My name is Jennifer Eaves, I am folk musician, mother and wife from Fish Hoek. I have lived in this area my whole life and it has shaped me as a person and an artist. My music can best be described as folk style singer – songwriter with a strong emphasis on lyrics, I perform all around Cape Town and have done so for the last 10 years, I have a degree in music from UCT, a masters in sandcastle building in the south Easter and a deep passion for all things South African!
You have an intense passion for the beautiful City of Cape Town, you grew up here on the “sleepy shores of Fish Hoek.” In March this year, the South Peninsula was devastated by a raging fire. You wrote a song called David and Goliath, an outpouring of your heart which evokes tears in the hearts of those who hear the lyrics. Tell me about the song. What prompted you to write this song? Did the lyrics flow naturally? What image was in your mind when you wrote the song?
Throughout my life as a songwriter I have written songs, at pivotal or meaningful moments in my life or in the lives of the people around me. I tend to immerse myself in the story so that is becomes a part of me. When the fires raged through the mountains I became aware of the way it was affecting people, emotionally and physically and this prompted me to write the song. I sat outside in my garden watching the flames burn down Clovelly mountain dangerously close to my sister’s house, with a pencil and paper in my hand and the lyrics just flowed. Apart from the sheer force of the physical flames that I could see from my home, one particular photograph stuck in my mind of a lone fireman on top of his fire engine spraying water of a flame that looked five stories high – a real David vs Goliath moment.
Were you in Fish Hoek when the blaze came through? How did the fire effect you? What did you see?
I was in Fish Hoek the entire time. Howeve,r the night the blaze came down Clovelly mountain and the valley filled with smoke to the point that we could not see properly out of our windows and the ash rained down onto everything I fully realised the severity of the fire. The smoke affected all of us, my boys struggled from anxiety and the smoke, we all developed some small ailments, plus my family and friends were out volunteering either getting supplies or physically fighting the fire.
The community response to the fires, was overwhelmingly positive and awe – inspiring, what do you think makes Capetonians so special? What is it within us that makes us reach out to one another in times of crisis?
As Capetonians we are very aware of nature, surrounded by the most beautiful coastline and mountains in the world, we all feel to a certain degree like a family who have been given some responsibility to protect this gift. Unfortunately we don’t always pull together in times of crisis, as we all know that there are huge numbers of our fellow South Africans still in great need, but it’s amazing that when a natural event outside of our control strikes we are made aware that we are all human but we can overcome things together. I know that we are now approaching ‘fire’ season that devastates so many of our informal settlements and I look forward to Capetonians showing the same unity if disaster strikes in these areas.
You dedicated David and Goliath to the brave firefighters and volunteers who fought like David against the raging Goliath. What kind of response have you had from the public, about this song?
The response has been overwhelming, messages have been flooding in from the firemen and people directly affected by the fires saying that the song has help alleviate anxiety and put into words the emotions they have felt. Personal messages from firemen and firemen’s families have moved me greatly. A fireman’s job is often thankless and the messages of love and encouragement have been amazing, hearing that the song brought a grizzled fire fighting veteran to tears is one of the most humbling moments I have had in my career.
Recently, you performed at Kirstenbosch. Which was a dream come true for you, tell us about this experience and how difficult it has been to pursue your dream of being a musical performer? What advice do you have for others who want to follow their dreams?
Performing at Kirstenbosch is I am sure a dream for all Cape Town musicians, there is no other venue quite like it, but getting to that point took a huge amount of hard work. I have been a performing musician for over a decade and have had many days where I have wondered if I should keep going, but they say becoming an overnight success takes at least ten years of hard work, so I am here waiting patiently for my ‘overnight’ but I am loving the ride.
My journey has also included my family of a husband and two small boys, I was hugely inspired by a quote from musician Josh Garrels who said you can do anything with children that a single person can do, it just takes longer. My family enriches my songwriting and musical experience and I would not change that for anything.
The best advice I can give someone who wants to pursue a dream, don’t have a backup plan because you will use it, listen to the words of encouragement and advice from the people you love the most, and learn to love and accept yourself, embrace your own unique qualities and laugh often.
Free download of David and Goliath: http://www.jennifereavesmusic.com/my-gallery/my-music/
Youtube link: https://youtu.be/pNl-vo1weLc
This article can be found at: http://spice4life.co.za/life_stories/inspired/jennifer-eaves-capetonian-musician-passion/