Sheer Sound proudly presents the latest recording from piano maestro Paul Hanmer in the form of "Naivasha", Paul's 4th solo album. "Naivasha" is a selection of music mostly written from Paul's home. The album is a dedication to the people in his life and pays homage to them in tracks like 'Fanfare', dedicated to his wife Angela, and "Naivasha" about the Lake of the same name in Kenya, where for Paul, the horn voices of McCoy Mrubata and Marcus Wyatt echo the exceptional bird-life which congregates around this particular lake. Musicians on the album include Barry van Zyl, Basi Mahlasela, McCoy Mrubata, Marcus Wyatt, Kevin Gibson, Sydney Mnisi, and Denis Lalouette, just to name a few.
Paul Hanmer was born in Cape Town in 1961. His musical interest started at an early age. In the early 70’s he began classical piano and theory lessons. After three years at the University of Cape Town, studying for a B.Mus. degree, Paul started working in a variety of different fields. He took leave of absence from UCT to work with guitarist Paul Peterson (who replaced the late Russell Herman in ‘Spirits Rejoice’), who also introduced Paul to many musicians. He performed with Top-40 bands, did jazz standards and played in several original bands.
In 1987 Paul Hanmer moved to Johannesburg and expanded his musical career by working with various cabaret acts and played in musicals and theatre productions, and was exposed to musicians like Khaya Mahlangu and other members of the now defunct Sakhile. It was here that he formed “Unofficial Language” with fellow Capetonian’s Ian Herman (drummer / percussionist for Tananas) and Pete Sklair (electric bass). The trio recorded the successful album ‘Primal Steps’ in 1994, featuring the hit track “Tender Mercies”, for which a music video was made. The album, licensed by Sheer Sound, also featured Mauritz Lotz as a guest on the track “Unofficial Language”. Unofficial Language was to regroup again 4 years later and in 1998 released a second album “Move Moves”, this time through Wildebeest Records. The album also drew on the vocal talents of Wendy Oldfield, Frank Opperman and Waddy Jones.
With his love for
collaborative work, Paul has recorded with the likes of Tananas, Miriam
Makeba, Ray Phiri, McCoy
Mrubata, “Unofficial Language” and has worked with Moses Molelekwa,
Fana Zulu, Khaya Mahlangu, Themba Mkhize, Vusi Khumalo
In 1997 Sheer Sound
released Paul Hanmer’s first solo album ‘Trains to Taung’, featuring
the cream of South Africa’s musicians. ‘Trains to Taung’ features
Denis Lalouette, Jethro Shasha, Louis Mhlanga, Basi Mahlasela, Neil
Ettridge and Andre
Jazz and music lovers
generally, waited with baited breath for his follow up project, “Window
to Elsewhere”. On this album Paul not only enhanced his credibility as
one of South Africa’s finest jazz pianists but also as a composer and
arranger. The album was recorded live at the Musaion at the University of
Pretoria, and was one of the most eagerly awaited new jazz releases of
that year. The album incorporates jazz improvisations and classic
interpretations all written, composed, and arranged by Paul. Sadly one
week before the recording, Paul’s long time friend drummer Jethro Shasha,
of Music Ye Africa died of diabetes.