Out of the Blue
Erica Steenkamp was born in Worcester, South Africa. She was the youngest of three children and her father was a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. Along with her two older brothers, her family lived a nomadic life in the Cape area, caught up in the wake of her charismatic father who preached far and wide. By the age of 15 she was collaborating with her oldest brother Andre, writing lyrics to his guitar compositions. They performed to audiences in school halls and churches and their stage appearances became somewhat more elaborate when her middle brother Valentine became their 'roadie', hauling about an old bellows organ for her to accompany Andre with on his guitar. It was an unusual combination of sound but the audiences loved it! She left South Africa to join her mother in the North East of England. Without her brother to accompany her on guitar she learned the instrument and continued writing, discovering all that the UK music scene and beyond had to offer. The explosion of the World Music genre in the early eighties had a profound impact her writing. In the mid nineties she adapted the tuning on her guitar as it evolved into a more percussive instrument. The sound she created became the inspiration for crafting her songs. She began performing on the London acoustic scene and was heard by the sublimely talented American musician and guitarist Chris Newland. Since then, their musical collaboration has gone from strength to strength. The deep rhythmic drone of her Takemine guitar, her mellow voice and the fluid arrangements on Chris's guitar combine to touch your head, your heart and move your body.