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HISTORY

Biography

Mobirise

English

Available at:
> takelot.com

Mobirise

Afrikaans

Available at:
> takelot.com 

Mobirise

Mobirise

Timeline

1951 - 1974

Born in Worcester in 1951, David matriculated at Worcester Boys High School and received a bursary to study textile design at Leeds University , UK where he graduated with an Honours degree in 1974.

1970s

He began his music career as a singer/songwriter, performing at folk clubs and campus concerts across South Africa in the mid 1970’s, singing satrirical songs.

Early 1980s

Davis - early eighties

Releasing his first album BAKGAT! in 1980, which was immediately banned in its entirety by the SABC because of it’s political satire, the use of coarse language and the mixing of languages. David pioneered the use of Cape Afrikaans and South African English in his lyrics, sometimes switching between the languages in the same song. He focussed on small town South Africa and employed a gritty realism and dark satire to tell his stories and describe his characters.

In his stage performances he portrayed himself as a rural everyman who travelled the dusty roads of small town South Africa with an old bicycle and a cheap guitar. He sang in the Boland patois of his youth and told stories and sang songs in both English and Afrikaans.

He rocketed into the public eye with a number 1 hit, BLOKKIES JOUBERT a portrait of a has-been Springbok rugby player, closely followed by another huge Top Ten hit, ROYAL HOTEL. Many hits were to follow. MONTAGU, BOGGEM EN VOERTSEK, BUDGIE, MATCHBOX FULL OF DIAMONDS, DRUK MY VAS, STOKSIELALLEEN, HANNE, MEISIE SONNER SOKKIES and the hugely popular SO LONG SKIPSKOP which tells the story of forced removals from a fishing village in the Cape. Most of his album releases have gone gold and the six musicals he has written along with Taliep Petersen over the past 18 years have all been enormous box office successes.

1983

In 1983 David was contracted by Volkswagen South Africa to link his idiosyncratic South African image to their microbus. This was the beginning of a television and print campaign that won the hearts of South Africans, made David Kramer into a household name and was to continue for the next thirteen years. Probably the longest running celebrity endorsement this country has seen.

1986/87

In 1986 Taliep Petersen and David began collaborating on their first musical project called DISTRICT SIX. It was produced by the Baxter Theatre and Renaye Kramer and opened in April 1987. This production was to prove to be another milestone in David's writing career.

1990

Mobirise

In 1990 David collaborated with Paul Slabolepszy in THE EYES OF THEIR WHITES, a portrait of the right wing psyche in South Africa. It was directed by Bobby Heaney.

 In this production Kramer performed many of his songs including Going Away, Mambas in the Gutters, Driver Driver and Suburban Dream. They performed to critical acclaim on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and it was filmed by the BBC.

In 1990 he and Renaye Kramer became partners in an entertainment complex housed in a historic building in Cape Town’s Waterfront development. Here they opened the DOCK RD THEATRE. Ninety percent of the work staged during the six years of its existence was original South African writing and this vision was pursued without any state subsidy or grant.

FAIRYLAND was the first musical production to be staged at the Dock Rd Theatre. It won the FNB Vita Award for Best Musical and played to capacity houses all over South Africa. More than a 1000 performances and three and a half years later it closed in Cape Town.

While Fairyland was running David and Taliep wrote a musical called POISON which tackled the serious social problems of gangsterism and drug abuse on the Cape Flats. In a more light-hearted vein David and Taliep also wrote a musical about the singers of District Six that impersonated famous Americans, called CROONERS.

1997 - 1999

KAT AND THE KINGS was the next winner. In 1997 it was invited to the Tricycle Theatre in London and then transferred to the West End where it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. It opened at the Cort Theatre on Broadway in 1999 and was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards and a Drama League Award. This was the first musical from Cape Town to be staged on the West End and Broadway. One of the many highlights for David was having then President Mandela attend a performance while they were on the West End.

In 1999 David received an award from the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees called Afrikaans Onbeperk, awarded annually to someone who has made a significant contribution to the Afrikaans language.

