Shortly after Marlene won the Sir James Galway Rising Star award, she was in contact with the Salon Music record label in South Africa. She had performed on some of the recordings that they had previously released, but never as the solo artist. She agreed the album track line-up with Willem Vogel, the label’s musical director, and plans were made. However, before she headed off to Pretoria to make the recording, there was one place she needed to visit first, the flute studio at WMS Haynes Flutes in Boston, USA. Marlene found the perfect flute there, and you can read about it here.
Marlene had worked with the pianist Anne Marshall for many years and it was foremost on Marlene’s mind to have Anne work on this album. Fortunately Anne was available to travel out to Pretoria at the time when the album was scheduled to be recorded, and so this piece of the puzzle fell very nicely into place.
Charl Du Plessis, a highly recognised South African pianist was also available for the recording and worked on tracks Karoonag and Adios Nonino. His superb transcription skills were used for these tracks, as were his playing talents.
The Salon ensemble was lined up to provide string accompaniment for the album. This group works with a lot of the artists who record with Salon Music, and is made up of the following artisits
Ken Craig (viola)
Evert van Niekerk (violin)
Theuns Pienaar (violin)
Carel Henn (cello)
Armandt Marais (double bass)
The scene was set and Marlene and Anne travelled out to Pretoria from London in April. First things first, the final details of the album line-up needed to be agreed with Willem. Willem is a distinguished music arranger, and between him and Marlene they came up with a list of tracks that had been variously transposed from contemporary music or from classical music written for other instruments, or were part of the standard flute repertoire and were not changed from their original composition.
Two pieces stand out from the rest, both of them transcriptions of South African contemporary favourite. Karoonag was arranged by Charl as a dreamy, swirling piece of magic that captured the essence of its original recording, but gave it a brand new flavour reminiscent of the Kalahari region that Marlene comes from. Kinders van die Wind was arranged by Willem in a similar vein, but with a sound that drips with the smell of the African bush after the rain, and with the sadness of people who long for the places they have left behind.
Finally it was down to the business of making the recording. Derick Louw was brought in as the sound recording and post production engineer. The recording was done at the Brooklyn theatre in Pretoria, famed for its acoustic excellence and its ability to faithfully capture the sounds that echo gently off its walls. The recording took five days, end to end, all done to a tight schedule under Willem’s strict eye.
The recording was done and the editing began. Willem, Marlene and Derek worked hard at it for three days. Then it was over to Derek for mixing and mastering.