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Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | SELF

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa | SELF
Band Rock Soul


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The Bridge

1. Pretty Pictures (Playlisted on YFM in South Africa)
2. Newtown
3. I'm Ok
4. Summertime
5. Some Say
6. Rises
7. All In Your Dreams
8. Fairytales
9. Truth Hurts
11. Drag
12. Sunrise



One way to describe Newtown is as a fortunate crossing of paths - a collective of individuals meeting in the right place and at the right time, and becoming part of something unique.
For Newtown, the meeting of minds has lasted for almost 6 years. Through that time the energy has grown and the sound has evolved into what can be heard today, captured on the band’s debut album, The Bridge. This is the culmination of a long process of writing, playing, re-writing and polishing the songs until they have come to possess a truly unique character that reflects where Newtown has been and where they are going to. This, coupled with their steadily growing fan base cultivated over years of gigging in Gauteng and further afield, has led to the emergence of Newtown as one of South Africa’s most exciting bands.
The Band
Newtown’s members have arrived in the band from very different directions.
Front woman Pebbles Gqunta was born in the Eastern Cape, but spent many of her formative years in England soaking up the sounds of the international soul scene. Back in SA, Pebbles has forged a solo career for her self as a home-grown soul diva, releasing her debut solo album Playful Soul on Outrageous Records, and has a follow-up solo album in the works.
Ryan Norwood-Young (guitar, vox) and Amy Difford (bass), both song writers and lyricists, have known each other for most of their lives, and played together in various projects before finding themselves in Newtown. It is here that their writing and playing has borne the most fruit, as their unique understanding of one another’s styles has come into play. Steeped in rock and blues from an early age, Ryan is a soul man at heart. Amy is the quiet presence who provides the rock-solid foundation for Newtown’s often frenetic pace.
Duane Arthur (sax, guitar, vox) is a producer and writer, and a dynamic presence onstage. He has been involved in many projects over the years, including cutting his teeth in the hugely popular band Sublemon, as well as playing with SA punk pioneers Ethel My Love and birthing his solo project, DMA. As a song writer and producer, Duane’s credits include writing and performing with Ringo Madlingozi, and writing and producing for Gloria Bosman, Loyiso Bala, Lionel Peterson, MXO, RJ Benjamin, and the Heartlines series. Duane has also spent the last few years making inroads as a producer in the local hip hop scene.
LeRoy Croft (synths, effects, guitar, vox) is a SAMA Award-winning engineer and producer, and has worked with many of the who’s who of SA music, including 340ml, Mandoza, Gloria Bosman, Tidal Waves, Blk Jks, Selaelo Selota, Musa Manzini, RJ Benjamin, Garth Taylor, Tumi and The Volume and Gang of Instrumentals. LeRoy brings textures to Newtown’s sound with his synths, rhythm guitar, and the aptly-named KAOSS Pad.
Doug Rodger was exposed to classical music as a youngster, and was trained as an orchestral percussionist before moving into the contemporary arena. After doing stints behind the drums for various projects, including SA punk-poppers Tweak, he found his home in what was to become Newtown almost ten years ago and has never looked back.

The Bridge came into being over the course of almost two years of hard work. Recorded in three different locations and entirely self-produced by Newtown, this album is an accurate record of the band’s sound, and is a labour of love.
LeRoy and Ryan did the engineering and production honours, with the initial tracking taking place at 9 on 7th, an old property in the suburb of Houghton in Johannesburg. The house was emptied out and converted into a studio, and the wooden floors and high ceilings helped to give the album its organic warmth. Vocal tracking was split between 9 on 7th and renowned folk minimalist Arlyn Culwick’s HFLr Studios in Parkhurst. Percussion, extra guitars and other odds and ends were also recorded at HFLr, and a third location, Hole In The Wall, was used for editing. Mixing took place at Pantsdowne Palace, another stately old pile in Melrose, right next door to the Gautrain diggings. Mastering was done at Lapdust Audio by Rogan Kelsey.
The Future
With The Bridge’s release and nationwide distribution through Soul Candi Records ( ), Newtown is set to enlarge their footprint on the South African music scene during 2010. Country-wide touring, radio and TV exposure are in the works as the hiatus induced by the recording process ends.
The Newtown experience is about taking whatever life has served up and giving it a positive spin; about seeing ourselves as parts of a greater whole, where what we have in common is greater than what sets us apart. We hope you will enjoy joining us on the part of this journey which is The Bridge!
©Newtown 2010
Press enquiries: Leyla Baleson:
Bookings: Douglas Rodger 072 225 3581/ OR Ryan: 083 727 2425/