Art extraordinaire with HA!Man at the castle

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RELENTLESS CREATIVITY: Francois le Roux, known as the HA!Man, and his partner Joke Debaere delivered an outstanding performance art show at Classics at the Castle last Wednesday Picture: LOUISE CARTER
RELENTLESS CREATIVITY: Francois le Roux, known as the HA!Man, and his partner Joke Debaere delivered an outstanding performance art show at Classics at the Castle last Wednesday Picture: LOUISE CARTER

THE HA!Man, also known as Francois le Roux, has returned to the Port Alfred music and performance art circuit

Well-known to local art and music lovers for his spontaneous and eccentric performance on cello and keyboard, last week Ha!Man was accompanied by his partner, Joke Debaere, a Belgian actress, writer and performing poet.

The pair amazed the audience at Classics at the Castle, in Richmond House’s jam-packed music room, delivering an expressionistic and beautiful performance where they took turns either performing poetry and instruments together or playing side by side piano pieces.

Le Roux also featured his amazing ability on the cello and played several thought-provoking pieces while Debaere recited original poetry.

The show was the 33rd performance hosted by Classics at the Castle and the third time Le Roux has been on the Richmond House stage. The performance last week was motivated and focused around bringing and illustrating more warmth in humanity and as a response to some of the devastating events that have occurred in Europe recently.

The show started with a poetry recital by Debaere, who promoted hope and peace, echoed by a silence in the room only interrupted by soft sounding, warm and lyrical cantilenas.

Le Roux , known for his oodles of eclectic, mystical and expressionistic elements, played a piece that he said was an interpretation of his late mother’s life – a playful, upbeat theatrical piece with soft moments played on a lower key.

Both artists draw and feed of each other’s energy and delivered memorable pieces on cello, electronic accompaniments, keyboard and poetry.

True to their style, an improvisation piece was held at the end of the show with Le Roux interpreting a music piece written by convenor Sue Gordon’s son when he was only six years old. The piece was delivered with a bit of Le Roux’s personal flavour and gusto and received a roaring applause from the room. Le Roux has an excellent ear and can find music in almost anything.

The Ha!Man’s style is difficult to define – it is spontaneous, dependent on free flowing emotion and delivers momentary surprises. Paired with the lovely Debaere the duo created a platform for outstanding performance art.

With his cello pieces, Le Roux has a gentle manner in which he approaches then quickly transcends to a livelier act playing in the uppermost register with shrill transitions to deeper, darker and richer sounds.

Le Roux has a true talent for manipulating sounds and it is ideally the experience of sound enjoyed by the individual that inspired this performance last Wednesday evening.

With his dramatic and playful antics, the Ha!Man is made for a theatre stage and with his musical aptitude he  boasts a voice that can belt out the most difficult and far-reaching notes.

An amazing cello adaption of Sarie Marais, Ha!Man left all hanging in the air on a cloud of inspiration and upliftment, followed by the curtain closer, Lekker-lekker Cape Town.

 

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