starting to receive some popularity. During the interview Anton tells Sonja that he also writes songs and she visits him at home to go through his collection. She chooses to sing ‘Jantjie’ which becomes one of her greatest hits. This was the beginning of a successful working relationship that lasted for nearly four years. In this time Anton wrote all the songs for Sonja’s albums.
Just some of the hits with which Sonja climbed the hit parades and award ceremonies include: Waterblommetjies, Harlekyn, Hanoverstraat, Trein na Matjiesfontein, Ta’ Mossie se sakkie-sakkie boeredans and Oberammergau.
Anton not only writes for Sonja, he also writes songs like Hoeka Toeka for Carike Keuzenkamp, Straattroebadoere, Vergeet om te Vergeet, Neanderthalman and Atlantis for Laurika Rauch. Richard Clayderman and Francis Goya both make recordings of Waterblommetjies. In 1979 Anton writes the theme music for the film Pretoria o Pretoria. The theme song in the film is the original version of Kruidjie-Roer-my-nie, and is banned within four days of release.
This begins a long series of containment for Anton by the SABC. Anton rewrites the lyrics of Kruidjie-roer-my-nie, the single goes on to sell 40 000 units. (The b-side of the single was Waterblommetjies). This is Anton Goosen’s first commercially successful recording. In the same year he releases his first album, which was also the first South African album ever to be released by a singer that wrote his own songs in Afrikaans. His inspiration came after Chris Kritzinger told Anton that he should make an album, something in the likes of singer-songwriter ‘Donovan’. ‘ Boy van die suburbs’ sells 80 000 units, not bad for someone with no future in music.
Anton breaks new ground for Afrikaans on the album and ‘Blommetjie-gedenk-aan-my’ is generally regarded as the first rock song in Afrikaans. The direction Anton takes after this leads to him being titled as ‘ the father of Afrikaans rock’. Anton did not only bring rock music to Afrikaans, the protest against the status quo that has always been underlying to rock music, was also part of Anton’s contribution. ‘Antjie Somers’ and ‘Hanoverstraat’ are some of the first songs to protest against forceful displacements. ‘Mpanzaville’ recorded by Laurika Rauch contains strong references about the Soweto riots. After making a joke about the national flag during a crescendo- performance Anton is banned by the ATKV from performing on their stage. The banishment was later lifted after they were put under heavy pressure. He shocks the audience of a cultural concert at UNISA when he arrives with a rock band for his performance.
Approximately 300 of the 1200 audience members get up and walk out during a drum solo. With the help of artists like Laurika Rauch, Koos du Plessis, Jannie du Toit, Louis van Ransburg and Clarabelle van Niekerk, Anton is the leader of the 1979 ‘music and lyric movement’. Among others he writes 16 of the songs that are used on the television programme by Merwede van der Merwe and is the music advisor for the television series and then for the stage performances. With the ‘musiek en liriek’ movement the song Kruidjie-roer-my-nie starts climbing the hit parade. The Rubicon division in Afrikaans music is achieved, and short on his heels followed David Kramer, Coenie de Villiers, Lucas Maree, and Annelie van Rooyen etc. It has been said over time that Afrikaans music can be divided into two categories: That what happened before Anton Goosen and that what happened after Anton Goose (Geert Blok Nell). He wins two Saria Awards in this time. In the 80’s Anton builds on the rock foundation that he has laid down in the 70’s.
Extensive tours across South Africa and Namibia follows in the 80’s and he sells over 400 000 records. In 1983 Anton manages the staging of Wildebeest, the first Afrikaans rock album. Anton proves himself a successful producer and this talent of his shows especially true in the 90’s when he produced the very successful ‘ Elke boemelaar se droom’ for Koos Kombuis and also the critically acclaimed ‘ Om te Breyten’ album. In 1985 Anton signs a recording contract with Peter Gallo on a milk bottle. It is the beginning of an engagement that is strong to this day.
Two successful albums follow:
Lappiesland and Liedjieboer innie city/stad. In the albums Anton explores his ethnic origin, in this time he moves to Gansbaailapa his small farm at Hennopsriver. Years later he introduces to his followers the song Gansbaailapa on his ‘Putsonnerwater’ album. Anton head in a new direction in
1989 when he collaborates with Lucas Maree, Helena Hettema and Karlien van Niekerk and so creating the group: Kommissie van Ondersoek- a tongue in the cheek reference to the many commissions that the National Party compiled during their rule. The song ‘ Winde van Verandering’ is immediately banned by the SABC. The song predicts the historic event that was to follow on 2 February 1990. When the SABC realize that change is imminent they unban the song and Winde van Verandering becomes a radio hit.
