The HA!Man started out as a child prodigy, improvising on the piano from the age of four. He took up piano and cello lessons during his schooling years and soon appeared as soloist with orchestras, receiving many prizes and awards. He was appointed as church organist at age ten, and held this post for eleven years.
After schooling, he studied theology and philosophy at Stellenbosch University, received his bachelors with distinction and then proceeded with an unfinished music degree. Eventually he decided to specialize in spontaneous music making. For three years he survived mainly by playing on the streets of Cape Town and later, Johannesburg. He went through periods of experimenting with shows-with-no-instruments, hitch-hiking and spreading spontaneous handwritten poems and drawings. The experiences and influences he was exposed to during this time culminated in a show format that brings various means of expression together. His music started to blend popular styles with his classical background, producing a cellist with a surprisingly fresh and vibrant approach.
He gradually took to the stage, first with house events and smaller venues. His informal and engaging way with audiences, the intensity and direct emotionality of his spontaneous playing as well as the power of some of his songs and compositions gained him an international network of supporters, show hosts and assistants. His spontaneous way is enthusiastically received by many through his workshops, presented to people of all ages. To him, making music is a natural act and he stresses the importance of balancing skill with freedom, discipline with enjoyment.
"The way you work your free will is masterful, You showed me a lot. You go to the place of dreams and creation."
Although the cello remains his core instrument, the HA!Man cultivates a range of mediums to express his creativity. His shows often include dancing, spontaneous song-making, even performance painting. He hardly misses an opportunity to create magic with a member of the audience who is invited to play freely with him. He even makes music with running engines and wildlife sounds!
"You are truly revolutionary in your approach to music and stagecraft. We are convinced that the country eventually will take note of you. Because you are brilliant!"
Based in South Africa, the Ha!Man has a strong feeling for the continent of Africa. Its energy and music styles are reflected in his sound, and he emphasises the fact that ultimately, we all come come from Africa.
His song Her Time Has Come (for Africa) is commanding attention wherever he goes, and was the highlight of the festival event in the Royal Albert Hall recently, where it was performed with a mass choir and a collection of top South African singers. It is also included in the recently released cd "HA!" Guaging by the response from people the world over, this song might just become a global favourite in time.
In the long run, the HA!Man aims to popularize spontaneous music making as a healthy midway between a rigid classical approach and music making primarily for commercial gain.