Fans of Folk tune in to Werner FM

The J Man and Werner FM performing on stage. Photo credits: Cue.

The Story of Adam and If is a folk music concert which takes its audience on a musical journey of reflection. Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? These are just some of the questions which the production seeks to answer with its mix of folk songs produced by singer Werner Schmidt (a.k.a Werner FM) and  percussionist James de Wet (a.k.a The J-Man). The concert itself is eclectic, with songs that explore a range of topics ranging from the simultaneous frailty and tenacity of the human condition to the meaning of life and everything in-between.

Part of the strength of the concert comes from its carefully constructed narrative. The narrative started with a bit of introspection. The song Your Very Own Heart urged the audience to listen to their hearts when trying to determine their place in the grander scheme of things. There was then an intermission in the narrative when Werner FM performed a variation of the song Don’t Worry be Happy by Bobby McFerrin.  The mellow beats produced by The J- Man on the African drum was enough to calm even the most frayed nerves.

James de Wet (a.k.a The J-Man) jamming out on the African Drum. Photo credit: Keegan Frances/Cue

From a whimsical exploration of self-discovery, the narrative shifted to a somber exploration of the harsh reality of poverty in South Africa with an original song entitled Dark Madonna. There was an eerie quality to Werner FM’s voice throughout the song which evoked the harsh reality of poverty and its associated feelings of hopelessness and marveled at the tenacity of those who have experienced its vice-like grip.

Werner Schmidt (a.k.a Werner FM) playing the guitar on stage. Photo credits: Keegan Frances/Cue.

The narrative then jolted off into a completely opposite direction, ending off with three chapters on love. The first two songs I Love You so and You’re my Favorite Female Dear, both originals, dealt with the topic of romantic love. Here Werner FM’s voice changed, becoming more light hearted and whimsical, as if to reflect the drastic change in narrative.  The final song of the trio: Sometimes we are one could be read, according to the musicians, as a continuation of the theme of romantic love or as a branching off into love of other kinds. The powerful vocals of Werner FM seemed to bring home the point which the chorus seemed to be making: humans need to come together as one regardless of their differences.

Reflecting on his experiences of the festival Werner FM said: “The National Arts festival offers a variety of experiences: from the massive immediacy of the Sundowners to the idiosyncrasies of Slipstream. It truly is wonderful.”

For more information on Adam and If and Werner FM visit

By Keegan Frances