Early life and career
Rabie, who was born in Johannesburg, worked as a journalist for the Afrikaans newspapers Die Burger
. In 1986, Rabie started performing politically themed cabaret at arts festivals under his new stage name (kerkorrel
meaning church organ in Afrikaans). At that time, apartheid was at its nadir under State President P.W. Botha's National Party-led government.
In 1987, Rabie was fired by Rapport
for using quotes from Botha's speeches in his music; he then became a full-time musician and performer under the name Johannes Kerkorrel en die Gereformeerde Blues Band
(Johannes Kerkorrel and the Reformed Blues Band), a deliberate reference to the Reformed Church. The band also included the Afrikaans singer-songwriter Koos Kombuis
. Their brand of new Afrikaans music was dubbed alternatiewe Afrikaans
(alternative Afrikaans) and exposed divergent political views to a new generation of Afrikaners.
In 1989, they released the album Eet Kreef
) on the now-defunct Shifty Records label, which was a commercial success despite its tracks being banned from radio airplay by the state-controlled South African Broadcasting Corporation, which was the government mouthpiece. Colloquially, 'Eet Kreef' is ambiguous, meaning either 'Enjoy!' or 'Get lost!'.
The subsequent regional tour of college campuses and art festivals was called Voëlvry
(literally free as a bird
but here meaning outlawed
), and Rabie's controversial reinvention of Afrikaans popular music became known as the Voëlvry movement
In 1990, Rabie visited Amsterdam, and almost simultaneously the track Hillbrow
from the Eet Kreef
album became a hit in Belgium, and Rabie followed its success with a solo tour. In subsequent years he enjoyed substantial artistic success in Belgium and the Netherlands, and spent much of his time in Belgium. Here he also befriended Stef Bos, a Dutch cabaret artist, with whom he would share a number of concerts.
Rabie hanged himself on 12 November 2002 in Kleinmond, near Hermanus on the Western Cape coast. He was survived by his long-term gay partner, and by his ex-wife and son.
- 1995 SAMA – Best Pop Music Performance for Cyanide in the Beefcake
- 1997 SAMA – Best Male Vocalist and Best Adult Contemporary Album: Afrikaans for Ge-trans-for-meer
- 2001 Geraas – Best pop album and Best adaptation for Die Ander Kant
- 2013 SAMA – Lifetime Achievement Award
- Eet Kreef (1989)
- Bloudruk (1992)
- Cyanide in the Beefcake (1994)
- Ge-trans-for-meer (1996)
- Tien Jaar Later (1998)
- Sing Koos du Plessis (1999)
- Die Ander Kant (2000)
- Voëlvry Die Toer (2002)
- Kerkorrel – Best Of: Pêrels Voor Die Swyne (2003)
- Hoe Ek Voel (2012) – issued to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of Rabie's death
© 2018 CANCIONEROS.COM, CANDIAUTOR 2010 SL