Yolanda Saayman

Yolanda Saayman

Yolanda Saayman is a professional photographer, writer, adventurer, traveller, music fanatic and a lover of the light!  According to what others say, She has a gift of making a whole person visible and an affinity for capturing the human spirit.  Her photographic style has been described as avant-garde, a fusion of documentary photography, photojournalism and the decisive moment, keeping it natural and real.  Yolanda has had her work published in various magazines, newspapers and online media publications and as an events photographer. Yolanda has covered events such as the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, The Loeries Awards, Mnet’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, SPAR Tussen Die Sterre, Cape Town Folk & Acoustic Music Festival, Table Mountain Blues Festival, Up The Creek Music Festival and Afrikaburn.

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It was a scorching hot day in Stellenbosch and the last official performance of Alice Phoebe Lou’s South African leg of Year of Love Tour.

As the audience becomes to know her, she shares her stage with various musicians and artists and creates a playground for all willing to participate in the experience. 

“Calm the fuck down and unclench your fist, I can’t see you through the mist…” 

It seemed fitting to start the show with a pacifier.  

Nobody was focusing on the fact that the beautiful Western Cape is experiencing the worst drought in decades.  The heat could not stop the fans. They were, at The Shed to experience the last leg of Alice’s Year of Love Tour in South Africa. 

Alice just has a way of winning you over with her sincerity and infectious smile.  Since seeing her open for the legendary Rodriquez a few years ago, it has become a tradition to watch her perform live in the Mother City.  

How refreshing to see Alice meet her guests and collect ticket stubs at the door with mom, Joelle Chesselet!  Superstars don’t do that. A superstar doesn’t mingle with the fans and sits among the crowd watching and listening to the bands she handpicked to share her stage with. 

She continues to write and create in her own right and has recently launched the EP Sola to raise funds to publish her third album.

Alice is truly unique and her music remains authentic and inspiring. She performs with such humility.  She simply does not let fame blind her or get in the way of her focus, which is to make music and to be happy. She lives her philanthropy through sharing her music, the ultimate gift, with those less fortunate.

With this attitude of gratitude and giving, she receives, in abundance. 

The song 'She' was recently shortlisted for the Oscars in the Best Original Song category, for its appearance in the documentary "Bombshell".

I hope to see her again soon, but next time in a realm where she feels at home, on the streets of Berlin.

Photographs by Yolanda Saayman

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Monday, 06 February 2017 10:30

Alice Phoebe Lou: The Real Thing

I have been following Alice’s career with great interest since she opened for Rodriguez in Cape Town, February 2016.

Simple Picture Slideshow:
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Alice is no longer that shy girl who could not look up from the floor to face her audience. She says that playing on the streets has taught her to communicate and not be afraid while performing on stage. Her growth as an artist is noticeable in the way she moves and interacts with her audience, but more specifically, in the way her voice dances to the rhythm of the notes.

Her piercing blue eyes demands attention while she challenges the status quo through her music and profound lyrics and leaves the audience inspired with food for thought.

She believes that art and creativity should be collaborative and surrounds herself with musicians and artists who adds intuitively to the music. This was evident during her recent show at the Methodist Church on Greenmarket Square which formed part of her Coming Home Tour.  Here she shared the stage with various musicians including the musical genius Olmo (Francesco Lo Giudice) and multi-instrumentalist Matteo Pavesi.

Her latest renditions of 'Devil’s Sweetheart' and 'Grey' from the Momentum EP are simply phenomenal. Alice is visibly comfortable in her own skin and she performs with an energy which is contagious.  

As an independent, uncompromising artist, she too, refuses to sell out to consumerism and despite the fame that followed her TedXBerlin appearance, the young artist remains humble and continues to play on the streets of Berlin. 

In her own words:  “I see music as a gift and a tool for positive change.”

When Big Concerts announced that Alice Phoebe Lou would be the opening act for the legendary Rodriguez on his South Africa tour, I thought:  "Who the fuck is Alice!?" (I obviously wasn’t paying too much attention to the TedxBerlin talk when it went viral – guilty!)

Despite the fact that Alice, self-admittedly, likes using the F-word, she made a lasting impression on the audience and me. So much so, that when the quirky poster for The Lucky Packet show started circling on Facebook, I knew I had to document the event.

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'The Lucky Packet' is Alice’s brainchild which she started moulding last year, but she needed a suitable venue. So thinking a bit outside of the box it made sense to launch this project at the ColourBox Studios in Paarden Island.

This was Alice’s last show in Cape Town, before her return to Berlin and was attended by friends, fans and, I believe, a few curious souls. Let’s face it, there’s this young blond girl who looks like she should still be in primary school, who defies the status quo and then blows your mind when she starts belting out her heart and soul with social commentary that demands attention and awareness. It is the profanity of the lyrics of this young “I won’t be moved” artist that resonates with the listener.

Alice is bubbly and one can feel her energy pouring out as she bounces around like a careless child with her infectious smile, in contradiction to the melancholic tunes she plays. She shares her stage with the likes of Harry Charles (a homie from New Zealand also living in Berlin) and Chris AuReT, who also did the artwork for the cover of her new CD. The part I liked a lot, was watching visual artists like Steven Carter (Joffsart) etching off his magical touch on a blank canvas – literally! 

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No doubt, Thursday’s show was indeed A Lucky Packet. According to Alice, this is the first of many to follow. For her, it is all about the music, art and collaborating with friends on a platform where everyone benefits from the success. 

As for now, the fans will have to patiently await the launch of her new CD “Orbit” to be released in April 2016. “Walking in the garden” is a first, glimpse into her new album – enjoy!

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Photography by Yolanda Saayman


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