Die Vier Transvalers

South Africa Die Vier Transvalers

Album’s Overview
date.png 04-Jun-2015
notes.png No regular albums ever made.

die-vier-transvalers-die-oorspronlike-vier-transvalers-1(1).jpg 1982 [10, 29:49] Die Vier Transvalers - Die Oorspronlike Vier Transvalers Volume 1 (Skatkis SLS-1) studio • compilation 5.01 “Below average” Folk
notes.png Random list, no intention to be complete.


Die Vier Transvalers were led by Stephen Emil “Faan” Harris, an icon of the concertina, and included Josephus Daniël “Sewes” van Rensburg, on guitar, Frans Hendrik Ebersohn, also on guitar, and Hendry Frederick “Bossie” Bosman, on cello. Sean Minnie has extensive notes about the group at his website and he describes them as such: “The original Vier Tranvalers can certainly be considered one of the best and most popular Boeremusiek bands ever recorded. The concertina sounds of Faan Harris and his men remain after all these years one of the most popular and beautiful. Literally hundreds of groups have covered their tunes, but none can match the soulful performances conjured up by them. Although Faan [Harris] could play several instruments, he was eminently a very good and popular concertina player and played this instrument throughout all their recordings.” (translated from Boerkemusiekklub)

According to Minnie the group practiced for these first recordings at Sewes van Rensburg’s house. He was on lead guitar while Harris played a small three-row, high-tone, Lachenal concertina. If my translation is correct, an additional member called Steenberg played a babatoni, or home-made single-string upright base using a broom stick and tea-chest. Die Vier Transvalers recorded another eight tracks with HMV around September 1939. They practiced for this session at Frans Ebersohn’s home and it is likely that the famous photograph of the group above was taken during this time. From left to right is Frans Ebersohn, Faan Harris, Bossie Bosman and Piet Bosman (Bossie’s father who substituted for Sewes van Rensburg while he was away at the time). Alas the recordings were never issued. Apparently the masters where destroyed when the ship transporting them to England was sunk by a German U-Boat. Even at that time record pressings were still made in England and shipped back to South Africa.

After that the group slowly disbanded with each member going their own way. (Orkeste en Karakters) Faan Harris did record with several other groups. Though little information about these is known. Minnie points out that Harris was still under contract with HMV and often artists names would be omitted to avoid contractual conflicts. It is only from Harris’ unique style that he is often identified on other tracks. For example it is believed that he plays concertina with Die Vyf Voortrekkers on some of the earliest Gallo releases. (Orkeste en Karakters) Faan Harris was born in 1886 and lived for many years in Krugersdorp. According to Minnie he had a great humor and was meticulous with his work. He was also a painter by profession and had a glass eye from an early accident. He died in 1950.

Siemon Allan
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