Ronnie of Botswana, on guitar
March 19, 2010 8:00 PM   Subscribe

OK. Alright. That's it. Ronnie of Botswana is my new favorite guitarist.
posted by flapjax at midnite (67 comments total) 119 users marked this as a favorite

 
One more from Ronnie here, and Ronnie's Buddy takes the guitar here to sing a song for you.

And just in case you missed it a while back, let's drop in on the amazing spoon guitarist of South Africa, as long as we're in the neighborhood.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:02 PM on March 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Jesus! Awesome!
posted by Dumsnill at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2010


holy crap my head EXPLODED that's how good this is flapjax you are amazing.
posted by ORthey at 8:07 PM on March 19, 2010


Freaking killer... and the guy in the background seems to care not a whit... as he zips up his jacket... and adjusts his hat... wicked.
posted by Huck500 at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loaded it. My wife, normally reserved: 'Whoa! Oh, my god! What!?!"

Great post.
posted by OmieWise at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2010


Cool. Thanks.
posted by Splunge at 8:13 PM on March 19, 2010


this is great...thanks..

I giggled through most of it...

so... why do we listen to the crap we do, when there are people like this....
posted by HuronBob at 8:14 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is wonderful. I love the way Ronnie's hands flip upside down and around. It it an open tuning? Seriously fun stuff.
posted by pianoboy at 8:15 PM on March 19, 2010


why do we listen to the crap we do

What you mean "we", kemosabe? ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 PM on March 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


THIS is why I love mefi.... damn ... a crappy week at work, things suck in michigan...and, THIS turned the corner for me...
posted by HuronBob at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


For anyone new to Metafilter today: This is what we're after.
posted by etc. at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, open tuning, but still a killer technique.
posted by Huck500 at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2010


flapjax... that is GREAT!
posted by HuronBob at 8:21 PM on March 19, 2010


this made me incredibly happy and you are awesome.
posted by lalex at 8:25 PM on March 19, 2010


I like the dude in the back, he's all "yah, I hear this every day." He even yawns at one point.
posted by desjardins at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Huck500 - Just to be clear, my question about open tuning was not meant as a criticism at all. The technique is awesome! Playing other videos of Ronnie right now.

My daughter is going to love this when she wakes up tomorrow. Thank you, flapjax.
posted by pianoboy at 8:27 PM on March 19, 2010


So is there any way to turn those nearly 100,000 page views into some income for this guy?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:28 PM on March 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, wow. This is so awesome. Thanks!
posted by stefanie at 8:29 PM on March 19, 2010


so... why do we listen to the crap we do, when there are people like this....

Not so much a question with a right answer, but a question that we each should ask nonetheless.
posted by carsonb at 8:40 PM on March 19, 2010


As for Ronnie, she's a joy to watch and hear. Still not my favorite fingerpicker though... Kaki King still reigns.
posted by carsonb at 8:46 PM on March 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cool open technique.
Usually with open tunings I think of styles like Richie or Joni (who are great) but I love the whole hand-movement thing that Ronnie is rocking, and the individual bass line that's going throughout.
So great.
posted by chococat at 8:48 PM on March 19, 2010


carsonb: I too thought Ronnie was a she at first, but the other Ronnie clip in this FPP (in my first comment) indicates Ronnie is a he.

Here's more Ronnie, singing and playing:

Ditsala tsame di Tsamaile
Monna ke yole
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:55 PM on March 19, 2010


Another fantastic flapjax FPP. Thanks.
posted by ginky at 8:58 PM on March 19, 2010


And another: Pidipidi
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:59 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fantastic. Just outstanding.
posted by cashman at 9:00 PM on March 19, 2010


The most exuberant record I own is by a certain Peter Owino Rachar and the Golden Kings, from Sierra Leone. Nobody's ever heard of them; the record is impossible to find now. I don't even remember where I got mine.

This sounds quite a bit like that.

