photo gallery



travel tales

gig guide

video clips


guest book


"Turn back the Tide" Reviews  

The Hottentots are a duo consisting of Carl Cleves, acoustic guitarist/vocalist and Parissa Bouas, lead vocalist/percussionist. They have been recording and performing throughout the world since the early 90's. Turn Back The Tide is their 4th recording, I believe and a follow-up to the excellent Graceful which was reviewed a couple of years ago when Diaspora was a fishwrapper.

I'm not sure if the Hottentots are really world music, whatever that terms means. Not that it matters. They evince a completely personal, quirky folksy sound that is immediately identifiable. It is an Australian sound that generously embraces the sounds and rhythms of the world's music to create a beguiling yet warmly accessible tapestry.

The opening track Party At My House is a very good example of their modus operandi, a jumpy little number where swing, pop, folk, African and Latin elements flow in and out without disturbing the good-natured momentum. 11 of the 12 songs are original compositions and they cover a broad expanse of moods, melodies and tempos within the Hottentot parameters ... blues, Gaelic, Brazilian, blues, African, reggae whatever ... all disarmingly presented in a direct yet multi-layered fashion.

As always Parissa proves she is a singer with few equals in this country. Try to imagine anyone else tackling the Cesaria Evora masterpiece Sodade, the only cover here, and pulling it off in such a beautifully soulful fashion without sounding imitative. One thing I really love about the Hottentots music is its complete lack of pretence and trendiness. And the lyrics address real issues from a personal and political viewpoint ... another corporate sin.

The contributions from the supporting musicians provide apt commentary in a multitude of contexts be it bluesy harmonica, one drop reggae beat, shimmering violin or Carl's artful guitar playing, but they're superbly subordinated to the songs. As a result Turn Back The Tide represents most closely the duo's infectious sound and is highly recommended.

Richard Jasituowicz in DIASPORA World Beat 2005


Byron Bay duo The Hottentots have built a reputation for themselves around Australia with a classy blend of original music blending a variety of global styles.

The latest release from the Hottentots is varied, lively and political. The band treat us to their customary energy-filled treatment of several contemporary issues facing us today. The title sets the theme - if we want to live in a better world we can do something to bring it about, and it's up to us to make a start. A fine CD that will please the Hottentots fans.

"This classy set of songs is typical of what live audiences have come to expect from this accomplished duo. Turn Back the Tide is lively, polished and full of very inviting journeys in song and music.

The material on Turn Back the Tide shows the variety of genres the Hottentots are quite comfortable with. More than a competent handling of styles Parissa Bouas and Carl Cleves write through a wide range of musical cultures but deliver evocative performances. The stories are great and the playing masterful - even sensuous. They've involved a good support cast of musicians in a sympathetic display of playing in tight and well thought out arrangements. But this never distracts from the essence of their work or the importance of the tale they’re telling. It's always clear that the strength lies in the duo.

Standout tracks: (3) The Bethlehem Bell Ringer and (12) The Coniston Massacre. They show off Parrisa's wonderful ability to create a great vocal and yet sell a challenging story. Other great tracks are (1) Party at My house and Look Over Yonder. Fun and feel-good songs."

review by Ian Paulin, April 2005


I first heard the Hottentots in the mid 90's, through their award-winning debut album 'A Small World'. One thing I've noticed about them over the years is they seem to be getting better and better.

Their latest CD "Turn back the Tide" does nothing but confirm this. This album touches so many different musical styles that it seriously undersells the music to simply label it as 'folk'. Essentially, this is acoustic music - exceptionally well written music and lyrics, beautifully arranged and superbly performed by Carl Cleves and Parissa Bouas. They are joined by many fine musicians, such as Rory McLeod, Doug de Vries and Peter Grayling but no track seems cluttered.

There is spaciousness that makes for a fine listening. It's hard to find favourite tracks on an album of this calibre but "The Bethlehem Bell Ringer" with its heartfelt plea for peace and Parissa's sublime vocal on "I'll Be with you Tonight" stand out. For pure energy and fun the opening track "Party at my House" is a must. Anyone with an interest in good acoustic music with an international flavour won't be disappointed. I'd also strongly recommend their energetic and passionate live performances for any budding performer."

Debra Manskey, Australian Songwriter Sept 2004"


"This is the 4th album from this prolific and multi-talented duo. A nicely produced 16 page booklet contains the lyrics and other credits for all the songs. As with previous recordings, this CD contains a diverse range of songs, covering many subjects from love to war, using musical styles like folk, reggae, Latin, country and more. All songs (except one) were written and performed by Parissa Bouas and/or Carl Cleves. A small group of fine musicians provides sensitive and musical backing to the singing and playing of the duo.

There are older and new songs presented here and some that stand out are:
The title track "Turn back the tide" is an effective protest song against war and ruthless power politics around the world with a modern reggae sound. "I'll be with you tonight" is a gentle swaying bitter-sweet love song, beautifully sung by Parissa; "Yellow Land" is a comment about the scary spreading of our desserts and the continuous loss of more vegetation; "A Resting Place" is a touching song about the mysterious global homeless traveller/refugee/outcast - or whatever he may be, forever looking for a place of rest and peace. The already often heard (live) song "The Bethlehem Bell Ringer"is one of the most successful and haunting songs on the album ... "Oh Jesus, please help Palestine, turn all that blood back into wine ...Please bring peace to Palestine ... " a message that is now as potent and universally seemingly hopeless and futile as ever.

Although some songs are instantly more appealing than others there are no weak points throughout. Because of the diversity of styles, arrangements, tempi and rhythms, subjects and performances of songs, one never loses interest in listening to the album (as I often do when too many tracks are too similar in every way). Instead, the manifold songs and sounds create a wonderfully textured quilt of beautiful and meaningful songs."

Dieter Bajzek, Folk Alliance News 2004