2001

Karoo Kitaar Blues

In 2001, Kramer presented a small show at the KKNK, called KAROO KITAAR BLUES. It was a concert presenting the eccentric guitar styles of the Karoo - unique finger-picking and tunings of a marginalised people who live in isolated and impoverished areas and play the “ou liedjies”. This show has now been seen all over South Africa, where it has been performed to sold out houses in every venue. A live CD of the performance has been recorded and the show was awarded 2 FNB Vita Awards. A 90 minute documentary directed by Liza Key about these musicians and David's work with them has been made and has been shown at film festivals in Europe, the UK and the USA. KAROO KITAAR BLUES recently won the Golden Reel Award for Best Musical Documentary at the 2006 Tiburon International Film Festival in California. It has now been released on DVD.

David has written an Afrikaans musical, DIE BALLADE VAN KOOS SAS, which explores the trade in “Bushmen” skeletons during the early 1900’s, and won the De Kat Herrie Award at the KKNK festival for this production.

He has worked with the very popular stand-up comedian Marc Lottering for a number of years, having directed 3 of his shows: From the Cape Flats with Love, Big Stakes and Slap Chips and HALLELUJAH!.

2005

The CD HUISTOE was recorded in 2005 and is essentially about roots music that has evolved in the dry and desolate areas of the Karoo. It also explores the lives and history of people that live there.

He received a GMT Lifelong Achievement Award in 2005 for his contribution to Afrikaans music. He has also been honoured by SARRAL (South African Recording Artists Assoc. Ltd) and entered in their Composers Hall of Fame.

2007 - 2008

Karoo Kitaar Blues

GHOEMA was his last collaboration with Taliep Petersen in which they explored early South African history and celebrated the musical heritage of the Cape. It was written and directed by Kramer, with musical direction by Taliep Petersen. The production was nominated for 7 Fleur du Cap awards . David won for Best Set Design and shared the award for Best Lighting Design with Gert du Preez. At the 2007 NALEDI Awards in Johannesburg, GHOEMA won 3 Naledi's: Best Production of a Musical, Best Choreography (Loukmaan Adams) and Best Musical Direction (Taliep Petersen)

As a tribute to his 20 year partnership with Taliep Petersen, and to honour his memory, a production called THE KRAMER PETERSEN SONGBOOK was staged at the Baxter Theatre for the Dec/Jan summer season and ran to sold out houses from the very first performance.

In Dec 2007 David was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Cape Town.

In January 2008 David was able to restage BALLADE VAN KOOS SAS as a full scale musical. This was as a result of it being commissioned by the Suidoosterfees which takes place annually in Cape Town. David won the Suidoosterfees Skouerklop award at the festival for his work on this production.

In March 2008 David performed concerts at the KKNK to launch his CD HEMEL & AARDE and received a KANNA award for Best Contemporary Music Performance. 

2008 - 2010

Karoo Kitaar Blues

In the summer of 2008/2009 David directed Marc Lottering, Nik Rabinowitz and Riaad Moosa in 3 WISE MEN at the Baxter Theatre. A mix of stand up comedy and sketches created specifically for this production, it included a 4 piece band headed by saxophonist Don-veno Prins.

In 2009 he performed 10 STORIES at the Woordfees in Stellenbosch and BALLADE VAN KOOS SAS at the KKNK festival in Oudtshoorn, before it transferred to the Tricycle Theatre in London, where it became the first Afrikaans musical to be performed in that city.

A follow-up to the success of 3 Wise Men was presented at the Baxter Theatre in 2009/10 starring the same 3 comedians, this time called 3 WISER MEN.

In January 2010 David directed the Adam Small play, KRISMIS VAN MAP JACOBS for the Suidoosterfees held annually at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

He received the ATKV Woordveertjie Prestigetoekenning, as well as an award from the Innibos Festival "vir sy besondere bydrae tot die Afrikaanse musiekskat" The LIVE CONCERT of KAROO KITAAR BLUES, recorded in 2003 at the Baxter Theatre was released on DVD for the first time.

David Kramer's BREYANI was staged in the Baxter Concert Hall in December 2010. Earlier in 2010 he received a KANNA award from the KKNK for his Exceptional Contribution to a Contemporary Music Production for this concert.

2011-2014

Karoo Kitaar Blues

Awoiesomere Reports

He invited leading jazz musicians Camillo Lombard and Donveno Prins to join him in a concert called KAAPSE BREYANI at the Baxter Theatre in which they celebrated the creole roots of Cape music. This was the beginning of a show called CAPE CREOLE which was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2014.

