GBB back after nearly three decades

Isabelle Coetzee

Spier Amphitheatre – Nearly three decades after their last concert, the Gereformeerde Blues Band (GBB), originally led by protest singer-songwriter Johannes Kerkorrel, reunited for a full concert on Sunday.

PHOTO: Isabelle Coetzee


Tonia Selley (aka Karla Krimpelien) bounced across the stage as she led the vocals on iconic songs such as Sit dit af, Ossewa, and BMW.  Jannie van Tonder (Hanepoot) joined in on trumpet, while Willem Moller (Mr Volume) played the blues on his guitar. Gary Herselman (Piet Pers) kept the rhythm with his bass, and newcomer, Melissa van der Spuy (Ousus van die Spur), accompanied the band on the piano.

The band’s last full concert was in 1989.

“We all got very involved in our own lives in the 90’s,” said Van Tonder. “We raised kids and all those things one does when you get a bit older and can’t be on the road playing music all the time.”

In 2014, Moller, Herselman, and Van Tonder performed a song at the Fiesta Awards at the State Theatre in Pretoria – a venue they were banned from during the 80’s.

“We [the GBB] are all still very active with music even if not always in the public eye,” said Van Tonder.

Selley works as a video editor, and performs with several other bands in Cape Town while Herselman released a solo album last year called Rigtingbefok.

Moller has his own studio where he has produced music by several artists, including Luna Paige. Van der Spuy is a full-time musician and musical director.

“I have also recently, with the help of Woordfees, revived my 18-piece African jazz outfit called The Hanepoot Big Band,” said Van Tonder.

“We had so much fun playing together and performing this amazing material, which is so much part of our lives. We would love to do more of it, possibly in a theatre.”




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