Kahn Morbee/Vocals & Guitar
“The Parlotones could be huge here. Muse huge. Killers huge. Coldplay huge.” -The Boston Herald, 3/6/11 Thus declares one of Boston’s more formidable print establishments, mere days after the foursome made their first appearance in the city. The reaction to the band’s gorgeous, swelling melodies has been similar throughout North America, the newest continent to which South Africa’s famed rock n rollas have set their sights. While all of the band’s catalog has been available digitally in the United States and Canada for years, 2010’s Stardust Galaxies is the first to be supported in the region with a full-on tour by the band (no strangers to the road, regularly selling out 1000+ capacity venues in Europe, and arenas in their home country of South Africa), physical distribution, press, a radio campaign, video support, and an eager reception by the twitterverse and facebooklandia vanguard who were already familiar with the band. In June, of 2011 the band released their 2011 South African Music Award winning Live Design, a CD/DVD combo that was recorded at Johannesburg’s Coca Cola Dome.
Word of The Parlotones has been whispered across the waters of the Atlantic from a variety of events: their headlining appearance at the 2010 World Cup Kickoff Concert between Alicia Keys and Shakira; their performance at 2009’s Earth Hour Concert and the Live Earth Concert which was beamed live around the world on Youtube; a number of sync licenses including One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars, Ghost Whisperer, and three uses on Jersey Shore; and of course by word of mouth which is reinforced each and every time the band gets on stage and singer Kahn Morbee’s sheer presence, voice, and movement demands the attention of everyone in the vicinity. The band further reinforced their presence in the American psyche in July of 2011 when they broadcast an original rock theater production, Dragonflies and Astronauts, live from Johannesburg, in 3D. The show wove a narrative through the band’s catalog, featuring 16 songs that were top 40 hits in South Africa. The 3D broadcast was so well received in the United States that DIRECTV scheduled 100 re-airings. The band also simulcast the show in 2D on Facebook and donated the proceeds from the 10 Facebook credit charge to Rhino Force, an organization in which the band are heavily involved to help raise awareness about the poaching of rhino in their homeland almost to the point of extinction. News of the show and the cause spread virally, and over 50% of the worldwide viewership of the Facebook feed hailed from the United States.
The Parlotones’ creative output doesn’t stop at music, however. The band have their own brand of wine ‘Giant Mistake’ which has earned a no.1 in the Sunday Times wine list and distribution through major European retailers. They followed up Giant Mistake with a white wine called “Push Me To The Floor” and a rose called “We Call This Dancing”. A new blend will make its debut with the Parlotones’ forthcoming studio album in Spring, 2012. The Parlotones wines will be available in the United States late in 2011.
Drummer Neil Pauw is also a painter, and created the artwork for the band’s most recent release, Eavesdropping On The Songs of Whales. They are also ambassadors for Rhino Force, United Against Malaria, and several other organizations who combat problems that acutely affect South Africa. They see it all – the music, the wine, the art, the activism – as one and the same; methods of expression, of communication, of connection.