Alex van Heerden

Alex van Heerden playing the accordion


The Goema Captains performing Red Rock City at the bird's eye jazz club on 8 April 2006 - Alex on the accordion.

Tribute to Alex van Heerden who died in a car accident on 7 January 2009
In the past few years Alex was a frequent visitor to Basel, performing with Hilton Schilder (RockArt) with the Goema Captains of Cape Town and the Sons of Table Mountain. Together with all the other wonderful musicians he sparked an interest for contemporary South African Jazz amidst the Basel Jazz Scene.
Alex was a very special person: warm hearted, outgoing, funny, indeed „dandyesque“. Oscillating and dazzling. With a keen interest in so many things, in music of all kinds, of course, but also in philosophy, spirituality. Always curious what the world (and the beyond and the in-between) would have to offer.

We remember his intoxicating laughter;
his intense gaze, focused on the computer while performing RockArt;
the distinct move, setting off a new rythm, one hand on the trumpet, one hand on the computer;
his voice, like velvet, enchanting the audience;
the light, clear sound of his trumpet.

Farewell Alex and thank you for all you shared with us!

Katrin and Veit
  • Tribute concert for Alex van Heerden at the bird's eye jazz club on 11 May 2009
  • Press release on tribute concert: English (pdf), German (pdf)
  • Tribute video on Alex van Heerden by Mandelbrot Films (Dewek van Rooyen)
  • For further information and press-clippings see the website of Solms-Delta.

Alex explaining the Khoi roots of Vastrap music at a workshop for students of the Centre for African Studies Basel at the bird's eye jazz club on 7 April 2006.

Alex was committed to the music of the rural Western Cape, kept researching it and performed regularly with people on the farms, for instance with the Delta Optel Band. On the one hand this informed his Gramadoelas (psychedelic Vastrap), on the other hand he motivated people on the farms to engage in music, for instance in the carnival band on the Solms-Delta farm.
Alex was a wonderful singer - listen to him rendering him one of those standards that he loved to include in his programme. This was on the occasion of one of the legendary backyard concerts on Kraftstrasse in Basel. Alex is accompanied by pianist Hilton Schilder and Siya Makuzeni on trombone.


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