Cultivating quality SA music

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Originality and quality. That is what’s required to become a signed Home Grown Music artist. Home Grown Music (HGM) is a local label which was created last year to promote South African music which is largely ignored by the mainstream. The unique, revolutionary label is the only record company at Festival this year. They have their own stall at the Village Green and are featuring numerous local artists, including Meri Kenaz, Gary Thomas and virtuoso guitarist Guy Buttery.

“These are worthwhile products and talents that never get shown off,” says Howard Butcher, HGM’s production and engineer manager.
The label has its own recording studio, Peace of Eden, on the edge of the Knysna forest, where artists can escape bustling city life and be inspired by the tranquillity of their surroundings. Accommodation is available as well as high-tech recording and production equipment, a music engineer and an option to collaborate on album artwork.

“Home Grown’s (aim) is to get artists out there and for people to easily access local music,” says Jessamine Butcher, artist and repertoire manager. HGM is trying to get their artists’ CDs sold in large music outlets such as Musica and Look & Listen, as well as promoting airplay especially on university radio stations.

HGM is also trying to get shops, backpackers, bars, restaurants, guesthouses and theatres to become distributors of HGM CDs. “Our plan is to get 1 000 stands in the next two years in shops around the country. We want it to have iconic status and to become a household name,” says Jessamine.

The public can buy CDs from their recently established website,
www.homegrownmusic.co.za. The website is accessible and transparent to the artists and distributors, so that they can keep track of their stock and album sales.

Howard points out how South African artists are often underpaid or, in some cases, entirely unpaid. “But we are musicians working for musicians,” he says. Jessamine explains: “Unlike conventional record labels where the actual artists get as little as 10 percent of the profit from album sales, Home Grown uses some of the profits for production and distribution costs. The rest is split equally between the distributor, the recorder and the artists.”

HGM is having weekend Jam Junction music sessions at Graham Hotel to give their artists a platform to perform and collaborate with one another.

Home Grown Music Jam Junction is at Graham Hotel
today at 9.30pm

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