Sonja Herholdt – Spaanse kitare

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South African artist born in Nigel, Johannesburg, on 1 December 1952. She started singing at the age of three, accompanied by her mother, a piano teacher and vocal coach. After school she studied teaching at the Johannesburg (Goudstad) College of Education, where she met a young lecturer, FC Hamman, at the nearby Art School. He was also a freelance cameraman, and while he was filming the Afrikaans drama “Sarah”, Sonja introduced him to the song “Ek Verlang na Jou”, and he decided to have her record it and then include it in the film. Released as a 7” single to coincide with the release of the film, the song became an absolute cultural phenomenon and launched her hugely successful singing career.
The impact of the song led to her receiving a Sarie (South African Recording Industry) Award as Best Female Singer in 1975, and it was to be Sonja’s first Gold Record.

Sonja and FC Hamman were married in January of 1976, and later that year her first album, “Sonja”, was released. She again won the SARIE for Best Female Artist (as well as for Best Album) in that year, and went on the win a SARIE each year up to 1980. All in all she won a record eight Sarie Awards during her distinguished career.

In 1979 she fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an actress by starring in the locally produced film, “Sing vir die Harlekyn”, and she also starred in the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC) pantomime production of “Cinderella”.

She has the distinction of having been the first South African singer to be invited to Hilversum in the Netherlands for television recordings commissioned by the country’s national broadcaster. She recorded her hit “Oberammergau” in Dutch and it scored well on the local charts, also going to 5th place in Belgium. In 1989, following a move into the Gospel market, Sonja was invited to perform at a Prayer Breakfast organized by the National Religious Broadcasting Corporation in Washington. Her performance, which coincided with the launch of her Gospel album “The Warrior is a Child”, was broadcast nationally and one of the guests in attendance was the USA’s Vice-President.

From 1982 to 1991, Sonja and FC’s four children were born: Claudia (1982), Simeon (1985), Jesse (1987) and Timothy (1991).

Following a serious motorcar accident in 1996, she brought about a series of important changes in her life – she decided to divorce after a marriage of 21 years, and to also actively pursue her singing career again. In 2000 she released the album “Reconstructing Alice”, a profoundly personal and introspective musical journey that was hailed a masterpiece and a tour de force by critics. In 2002, she decided to do a hip, nostalgic retrospective of her old hits and release it herself, “Sonjare”, in the process establishing her own recording company, Son Music. In 2003 she started her InCelebration campaign, a celebration of womanhood and a message of hope. An official biography, “Sonja: Meisie van Nigel”, was released in 2007, a collaboration with friend and songwriter Carel Cronjé.

This version of the song was released on 7″ single in 1988, as the B-side to “So Ry Die Trein (Kimberley Se Trein)”. It was first released on the album “Tuiskoms”, also in 1988. It’s a translation of Baccara’s “The Devil Sent You To Lorado” from 1979.

NOTE: The song is almost 30 years old and depicts a very youthful Sonja, both in terms of her voice and rendition. It would be well worth your while to listen to her more recent, and profoundly more mature, recordings.