Also in this year, Anton appoints Ansie Kamfer aged 19 and a political activist as his manager. His trust in her is awarded when one year later she organises Houtstok and succeeds in her first attempt by attracting an audience of 22 000 people to attend the music concert. To this day Houtstok is the biggest Afrikaans music festival yet. The FAK’s backtrack festival at the Voortrekker monument was attended by only 15 000 people. As with the musiek and liriek movement before, Anton finds himself once again on the knife point of Afrikaans music development. ‘Wit Kaffers van Afrika’
becomes one of the most controversial protest songs ever in Afrikaans. The CD of Houtstok festival recorded by Peter Pearlson portrays the soul of the occasion. Anton works on the album Danzer between 1990 and 1992. He tours with rock bands such as Jack Hammer and the Backwater Blues Band. The title song of the Danzer album ‘ Dancer’ where Anton and Lucky Dube collaborates reaches the number one position simultaneously on both 5FM and Radio Metro.
Thereby Anton is the first Afrikaans singer to hold the number one position on 5FM. Not only was the album a commercial success, it even impressed the critics. ‘Insig’ appoints the album as the best ever of South-African music. Also in the 90’s Anton releases another album ‘Bushrock’ on which he works with Gito Baloi of Tananas, Isaac Mstali of Stimela (he among many other accomplishments played on Graceland) Kenny Mataba etc. Anton creates a unique Afrikaans marabi sound with mixes of different cultural styles. In this time another two collectors albums are released- Riviersonderend and Putsonnerwater, with a few new works such as ‘Die Seewater is blou’ and his setting of Ingrid Jonker’s ‘Hemel vol blou Akkers’. In the late 90’s Anton takes time out to rediscover himself. He finishes his house on Gansbaailapa and travels through Africa. In 1999 he takes up live performances again.
His audience now contains members of a new generation of who were only children when Anton arrived on the scene. Many of them have not yet been born when Anton released Boy van die suburbs. Anton’s music becomes the bridge between generations. Age does not diminish Anton’s principles.
In 1999 he refuses to accept an award from the ATKV because they also award people whose work consists mainly of translated English songs. Anton struggles against translations and people who perform on stage with backtracks. In 2002 the struggle comes to a point with the backtrack brigade under the leadership of Steve Hofmeyr, tackling Anton Goosen on mainly Litnet, and later in the tabloids. Losing his fight against Anton on Litnet, Steve starts a vendetta against Anton. Anton mainly ignores him but shows up at KKNK in 2003 wearing a t-shirt that mocks Hofmeyr. Anton’s ‘Vis in die bos’ wins a SAMA for best album in 2002. The album arranged by Schalk Joubert, is described by critics as the first successful world music album in Afrikaans. Once again Anton breaks new ground for Afrikaans. His contribution to Afrikaans is recognised when literary expert Gerrit Komrij includes Anton’s lyrics in a poetry collection book. Anton is also the producer of the Om te Breyten album which wins a SAMA for best Afrikaans album in 2001. The album consists of Breyten Breytenbach’s poetry recorded by a variety of Afrikaans musicians. Geraas awards Anton in 2002 for his lifelong contribution to Afrikaans music as well as the Om te Breyten project.
Anton is especially known for his work with young artists and helping them to find their own voice. One example is the series of Anton en Vrinne shows that he presents at art festivals. The idea to do Anton en Vrinne is born at the folk festival during Volksblad festival when Valiant Swart and Karen Zoid joins Anton and the band Beeskraal on stage for a huge jam. It leads to many Anton en Vrinne performances across the country as well as a four hour concert at the state theatre with his bushrock band and a variety of friends such as: the late Gito Baloi (Tananas), Sonja Herholdt, Ollie Viljoen, Disselblom, Gian Groen, Andre Swiegers, Alta Joubert, Charlie Smith van Beeskraal, Steaan van der Walt, Dozi, Theuns Jordaan etc. A successful DVD-recording and 2 cd of the show is released in 2003. Anton is honoured at the Huisgenootskouspel for his contribution to Afrikaans music with the award for Lifelong contribution to music and he is initiated into the South-African rock digest’s Hall of Fame. In 2005 Anton releases his second lyric book. The book titled, Hitte van die Teerpad: Songs van die Liedjieboer, takes a look at Anton’s career, lyrics, anecdotes and stories, but he doesn’t stop there. 2005 is also a year of renewal for Anton with his album Groen Blomme on which he collaborates with a variety of young artists. The album is released in the new year and is received with open arms. The title Groen Blomme refers to the young talented artists that Anton worked with on the album: Klopjag, Gian Groen, Lienka etc. The road is long but far from finished. The road does not only travel through Africa but includes a variety of successful tours to Europe. He also does not only walk alone but with a variety of many diverse artists.
Between 2002 – 2008 Anton travels with his Bushrockband once a year to do shows in the UK and 2007 sees Belgium and the Netherlands. After being the victim of an armed robbery, Anton moves to Gansbaai in 2007. In 2008 Anton and Steve Hofmeyr make peace during the Brugboukonsert and are good friends ever since. Also in this year Anton releases 3 double cd sets to celebrate his 33 years in the music industry: Liedjieboer-treffers, 33 b-sides (getye van verandering) and 33 Sea-sides (om te rock en roll). 2009 sees the release of two music books of Anton: Liedjieboer Book1 and 2 with 38 of his works.
