Grenadilla’s Debbie Lan plays
‘Songs from South Africa’
on the Hilltown Family Variety Show this weekend.
The Hilltown Family Variety Show presents Guest DJ Debbie Lan, from the award winning band Grenadilla, (pronounced “gren-a-dill-a”, the South African name for passion fruit) this Saturday, May 19th from 9-10am on Northampton radio station 103.3FM WXOJ-LP (Valley Free Radio), and may also be heard online on the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast immediately following the broadcast. Having grown up in Cape Town South Africa, Debbie will share some of her favorite songs from South Africa, as well as songs from Grenadilla’s newest CD, Can’t Wait, winner of a Parents Choice Gold Award.
After the birth of her daughter in 2000, Debbie started writing the songs that were floating around in her head, and in 2009 Grenadilla was born. The core band members are Debbie on piano and lead vocals, Jodi Palinkas and Leah Glennon on vocals and pennywhistles, AnneMarie Callan, Natasha Williams and Brittany Sacash on vocals. Grenadilla’s music is layered voices with Kwela flavored rhythms, a touch of Cape Town jive and a hint of the blues. It features instruments traditional to the street music of Cape Town such as pennywhistles and saxophones, as well as the piano, drums and percussion, guitars, the bass, organs, a melodica and a balafon.
Perhaps growing up in apartheid South Africa surrounded by a vibrant musical culture set the stage for this music and the underlying themes of unity, diversity, community and tolerance. With a passion for kwela music and layered, lush vocals, Debbie colors her songs with the sounds and rhythms of the street music of her childhood, a worldly fusion of voices, percussion, pennywhistles and Debbie’s signature piano style. Her lyrics are a powerful celebration of life, friendship, connection and joyfulness and a reflection of the possibilities of love and growth that surround us everyday.