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Donvé Lee

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Scars that Shine a “necessary brick in edifice of the arts and culture of our country,” says Peter Terry

Book reviewer Peter Terry recently appeared on Tamara LePine Williams’ Lifestyle Show on ClassicFM, during which he discussed Donvé Lee’s latest book, Scars that Shine.

Terry lauded the book and mentioned how he inadvertently typed Stars that Shine whilst penning his interview notes, describing it as a “wonderful book”.

Lee wrote the biography in the first person, and according to Terry has captured his personality and spirit and who he was “absolutely brilliantly”.

Listen to the full interview here.

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“Semi-forgotten ’70s musician expertly biographed” – Karina Szczurek reviews Scars That Shine

Karina M. Szczurek recently reviewed Donvé Lee’s biography of South African singer Syd Kitchen, Scars that Shine, for the Cape Times.

Skollie, saint, scholar, hippest of hippies, imperfect musician with a perfect imagination, Syd Kitchen was, like all great artists, born to enrich his art and not himself.

Plagued by drugs, alcohol and depression, too much of an outlaw to be embraced by record companies, he frequently sold his furniture to cover production costs of his albums, seduced fans at concerts and music festivals worldwide with his dazzling ‘Afro-Saxon’ mix of folk, jazz, blues and rock interspersed with marvellously irreverent banter, and finally became the subject of several compelling documentaries, one of which – Fool in a Bubble – premiered in New York in 2010.

Lee’s Scars That Shine is an intimate look at one of South Africa’s most remarkable artists.

Read Szczurek’s review here.
 
 

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Listen to a podcast of the SAfm interview between Nancy Richards and Donvé Lee

Syd Kitchen - Scars That Shine
Donvé Lee recently chatted to Nancy Richards on SAfm’s Literature Show about her biography of legendary South African musician, Syd Kitchen, Scars that Shine.

Listen to the podcast here: http://chirb.it/pEMEpt
 
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Scars that Shine “holds nothing back,” writes Marchelle Abrahams

Donvé Lee’s biography of legendary South African muso Syd Kitchen, Scars that Shine, was recently reviewed for The Mercury. Reviewer Marchelle Abrahams wrote:

DONVÉ Lee is no stranger to telling other people’s stories.

She has written the biography of artist Dan Rakgoathe and the books The Unfolding Man and An Intimate War.

After more than three years of research, many e-mails and trips, she has written a book about her friend, Syd Kitchen.

The guitarist, singer-songwriter and poet died of lung cancer in 2011. His career spanned 45 years and he was possibly the only artist to perform at every Splashy Fen Festival until his death.

Lee, who studied fine arts, worked as a textile designer, a TV news assistant, a graphic designer, a feature writer, an art teacher and a traveller, works hard to paint portraits in text.

“Syd was a friend of mine and he asked me many, many years ago to write a biography. He was a brilliant music artist and he didn’t get the recognition that he should have during his life.”

Lee spent three years writing the book. “I spent between six months and a year just doing the research. I interviewed more than 120 people. I flew to Durban several times to speak to friends and family and fans, then I spoke to people on Skype. I sent a lot of e-mails.I wanted to get it right.

To continue reading Abrahams’ review, click here.

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Donvé Lee’s Scars that Shine “a rocking rendition” of Syd Kitchen’s dark life

Mark Verbaan’s review of Donvé Lee’s biography of South African musician Syd Kitchen, Scars that Shine, recently appeared in the Independent on Sunday. Verbaan describes Lee’s biography as a memoir which “whips the reader through a life that leaves one open-mouthed in admiration and antipathy in equal measure.”

An extract from Verbaan’s review reads:

I was in my mid-teens when I went out with my parents one night to the Durban Folk Club. I don’t remember much from that evening. The image of one musician, however, has always stayed with me. He was a skinny bloke with black hair down his back. He was wearing a long black coat, a leopard skin hat and an acoustic guitar. That was Syd Kitchen.

