He performed with Top-40 bands, did jazz standards and played with many original bands. He was involved in backing various cabaret acts and played in musicals as well as the theatre circuit. Reminiscent (a bit) of Keith Jarrett, Hanmer's music is at times cerebral and minimalist but always distinctly South African, with strong flavours of the Cape Flats and the Friday afternoon township gumba. In hue it is confident, playful, optimistic and light. Surprisingly under-celebrated in the South African media he has worked with the likes of Grammy Award winner Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jonathan Butler, Pops Mohamed, Sipho Gumede, and McCoy Mrubata.
In October 2005, Paul's classical training was in evidence at the première of his first string quartet performed at the Baxter Concert Hall by the Sontonga Quartet. A meeting with the composer Paul Hanmer. Things began to fall into place for this 40-year-old, mixed-race Cape Town pianist when he came to Johannesburg in 1987. Before that, he used to play hit-songs in hotels along the coast around Durban in salaried bands. "We would be by the pool, watching the country burn on television", he remembers.
Johannesburg the African was a revelation. The town brought him into direct contact with the country, whilst also enabling him to meet the black musicians of his generation, including the Don Lakas, Vusi Khumalos, and McCoy Mrubatas. Considering them graced with a "powerful heritage", the mixed-race Paul Hanmer initially felt lost. "I didn't know what the Hanmer used to sing 200 years ago", he explains.
Deeply rooted prejudice had, for that matter, convinced him that a pale face guy with glasses could not even hope to play, as only black people were lucky enough to have that gift… read more __________________________________________________________________________________ Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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