It was the Dalai Lama that said: “Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before”. When two music-loving dudes set sail from Sydney to Berlin for the love of music, they were going to a lot of places (31 countries). And then SA’s enigmatic muso, Jack Mantis, joined them.
The Sailing Conductors
Ben and Hannes were two German sound engineers, aspiring musicians and had just graduated. They weren’t going to follow a conventional career path. Instead, they decided to sail around the world on a small boat with no license and even less experience to follow their passion and dream – recording the best musicians in the world. They were the Sailing Conductors.
On their wonderous quest, they spent the almost 5 years navigating a Rawson 30, a 30-foot full keel boat called “Marianne” visiting 31 countries, docking on 5 continents, recording 200 musicians and producing world music.
The concept is based on allowing a musician in country B to listen to music recorded in country A. Musician B then plays along, thus adding his or her own interpretation and adding a new layer of meaning and depth to the ever-evolving song. This is world music, taken to the next level. Expedition music.
And then came a Sailing Mantis
Jack Mantis is the frontman of the Jack Mantis Band (true story!). JMB was originally formed as a trio with Jimmy Curve and Ronan Skillen. They quickly established themselves as a household name on the Cape Town music scene in the 2000’s. They were the darlings of Café Dharma (Kloof Street) and later Zula Bar and featured at some of the country’s major festivals including Rocking the Daisies, Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, Flamjangled Tea Party and White Mountain Folk Festival.
In 2016 JMB embarked on a 40-date run in Europe with the highlight being the 30th Anniversary of Fernsehen Garten in Germany alongside the legendary Chris de Burgh – performing to a 6000 strong crowd as well as a TV audience of 3 million.
The last five years have seen the enigmatic frontman of the Jack Mantis Band travel the world living out his various passions as musician, graffiti artist, adventurer and ultimately soul searcher. It was while Mantis was in Trinidad that he noticed “Marianne” being towed in after her two-week journey from French Guyana without wind and a broken engine.
Apparently, he was struck by the boat’s striking logo – a sailing guitar – and thought he would introduce himself as ‘these guys pretty much look like musicians and I play guitar myself.’ The meeting of minds was instant and the next day they recorded Jack’s new song “Radiate” in an old military base on a nearby mountain. He had just written this song on his own Atlantic crossing on a sailboat from Cape Town to Brazil. Jack was on board!
Then Sailing Conductors now Beyond Elements
The trio has now embarked on the next leg of their eclectic adventure sharing what they love most – music and the ocean. Beyond Elements combines it all – the passion for traveling, exploring, creating and of course always accompanied by the love for music.
When they dock in a new country they play at least one dock/sofa concert showcasing their brand-new songs. They either perform right next to their boat “Marianne” on the dock in the marina or they find a nice ‘pirate’ host who invites them onto his or her sofa at home.
The eclectic crew now offer sailing trips by hiring out their bunks on Marianne. Trips go for around 490 Euros and get you from ports like Bergen to Calais. Other adventures on offer include spending a week on the boat with the JMB or diving, flying and climbing in some of the best locations on the planet.
They invite the public with skills and talent to volunteer on board and often look for musicians, videographers, French- speakers, or any other sought-after skills at the time.
You can also become a special guest on board. All you need to qualify is to be an adventurer yourself and if you’ve shot a film or written a book – even better. And if you also like to spend time on sailing boats… well, then these guys want to meet you!
What are you waiting for…..just hop on board!
“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
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