Click here for Verbaan’s full review.

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Scars that Shine brings Syd Kitchen’s voice to life, writes Derek Davey

Syd Kitchen - Scars That Shine

Derek Davey recently reviewed Donvé Lee’s biography of musician Syd Kitchen, Scars that Shine, for the Mail & Guardian.

Davey lauded Lee’s use of writing in the first person narrative, as he asks himself “Did Syd write this? If so, when and how? This book comes across as an autobiography.”

Davey adds that the employment of Lee’s present tense writing “really works” in capturing this legendary South African artist’s essence.

Follow the link for the full review.

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Scars that Shine “a bittersweet testimony to a singular singersongwriter”

Tymon Smith recently reviewed Donvé Lee’s biography of Syd Kitchen, Syd Kitchen – Scars That Shine, for the Sunday Times’ Lifestyle Supplement.

An extract from Smith’s review reads:

When he died five years ago few would have been familiar with the music of Syd Kitchen. For those who did know him he remained the embodiment of the guitar hero folk muso who spent 40 years doing things his way, mostly without any real financial reward and impervious to the warnings from his friends of what his chain smoking, hard zolling, hard drinking ways would do to him.

Donvé Lee first met Kitchen in a cloud of marijuana smoke at a gig in Cape Town in 2001 – bonding over a mutual love of The Incredible String Band. Later he asked her if she’d write his biography one day and now she has, telling the story through his own words of the many different sides of a man who was “a saint, a scholar and a skollie”.

Lee presents her subject as a man with a giant ego, who had little interest in taking the road well travelled and never cared too much for what anyone else thought of him – his life firmly directed by the only thing he had any talent for, playing the guitar and writing songs.

From his working-class childhood in Durban through to his first stabs at writing songs and his performances with his brother Pete as The Kitchen Brothers, Lee traces Kitchen’s journey through the late 1960s folk scene to his brief tenure as the owner of a guitar shop before the release of Syd Kitchen and the Utensils’ album Waiting for the Heave in 1987 and his subsequent recordings – often self-funded and self-distributed. Along the way he leaves behind many broken hearts, a child and whatever trappings of domestic suburban life he may have briefly established in his 20s.

Click here to continue reading.

Syd Kitchen - Scars That Shine

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The ‘imperfect musician with a perfect imagination’: this is Syd Kitchen

“On my better days friends find me flirting with the nurses, cigarette in one hand and scotch in the other, but if I listen carefully I can hear the tribute concerts starting up. There they are, celebrating my life like never before, and here I am, knock knock knockin’ on heaven’s door. That rhymes, doesn’t it? I think I might even feel a song coming on but I’m so tired and the words are slipping away and the music is fading into a soft chant round my bed and Madala was spot on, he said when God says He want you, we can’t run away. I’m not running anymore.”

Skollie, saint, scholar, hippest of hippies, imperfect musician with a perfect imagination, Syd Kitchen was, like all great artists, born to enrich his art and not himself. Plagued by drugs, alcohol and depression, too much of an outlaw to be embraced by record companies, he frequently sold his furniture to cover production costs of his albums, seduced fans at concerts and music festivals worldwide with his dazzling ‘Afro-Saxon’ mix of folk, jazz, blues and rock interspersed with marvellously irreverent banter, and finally became the subject of several compelling documentaries, one of which – Fool in a Bubble – premiered in New York in 2010.

Donvé Lee’s Scars That Shine is an intimate look at one of South Africa’s most remarkable artists.

“He was like a little leprechaun. Everyone danced around him because he brought the magic in.”
– ZETA PONTIN

“Syd was the one who said I will do it, I will make a living as an artist. He was one of those people who carried the dream.”
– RICK ANDREW

Syd Kitchen - Scars That Shine

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An Intimate War review in The Star

The Star 07 Apr 2011

An Intimate War in top ten – The Star and Natal Mercury

THE MERCURY 27-12-2010-4