It's always seemed to me that the best musicians are hidden away, playing on porches and stoops to crowds of three from Zambia to Appalachia. Maybe it's for the best.
posted by Camofrog at 9:09 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pianoboy... yeah, I totally didn't take it as criticism.
posted by Huck500 at 9:10 PM on March 19, 2010


So is he using just four strings?
posted by bwanabetty at 9:11 PM on March 19, 2010


Amazing. I love the passages where his hand becomes a highly trained circus squid dancing down the fretboard.
posted by umbĂș at 9:14 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


flapjax – I think you may as well just link to Bokete7's user page. There are 130 videos there.

I'll let you know when I find one that isn't awesome, but I think it'll be a while.
posted by koeselitz at 9:20 PM on March 19, 2010


5.00
ONE SONG
posted by koeselitz at 9:32 PM on March 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


carsonb, that is awesome!
posted by blue shadows at 9:50 PM on March 19, 2010


Made me smile very wide. Thanks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:54 PM on March 19, 2010


Flapjax: WHY ARE YOU SO AWESOME AT THIS?!!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:23 PM on March 19, 2010


So very cool. What else to say? Damn.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:30 PM on March 19, 2010


Wait, wait, wait a second here. What you all seem to be overlooking is that this guy is playing guitar totally wrong!

awesome
posted by anazgnos at 10:31 PM on March 19, 2010


I was all ready to come in here and fume (but not comment) about Mefi's seeming penchant for self-conscious wuss rock, shaky voices, and acoustic guitars --- and the general lack of Dragonforce fans around here.

But this is great.
posted by Trapped Vector at 10:36 PM on March 19, 2010


Cool suggestion, carsonb. On this clip, Kaki King plays with a lot of the same "upside down" fret technique that Ronnie brings on the OP clip. Except completely different.
posted by msalt at 10:46 PM on March 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really want to get Ronnie the two strings he's missing and a peg and key to go with them, but it might totally ruin the sound he's got going.
posted by pmbuko at 10:47 PM on March 19, 2010


Oops. So Ronnie is a woman. Should have gone by the face rather than the name.
posted by pmbuko at 10:56 PM on March 19, 2010


(No, Ronnie's a guy, all right. Go by the voice.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:13 PM on March 19, 2010


So I take it you're all Jeff Healey fans?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:11 AM on March 20, 2010


So intuitive and playful. Berry nice.
posted by Skygazer at 1:41 AM on March 20, 2010


Freaking killer... and the guy in the background seems to care not a whit... as he zips up his jacket... and adjusts his hat... wicked.

He's Ronnie's manager.
posted by sour cream at 3:09 AM on March 20, 2010


His eyes, my god, even when he smiles those eyes are so so sad.
posted by nola at 6:55 AM on March 20, 2010


That's not just open tuning! Looks like four strings: one bass and the three high strings spread out over the rest of the guitar. I'm definitely going to buy a cheap kid's classical guitar and rig one of these up.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:56 AM on March 20, 2010


love this.

and needed it. thanks.
posted by readery at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2010


Some people love music. Some people play music. Some people are music.

It seems to me that the really great musicians can make music with anything that's available. It's not the bow, it's the hunter.

Thanks again flapjax. Another great post.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:30 AM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Andy Mckee doing some Drifting, Adam Fulara doing some Bach on the double neck, Erik Mongrain doing a little AirTap, and Gustavo Dal Farra on bass.
posted by CuJoe at 7:53 AM on March 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Very sweet sound!

The comment about the open tuning is exactly what I was thinking. A few minutes of this is priceless but if you heard an hour of this, you'd unfortunately hear much the same thing over and over.

This is something you see around the world - the "one amazing trick" player who has created one amazing idea that no one else ever came up with. And one of the nice things about the Internet is that you get to see this person's amazing trick in your living room.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:49 AM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love musicians whose technique is as much (or more) fun to watch as their sound is to hear.
posted by ErWenn at 9:33 AM on March 20, 2010


OK. I have now seen everything... oh, wait... no I haven't! Put your hands together and give a great big metafilter welcome to the... Shangaan dancing clowns!
posted by zaelic at 11:55 AM on March 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I want this song to be my theme song and play in the background as I'm walking around.

