'Translating' Dylan at Music Kitchen

FOR East London-based singer Mick Laden, there's something poetic about his introduction to the iconic musician he salutes in a show he's taken to the international stage.

It was the theme of a Bob Dylan album about bringing things home – and that's exactly what happened when one of a youthful Laden's siblings did just that.

"My older brother or sister brought home the latest Dylan album, Bringing it All Back Home.

"It must've been in 1967, around about the time that I received my first guitar. Hearing Subterranean Homesick Blues – the first song on that album – and Mr Tamborine Man for the first time, it certainly struck a chord," said Laden in explaining what first drew him to Dylan's music.

"I found it very different from other popular music of the time and I expect it was Dylan's honesty and uniqueness that really captured my imagination."

Laden will be staging his Bob Dylan Greatest Hits – A Tribute Concert, a show he's taken to both the US and the UK, at The Music Kitchen in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth on Monday at 7.30pm.

Asked why he thought Dylan's music remained as relevant and popular as it does today, Laden said the themes were about questioning the establishment which gave it currency.

"Dylan's music challenges listeners, not simply to accept things the way they are, but to question moral and social values, and to take a stand against injustice and corruption in society.

"Not many people know that Bob Dylan has always championed the cause of underdogs in society. People relate to that way of thinking."

Laden said he could easily relate to the singer-songwriter.

"I guess that Dylan's music is in my blood and my pores, and I relate to the struggle he must have gone through, a struggle that all musicians have to go through, to become recognised. I can relate to that.

"As a result, when I perform a Dylan song, I can feel what he was experiencing when he wrote that song, and I am able to translate that feeling of urgency he conveyed, into my own interpretation, using Dylan's style."

Laden has performed professionally using Dylan's original vocal style in the UK and the US for many years.

He is joined for his tribute by guitarist Phillip Stone.

Tickets can be booked by phoning (041) 364-1964.