Doctoring the Gently Scar'd
By Robert Laing
A forlorn girl sits hunched among dead flowers holding her head in her hands, her naked back to the camera. It's a woeful picture which Gently Scar'd singer and songwriter Carice Goossens posed for her band's debut album No Pink Flowers.
"It's bare, just the truth," Carice told me. Her name is pronounced to rhyme with Paris, not grease the way I kept saying it during our radio interview.
Carice's hauntingly rueful songs are reminiscent of the Cowboy Junkies' best. She's heard the comparison before, but she's too young to know who the Cowboy Junkies are. Sorrowful as the album cover looks, Carice's music isn't mournful like the Cowboy Junkies.
She describes her music as angry, but her lyrics are calls for people to be more caring and nurturing — they're words from someone who'll make good doctor. She's a medical student in her penultimate year.
Be more openly affectionate and less critical is her recurring theme. The reason she doesn't like pink flowers is they're given in lieu of honest admissions of attraction.
Two of the songs on her album — Hush and Broken Silence — were written to help deal with the tragedies she has been exposed to as a trainee doctor.
"Hush is a very sad song for me. One night I was working in an oncology hospital with lots of cancer patients. I went into the ladies' ward and talked to a patient with leukemia who was undergoing chemotherapy. It struck me how she still managed to be so happy with life and so friendly even while enduring this."
The lyrics refer to how most of us rush through life, while here was someone for whom life was a beautiful gift which was being taken away from her.
Carice wrote Hush that night at the hospital on the first piece of paper that came to hand, a pathology form.
"My songs are written everywhere. I often get my lyrics while driving, which is dangerous because I look for petrol slips to write them down on."
When she recently ended up in hospital as patient herself after a kick-boxing sparing partner hit her in the abdomen so hard she ruptured inside, her friends sent her pink flowers as a joke.
"Life is not about things like that. Don't give me that fake stuff, give me the real stuff."
She wrote Broken Silence for a deaf child who needed a cochlea implant. She did a benefit gig at the Blues Room to raise money for the operation.
"I really really wanted to write a song for her, so I wrote it in ten minutes."
Like many Joburg musicians, one of the Blues Room's Wednesday night New Music Blasts was where it all started for Carice.
"My cousin dared me to play my songs live at the Blues Room. I was initially 'no ways, I'm not playing in front of an audience'. But I did it. The manager asked me to play again, and then things went forward."
Carice independently released a solo album titled Gently Scar'd, hence the name of the band (pronounced scarred, not scared). Her band mates drummer Jacques Cronje, bassist Jason Phillips, and lead guitarist/backing vocalist Peter Verheije all studied music for four years. The music bug bit Carice about the time she started studying medicine, and she confided in me that she has some regrets about studying medicine rather than music.
At least one historical precedent springs to mind linking medicine, music and the East Rand — the Radio Rats's Jonathan Handley.
That Carice's formal education is in medicine rather than music doesn't bother record companies. She was about to sign a publishing deal with one of the big five lables and get one of the major local record companies to distribute and market No Pink Flowers when we did the radio show.
If there's any justice in South Africa's music industry, Carice Goossens will be Benoni's biggest star export since Charlize Theron. Unfortunately, that's a long shot in South Africa's broken music market. But at least if she doesn't get to be appreciated for the great songwriter she is, she'll still be a great doctor.
Gently Scar'd /Carice Goosens /TOCO/Sunset Records /Universe
Author: ET, 14 January 2010
Great to hear that the Korean and other South East Asian countries appreciate and will be releasing her album ,"No Pink Flowers'. It's truly wonderful to that Carice's tales will be told, enjoyed , discussed and sung in these diverse and very different places . Her album is soon to be released in Korea via TOCO International . Carice.... tells it as it is , her compassion is best understood by tuning into the song 'Hush " Her songs trancended the barriers of race , colour and creed . A truly uniquie individual whose music and passion now save's live's and souls .
Add a review or comment on Gently Scar'd :