If you haven’t heard of Gerald Clark yet, you’ll almost certainly recognise him as the cool and lively “Afroboer” bluesman who regularly pops up on festival and other stages throughout South Africa. Last year he released his fourth album, titled Afroboer & the GoldenGoose, which was largely inspired by his meeting his girlfriend, the titular Goose.
Recently, Clark and the GoldenGoose gave up their home and comforts, deciding to settle for a nomadic lifestyle. They describe themselves as “happy campers” – traveling the country and permanently touring. We stole a few minutes of Gerald’s time between shows to ask him about this interesting journey.
“It wasn’t scary at all.”
Gerald Clark confidently states that the decision to go on an indefinite music tour was easy, freeing, and sensible. “I’ve been traveling SA a lot due to my work and it seemed like the most normal thing in the world to do. Playing music, traveling with girlfriend and seeing the country and all its beauty. Best part is to camp in these places and being in nature.”
“The best thing we could’ve done this year was giving away most of what we owned to our gardener – it was so liberating.”
Even convincing his girlfriend was a walk in the park. “She got tired of all my photos and stories from around SA. She was also tired of traffic every morning and working from 9-5 everyday. She felt that it wasn’t really living.”
This is the GoldenGoose we’re talking about, a girl Gerald met at Oppikoppi, fell in love with, and wrote a song about. I asked him about unabashedly wearing his heart on his sleeve:
“An artist writes about his travels, his experiences and then his lovelife as well. There isn’t anything more complex than the human emotion. It is natural to create music and write about these strange interactions. It becomes easier as you go along.”
“Now she handles all the bookings, sells CDs at gigs and helps me develop my marketing ideas. She also films and edits the Scenic Sessions that I do, and we started a merchandise business and will soon be selling it at shows as well as online.”
“If you understand the internet, maintaining a job while on the road is more than possible. You should try it.”
The Scenic Sessions are a series of YouTube videos where Gerald plays one of his songs in a beautiful location along their tour.
“I wanted people to experience my songs in their most simple form, breaking it down so that the songwriting could be showcased. And doing so at the most beautiful places around the country. We travel through these places and it gives us the opportunity to share these experiences through music.”
Luckily, Gerald still has most of his favourite things with him when he travels: The GoldenGoose, his ‘best of Nina Simone’ album, his mountainbike, his Hi-Tec hiking boots, and a stock of ginger tea. And though they occasionally live with close friends across South Africa to “feel the comfort of home every now and again,” Gerald also gets to satisfy his love of travelling, surfing, and horseriding when they’re travelling.
“Our travels has been great. Obviously sometimes you get caught up with worries, but never has it been so bad that we would stop what we’re currently doing. We have no regrets. “
“Some of the highlights on the road has been the Baviaanskloof, skateboarding through and bribing a horse ride with a beer in Lesotho, sleeping in a 600 year old fig tree forest with probably a thousand monkeys overhead, and the [MTN] Bushfire Festival in Swaziland. I played in front of a gigantic crowd from anywhere you could think of. It was amazing – like an ideal state of the nation.”
“We are currently in Elandsbaai, brainstorming and waiting for the perfect swell. It’s just great to have time to experience our beautiful country while still being able to work.”
“My music video, Fire, will soon be released. Song number four – I cannot wait. Also, I’m playing a few big shows in the next few months. You can see me at Arcade Empire with Albert Frost and Black Cat Bones, at the Ou Pastorie with Micheal Canfield on the drums, Cape Town Folk Festival, Park Acoustics with Karen Zoid, on the main stage at Oppikoppi with some of the greatest collaborations, something experimental with Sibot will air on Jam Sandwich on the 25th of June, and then we are of to Zambia and Zimbabwe for a few shows.”
Gerald Clark is a blues singer-songwriter from nowhere in particular, who’s travelling South Africa at the moment with his girlfriend, the GoldenGoose. You can follow his journey on Facebook, Instagram or their blog on his website, thegeraldclark.com to see where they are and what they are up to.