During 2011 David and his band performed KRAMER SE KAROO at the KKNK. He was invited to a Festival Voor het Afrikaans in Amsterdam and performed with bassist Schalk Joubert. Breyten Breytenbach joined them on stage. On his return he wrote the musical SOME LIKE IT VROT as a vehicle for Marc Lottering’s character Smiley. Marc played Smiley, Christo Davids his brother, Fuad.

At the request of The Fugard Theatre, a revival of KAT AND THE KINGS was staged in 2012 which resulted in an ongoing relationship with the Fugard Theatre as producers. Projects that followed were the adaptation of Willy Russell’s BLOOD BROTHERS, ORPHEUS IN AFRICA and DISTRICT SIX - KANALA. 

2015 - 2016

ORPHEUS IN AFRICA a new musical, opened In February 2015 at the Fugard Theatre and a year later he wrote and directed DISTRICT SIX - KANALA to commemorate the fifty year anniversary of District Six being declared a white group area. A Fleur du Cap award was received.

2017 - 2018

More recently he has been working with rapper Vito Heyn from Namaqualand and created a new musical AMPER FAMOUS for the 2017 KKNK.

In 2018 he directed Laurinda Hofmeyr’s Afrique Mon Desir and performed his own concert PLATTELAND.

He is currently writing a new musical set in Cape Town in the early 1960s. 

Discography

1980 BAKGAT! (Gold)
1981 THE STORY OF BLOKKIES JOUBERT
           (Triple Gold, Platinum)
1982 DELICIOUS MONSTER (Gold)
1983 HANEPOOTPAD (Double Gold)
1984 JISJISJIS (recorded live) (Double Gold)
1984 KWAAI
1986 BABOONDOGS
1986 LAAT VIR DIE DANS (Afrikaans Hits)
1986 DISTRICT SIX - THE MUSICAL (Gold)
1988 CAPE TOWN (with Taliep Petersen)
1989 EINA
1991 FAIRYLAND
1995 KAT AND THE KINGS (International Release)
1996 KLASSIC KRAMER
1997 ALLES VANNIE BESTE (Gold)
1999 KLIPHARD
2001 IN THE DAYS OF DISTRICT SIX
2002 KAROO KITAAR BLUES
2004 HUISTOE
2007 HEMEL & AARDE
2017 WAKKERSLAAP 

DVD

2004 KAROO KITAAR BLUES
2007 DISTRICT SIX THE MUSICAL 
2010 KARRO KITAAR BLUES - LIVE IN CONCERT
2008 THE KRAMER PETERSEN SONGBOOK 
2009 GHOEMA

Musicals by David Kramer & Taliep Petersen

1987 DISTRICT SIX - THE MUSICAL
1990 FAIRYLAND
1992 CROONERS
1992 POISON (the Opera)
1994 POISON (Musical version)
1995 KAT AND THE KINGS
1996 KLOP KLOP
2000 POISON (British version with Jenny McLeod)
2005 GHOEMA
2006 GHOEMA - SPICE DRUM BEAT (London version) 

Musicals written by David Kramer

1990 THE EYES OF THEIR WHITES
          (a review with Paul Slabolepszy)
2001 DIE BALLADE VAN KOOS SAS
2007 THE KRAMER PETERSEN SONGBOOK
2011 SOME LIKE IT VROT
2013 BLOOD BROTHERS (adaptation of Russell's musical)
2015 ORPHEUS IN AFRICA
2016 DISTRICT SIX - KANALA 

Directed by David Kramer

FROM CAPE FLATS WITH LOVE (Marc Lottering)
BIG STAKES SLAP CHIPS (Marc Lottering)
HALLALUJAH (Marc Lottering)
THREE WISE MEN (Lottering, Rabinowitz,Moosa)
THREE WISER MEN (Lottering, Rabinowitz,Moosa)
KRISMIS VAN MAP JACOBS (Adam Small)
RADIO CLASSICS (Izobell, Ford)
AMPER FAMOUS (Vito Heyn, Kramer)
AFRIQUE MON DESIR (Laurinda Hofmeyr)
PLATTELAND 

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