Do dee deepy deep dee dee
Do dee deepy deep dee!

posted by elmer benson at 11:57 AM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would buy the heck out of these songs if I could. If the internet can bring inexplicable fame and fortune to the "David After Dentist" kid, why shouldn't someone be able to get these guys their $5 a song?
posted by Countess Elena at 2:04 PM on March 20, 2010


Usually with open tunings I think of styles like Richie or Joni ...

The Richie Havens clip does look like the open tuning is a mere convenience. I've been looking at Joni's system of open tunings, and it's pretty deep. She devised and categorized 50 open tunings, with her own system of notation for them. She eventually had developed a special guitar, very advanced for the time, where each of the string signals are separately captured and sent back stage to a technician with electronics that allow him to change the tunings that were played over the sound system to any of the 50 she had notated in her tuning charts.

This is your last warning: if someone doesn't put together a post on that, I will make that my first FPP someday in the near future.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:23 PM on March 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am difficult to win over if you only have a guitar but man that made SMILE so wide, I'm still grinning from ear to ear. I want to send Ronnie some money, because I'm ripping this to listen to on walks now.
posted by dabitch at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2010


I just loved it when she thunked her fingertip on the neck for the harmonic, just like that. And the way she curled her hand on the neck, the creative ease in which she played like nobody I've ever seen before. Superb. joyous and a delightful surprise. Thanks flapjax!

What lovely music.

His background nonchalance was an interesting straight man counterpoint to her humble exuberance. Her heartbeakingly sad and shy eyes.
posted by nickyskye at 6:32 PM on March 20, 2010


Thanks for your thoughts, nickyskye, as considered and indicative of your joyously receptive personality as ever!

You should note, though, that Ronnie is a he. You weren't the first to assume he's a she, though. Almost everyone, I think, including myself, first thought that this is a woman.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:58 PM on March 20, 2010


Glad to see this today. Thanks, flapjax!
posted by Songdog at 7:14 PM on March 20, 2010


This is excellent, thanks!

One of the finer times in my life was spent in Botswana. Particularly, during the International Day of the African Child. I was privileged enough to visit one of the local schools as they put together an entire day worth of plays, music, dancing (both modern and traditional) and so much more.

A lot of the themes hovered around domestic violence and HIV/AIDS awareness but, while distressing topics, the children managed them in stride (even humour, they couldn't make the whole day depressing!).

During the intermissions, there was a small handful of kids that pulled out instruments (drums, stand-up bass, guitar, tambourine etc.) and they blew me away. Ronnie is something special, and none of the children showed this level of prowess on the guitar, but as a whole they put on one of the best shows I've ever witnessed.

Beautiful country, talented people. Here's my favourite moment of the event:
posted by purephase at 7:34 PM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


A propos of completely nothing, my favorite guitar player in the world is still Agata from Melt-Banana. Seeing him perform seven years ago was a revelation to me; Agata takes the guitar and makes it a completely new instrument, revising melody along the way. The sounds he produces with his instrument were never intended or even dreamed of by previous guitarists. Evidence: "Chain-Shot to have some Fun!"
posted by koeselitz at 8:33 PM on March 20, 2010


koeselitz: He's a really sweet guy, too. Very unassuming, almost a wallflower type. But he sure lets rip when he's onstage!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:49 PM on March 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the correction dear flapjax. Looking at the other videos on Bokete7's channel, it's now clear Ronnie's a guy.
posted by nickyskye at 10:07 PM on March 20, 2010


This is awesome.

I spent some time in Botswana a LONNG time ago, and this brings me back to the areas around Gabs. This video brings me back to khombi rides with cheesy tunes (that I kind of like).
posted by treeshar at 11:04 PM on March 21, 2010


Luckily I added flapjax as a contact or I'd have never noticed this post and damn, that would have been a shame

and not to take nothing from Ronnie, but these 1, 2, 3 by a guy called Western (and joined midway through by his wife) made me happy
posted by criticalbill at 4:21 AM on March 22, 2010


I enjoyed this way more than I expected to--the FPP and the ensuing thread.
posted by everichon at 9:46 AM on March 22, 2010


I hate it when people make genius look effortless.
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:12 PM on March 23, 2010


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