Henry-John Williams and Natascha C are an esteemed musical duo in the Lowveld, and there is no denying that their music brings joy to so many local and national people alike. Natascha C is a well-known face at so many events, her beautiful voice melodically bringing everything together, and Henry-John’s Huis Teater was a treat for many, with shows sold out more often than not.
Lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, and many people have been unable to continue with their usual daily activities, among those performers and artists. These two intrepid souls decided not to let this stand in their way, and simply transferred their presence online. Natascha C, who sings in English, Afrikaans, Spanish, French and Dutch, spent her time going over her previous works.
“That’s the thing with lockdown,” she says, “the time spent at home forces you to re-evaluate everything that you have done previously, to look at it from a different perspective and with a fresh eye. It gives you time to work on and refine past works.”
Henry-John kept himself busy working on new material, and he also wrote and recorded an entire song while in lockdown. When it had started, he was on his sister’s farm, and returned home with the easing of restrictions to level 4. He and Natascha C live close to each other, and often work together. They both sing every day, so Henry-John suggested they get together and do something musical to uplift everyone’s spirit. Both have a huge following on Facebook; it stood to reason they should move their musical presence onto a platform that everyone could enjoy.
“If there’s one thing this lockdown has taught us, it’s to never take anything for granted,” laughs Henry-John. The two got together, had one take, and that was that; it was showtime! “It was a bit nerve-racking,” says Natascha C. “You are live, which is something we are both used to, but there is no feedback from the audience; it’s just us and the recording studio, with the world watching.” Henry-John agrees.
“You can always gauge an audience, take your cue from them, and how they react to the music. We couldn’t do this, obviously; we had to wing it. But what fun it was! Also, we have known each other for so long, and worked together for so long, that we communicate on a different level, and can always sort of predict what the other is anticipating, or wants.”
These two friends know each other so well, and body language is key to many of their performances, both live and on stage, as well as in this new and intriguing format. “Natascha will move in a certain way and I anticipate what she is trying to convey. Depending on her gesture, I go big, louder or softer. That is years of teamwork and knowing someone on a close and personal level.” The stage was set with candles and atmospheric lighting, and the emotion of the event was brought through in the sound, Henry-John on guitar, Natascha C’s beautiful voice and soothing sounds.
Needless to say, the concert was a huge success, with a reach that extended to the four corners of the globe. “People got together in groups all over the world to watch our concert. Snacks and drinks were prepared, big screens set up, and people settled down in the comfort of their own homes to enjoy what we had to offer,” Natascha C smiles.
“We had around 800 people watching our show on Facebook live, which, if you think about it, is twice the seating in the civic theatre! That’s a wonderful achievement, and definitely something to think about for future concerts online,” enthuses Henry-John.
It certainly is something to celebrate. While times may be tough, music is the food of love, so please, Natascha C and Henry-John, play on!
Photographer: HENNIE HOMANN