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“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 know Bafo, I know. 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.

Says Donvé: “There are many creative geniuses in the world who never receive the recognition they deserve. Syd Kitchen was one of them. He was also a friend who asked me to write his biography. I was always intrigued by the complexity and duality of his personality. But these facts alone were not enough to persuade me to write this book. The primary reasons were that Syd’s story was deeply compelling and needed to be told, and there are far too few worthy literary portraits of South African musicians available.”

“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


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