TOUCH OF CLASS: IN A CLASS OF THEIR OWN
‘Thrillingly beautiful’ is the perfect way to describe the music of acclaimed duo, Touch of Class. The group, established by Deon van der Merwe and Ronell Erasmus, has been part of the South African Music Industry since 1989 and originally performed as backup band for big artists like Anneli van Rooyen, Manuel Escorcio and André Schwartz.
The musical pair’s career officially launched in the early nineties, with their first album, Ek en my Meisie, reaching gold status (25 000 units sold) in 1992 and platinum status (30 000 units sold) in 1994. Various gold status releases followed, including Bamboesbos, Stamp daai bene and Moenie worrie nie. Ruhan du Toit joined the group in 2012, after Ronell decided to focus on her solo career as Gospel musician. This was the start of a brand new adventure for Touch of Class!
Ruhan and Deon decided to combine their talent, not only to expand the group’s repertoire, but also to break away from its signature ‘tongue-in-cheek’ approach. Today they are known for their unique contemporary sound, which resonates with audiences of all ages. Deon’s instrumental ingenuity complements Ruhan’s versatile four-octave vocal range perfectly, and has resulted in twelve successful album over the past five years. They have also become a popular act at functions and festivals and perform a wide variety of genres from different eras, ranging from Country, Classic Rock, Rock ’n Roll and Pop, to Classical Music, Blues and other traditional musical styles.
Although their previous albums, Touch of Classic, Bring and Braai Volume 1, Bring and Braai Volume 2, Salute the Legends: Gé Korsten, Salute the Legends: Groep 2, Salute the Legends: Smokie, Salute the Legends: Classic Rock Volume 1, Salute the Legends: Demis Roussos & Joe Dolan, Salute the Legends: Elvis, Salute the Legends: Show DVD and Dans in die Reën were all very well received, 100 Duisend Perde - a double album that was released in 2016 - can be considered their most successful release to date. It not only reached platinum status within seven months after its release, but also produced various chart topping hits like Ek steek my hand op, which is still regularly featured on radio and television.
The duo has also shared the stage with some of the country’s most successful artists at some of the biggest music festivals and concerts on the calendar. Their heartfelt rendition of the popular Simon & Garfunkel hit, The Sound of Silence, received standing ovations at Classics is Groot and Afrikaans is Groot in 2016. The music video of this cover has received more than two million hits on YouTube, since its release in June 2017.
True to their name, Touch of Class has managed to position themselves in a class of their own in the South African Music Industry. Fans can look forward to a brand new album (Touch of Classic Volume 2, which will include a rendition of Yesterday with Coleske) as well as another breath-taking performance at Classics is Groot in 2017.
THE MEN BEHIND THE MUSIC
Deon van der Merwe is an acclaimed guitar player and one of the founding members of Touch of Class. He has recorded numerous successful guitar albums, including Kitaarboogie, Hits of The Shadows and Crying Guitar, as well as A tribute to Ricardo Bornman, for which he received a SAMA Award in 2008. This gentle musician, who started playing guitar at the age of fifteen, has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Although he would have liked to make a difference in people’s lives with his qualification, it is his passion for music that really touches hearts. He listens to a wide range of genres - especially Baroque, Spanish music and more progressive Country and Blues - because he feels it can teach him more about his instrument. Deon is very grateful for all the success he has achieved in his career so far and regards it as a privilege to work with Ruhan. “I admire the quality of his voice, his ability to interpret all styles and the way in which he is able to adapt his voice to suit any song. He is everything that one can expect from a friend and partner.”
Ruhan du Toit has been conquering hearts with his soothing voice from a very young age. He released his first album at the age of ten and that was only the beginning of this gifted musician’s musical journey. Since then, he has performed about 150 shows per year, starred in various musicals and plays and released four solo albums and two duet albums with his brother. He is currently the lead vocalist of Touch of Class, which he believes is because he was at the right place at the right time. This talented, but shy, vocalist loves listening to meaningful music and feels blessed to be able to do what he loves with the support of his fiancée. Ruhan believes that music has a universal language and admires the fact that Deon still gets excited about new sounds after all his years in the industry. “I am learning a lot from him and have met very few people who has the passion for their instrument and music that he has. It is contagious.”
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BOOKINGS AND ENQUIRIES:
Cell: 084 602 1326 (calls only)
Directors: Deon van der Merwe & Ruhan du Toit
Touch of Class,15 Imbuia Avenue, Eldoraigne, Pretoria, 0157