He also does a music programme for 4 years on Whale Coast FM: Pampoene oppie die dak. Anton and Yvonne Chaka Chaka both receive a lifetime achievement SAMA award in May 2009. They sang Pampoene oppie dak backed up by the Lucky Dube band to an audience of 6000 people of whom very few understand Afrikaans in Sun City. In June 2009 Anton, Coenie de Villiers and David Kramer are awarded with a centenary medal from the Academy of Arts and science for their individual contributions to Afrikaans music.
In 2010 Anton receives a ATKV award for his contribution as a songwriter, and
33 A-sides is rereleased through Select music, as Anton Goosen: Grootste Treffers van die Liedjieboer a double cd with all the favourites such as Jantjie, Waterblommetjies, Boy van die suburbs, ‘n Brief vir Simone, Sms, Pampoene oppie dak and many more. In 2011 Anton receives a gold medal of honour from the Voortrekkers for outstanding youth service. In 2012 Anton produces and presents ‘n very successful musical series: Liedjieboer-rumoer for RSG. The musical department of the University of Stellenbosch, Domus, approaches Anton in 2012 to archive his manuscripts, press clippings and work from across the years and to make it available to students for post graduate studies. His contribution to Afrikaans music is represented through 19 songs of Anton Goosen (more tan any other composer) that is included in the FAK Sangbundel Volume 2 that is released at the end of 2012. This buries the hatchet that existed between the institutions that promoted translated music, because the new book mainly consists of original Afrikaans music. He is invited to perform at the gala event which was held at the Voortrekker monument.
In June 2013 he received the life achievement award at the Innibos arts festival.
He writes and performs the writer Dean Meyer’s “Die laaste tango” theme music for the film that was released in Julie 2013.
In July 2013 his song “Viva Madiba” was recorded in 8 indigenous languages on a cd “In homage to the Madiba legacy” by amongst others Gloria Bosman, Rebecca Malope, Dozi, Charlize Bergh etc.
In November 2013 he was invited to represent South Africa with a show and radio interview by the 8 the Zentsuraren Festival against censorship) in Bilbao Spain. He travelled to Bilbao with his violin layer Denzl Keenan.Of the other shows were world music acts La Rumeur of France and El Cabrero of Spain. Hugh Masekela represented South Africa in 2012.
In 2015 Next Music released Anton Goosen Volledig Vol 1. It is the 1 st of 3 box sets consisting of the first four albums: Boy van die suburbs, 2deLaan 58, Liedjieboer en Jors Troelie. Volledig Vol 2 followed in April 2016.
In 2015 he wrote the theme music for Koos Roets’ film ‘n Pawpaw vir my Darling that was released in January 2016. The movie was based on Jeanne Goosen’s book of the same title. The song is an immediate hit on various radio stations.
5 th Maart 2016 the Woordfees of Stellenbosch University honored him with a birthday concert with artists such as David Kramer, Gian Groen, Robin Auld, Gert Vlok Nel, Sonja Herholdt, Nick Turner, Robin Auld, Gert Vlok Nel, Gian Groen, Churchill Naude, Deon Meyer, Sonja Herholdt a.o. under muzikale regie of Schalk Joubert.
Next Music releases the back catalogue – Volledig Vol 1, 2 and 3 from – the complete collection of 12 albums and releases a compilation “Love Songs”.
Oct 2016 – Anton and Adam Tas, Steffie le Roux and David Fourie, tour Australia with shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.
14 November Domus Open Africa, honored the liedjieboer with a function at the music library of the conservatory univ Stellenbosch to celebrate the digitalization of his life’s work- the first of dome’s Argive s for popular music that they started 4 years ago by Prof. Stehanus Mulder.
RSG Arts festival closed there fest on Friday 18 November with “Danzer” wherein music of Anton’s were performed by David Kramer, Zolani Mahola of Freshly Ground, Sima Mashazi, Erika Lundi, Frazer Barry of Tribal Echo, Churchill Naude, Luna Paige under the musical production of Schalk Joubert and performed by the Bush rock band.
21 Nov 2016 Dr D.J. Langner, executive director of the F.A.K, die Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereningine, awarded the prestige life award for outstanding cultural achievement to Anton Goosen for his share in Afrikaans music at the amphitheater at the Voortrekker monument Pretoria. The song Blommetjie-gedenk-aan-my (the first rock song in Afrikaans) was also included in the song garden.
Anton’s appetite for renewal and musical experiments is a long way from being silenced and he still tours through the country, performing acoustic solo and or with his bush rock band. He is currently writing and recording a new album “Padkos”