Tonik’s SAMA for Best Instrumental



I recently came across a very interesting visual & musical collaboration that really caught my attention, not only because one of the members names shot out at me, but because the group TONIK won a 2009 South African Music Award for Best Instrumental Album on debut with Visitors Book!

Ronan Skillen on percussion

Ronan Skillen on percussion

Ronan Skillen was my radar last year as a member of the invigorating new jazz ensemble Babu, and so seeing his name as part TONIK, made me delve deeper into what the group is all about – and I was very pleasantly surprised!

Tonik is a trio of artists that together feature piano, keyboard, rhodes, wurlitzer, accordion accompanied by tabla, didgeridoo, percussion and a hybrid drum-kit with motion graphic design and live VJ to demonstrate a wide variety of sounds, sights and rhythms that collectively create a sublime audio & visual experience.

A visual/aural delight

A visual/aural delight

Made up Jann Krynauw, who operates the “live mixing process and the arrangement of samples, loops and software related sounds, while also featuring as the pianist“; Ronan Skillenholds down the rhythmic and more acoustic instruments“; while Marcii Goosen adds the creative visuals that marry the audio as VJ.

What initially started out as a collaboration for a ‘feel good benefit’ between the musicians, in which they could play around with textures of sounds and basically have a jolly good jam, eventually became so popular, that late in 2007 they decided to create an album. And look at them now, sitting happy as SAMA winners!

Tonik - Silent gigs in Cape Town

Tonik - Silent gigs in Cape Town

What really impressed me was their concept of “Silent gigs in unconventional venues“. Jann explained to me that, ” Listening to music in an isolated space is always a transporting experience. Details and frequencies that are often lost in conventional set ups can be more easily experienced at close range. TONIK have introduced a new concept for live performances which enables an entire audience to become part of the music in just this way. By introducing headphones for each individual audience member with personal volume control a concert by TONIK is a very new and revolutionary concept. It not only enhances the musical experience but also creates a very intimate and interactive atmosphere in which people can ask questions and discuss stories related to the songs without difficulty during the performance. People are literally in control of their own sound. If you like it loud you can turn up your volume and down for more sensitive listeners.

Love letters for the Labia

Love letters for the Labia

Tonik is going to be appearing this Friday and Sunday (15 & 17 May) at 20h00 at the Labia Cinema, which this year is celebrating a double birthday; 60-years old since its opening as a live theatre in 1949; and 20-years as the theatre cinema that we know it as now; making it the oldest independent art cinema in the country.

So get out there this weekend to love the Labia, and enjoy a visual and audio feast with Tonik! In the meantime, here is a little video to give you an idea of what you can expect…


3 Responses to “Tonik’s SAMA for Best Instrumental”

  1. Great site! Thank you for supporting the local music scene.

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