Formed in 2016, Bonfire Buffalo are a South African pop rock band from Witbank. Fronted by the quirky and elegantly charming, Ivy Ann van Rooyen, with brother Ewoud van Rooyen on guitar, and Carl Dedekind on bass, the tightly knit trio are changing the preconceived ideas of what South African music should sound like. Drawing influences from across the globe – ranging from Pink Floyd to Mumford & Sons – the band chose not to be tied down by genre, defining their sound as eclectic and experimental in nature.
Bonfire Buffalo and its individual members have performed alongside some of SA’s top music acts, including Prime Circle, Evolver One, Fokofpolisiekar and more. Though relatively new to the industry, they have already left a lasting impression on fans across the country.
In 2016, the outfit released their debut single “Back To School”, which was playlisted on various SA campus and commercial stations, followed by their six-track debut EP of the same name. Produced by Greg Carlin (of Zebra & Giraffe fame), the EP immediately captured the attention of industry bigwigs and was featured on the front page of iTunes.
Despite the various challenges artists face in building a sustainable career, Bonfire Buffalo don’t shy away from hard work, proving that a little determination and effort goes a long way. The aim: to write music that’s catchy, fun and at times meaningful. Moreover, they are of the opinion that songwriting must have longevity, surpassing momentary times and trends.
The band spent the better half of the year in studio, perfecting their craft and writing new music and are ready to set fire to the dancefloor with a series of new singles.
In September 2017, they released their second single Good In Another Life featuring Shabzi Madallion. The happy upbeat track features some old school influences.
Growing up in an artistic family, music was a clear path for Ivy Ann van Rooyen. The natural-born performer started playing piano at age 6 and singing followed shortly after. With the support of her family, she went on to study music, receiving her Grade 8 in piano and a licentiate in performance art.
A doctor’s assistant by day and performer by night, Ivy started Bonfire Buffalo with her brother Ewoud and long-time friend Carl in 2016.
Describe yourself in a simple sentence? Awkwardly funny and willing to take the mickey out of myself.
What do you get up to in your spare time? Reading and songwriting.
Who do you admire and look up to? Paul McCarthney as a songwriter and Freddie Mercury as a vocalist.
Reveal a secret no one knows about you? I have a fear of grating cheese.
List one item you cannot do without? A book.
What do you value most in life? Happiness.
Ewoud was 12-years-old when he first started taking guitar and piano lessons, but it was only towards the end of his school career that he decided music was what he wanted to do for a living. He went on to study music and is currently in his second year at TUT Arts Campus. Bonfire Buffalo was established by his sister Ivy and her friend Carl. Looking to recruit a guitarist, Ivy played a rough mix of their debut single “Back in School” to Ewoud, and without question he hopped on board.
Describe yourself in a simple sentence? I’m a perfectionist who is never satisfied.
What do you get up to in your spare time? Watch series, play games or simply work on my Mac.
Who do you admire and look up to? My father. He is the best person I know and the perfect example of being a great husband and father.
Reveal a secret no one knows about you? I love astronomy and I secretly watch online lectures about astronomy and astrophysics.
List one item you cannot do without? My computer – where all my work is stored.
What do you value most in life? I consider loyalty to be the most important characteristic one can have. That’s why I love dogs so much.
Carl Dedekind grew up in a musical family – his mother plays the piano and his siblings their various instruments. With a Grade 4 in guitar from the Trinity College of London, there was no doubt that music would form a part of his life in some form or another. Despite running a successful loss adjusting business, Carl spends his evenings strumming his acoustic and coming up with new and exciting guitar riffs to add to the band’s already remarkable repertoire.
Describe yourself in a simple sentence? Happy and adventurous.
What do you get up to in your spare time? Ride motorcycle and take trips into Africa.
Who do you admire and look up to? My father.
Reveal a secret no one knows about you? My bellybutton produces blue fluff at the end of every day, regardless of the colour shirt I’m wearing.
List one item you cannot do without? My son.
What do you value most in life? Family.