Valiant Swart, real name Pierre Nolte, was born in Wellington, South Africa, on November 25 1965, and now lives in Stellenbosch. Although he is famous for his singing and song writing, he is in actual fact a poet, who offers his writings in the form of music.
Even though he has over the years, written and sung songs in both English and Afrikaans, it is in Afrikaans, his home language, that he expresses himself the best, and this shows in his rock music for which he is so famous.
Literary critics these days, are taking serious notice of Valiant Swart and his meaningful interpretation of life in South Africa.
In 1977, at the age of eleven, his father gave him his first guitar, and that’s where it all started. Through trial and error, and with only the help of a book of chords, he taught himself to play.
Things finally clicked into place one day – a moment that he remembers very well, and the reality hit him then, that more than anything else in the world, he wanted to be a rock star.
He started writing his own songs and playing rock music after he got his first electric guitar in 1979 at the age of 13, and the rest, as they say, is history.
All sorts of influences, like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, heavy metal, blues, and boeremusiek, helped him to develop his own style of music, which he describes as country punk, with a hint of blues, bittersweet, and with a beat. According to Valiant, no day job ever, no matter how good, could ever compete with the satisfaction and pleasure that he gets from his music.
He, together with fellow artist, Koos Kombuis, started out by playing at some dodgy pubs and clubs in the suburb of Hillbrow, and in 1996, his first album called Mystic Boer, was released. Besides the hundreds of times he’s performed at pubs, clubs, and university gigs, he has also played at numerous festivals in South Africa, including Oppokoffi, Splashy Fen, Ruslter’s Valley, as well as the arts festivals which take place in Grahamstown and Oudtshoorn.
All in all, he has performed at shows totalling more 3000 all over South Africa, but apart from these local performances, Valiant Swart was also recently asked to appear in Utrecht in Holland, and has also done shows in the USA, Namibia, and the UK.
His performances either include his band, or have him playing on his own, accompanied by his harmonica and acoustic guitar. Whether backed by a band, or performing solo though, Valiant Swart and his rock music have captivated audiences all over South Africa and in other parts of the world as well.
Well known for his rock music, there are times when Valiant Swart writes beautiful ballads as well, one of the most popular being Sonvanger, a song that tells the story of terrible loss and utter sadness. According to many, after watching him perform this particular song live, they developed goose bumps all over, had the hair on their necks stand on end, and were almost reduced to tears, so beautiful was the performance.
Other songs by this famous Afrikaans South African rock star include:
- Mystic Boer
- Deur die donker vallei
- Dorpstraat revisited
- Mystic Myle
- Wild en Wakker
- Song vir Katryn
- @ Jinx
- Boland Punk
- ‘n Jaar in die son
- Vuur en vlam
In 2001 Valiant presented a 13-part television documentary on Blues music, a job that he found to be an absolute adventure, as it required him to travel for about 40 days to places like Mississippi, Louisiana, as well as Tennessee. It was the success of this show, which led to him getting the male lead in Song vir Katryn, a hit television series in South Africa, for which he also wrote and performed the soundtrack.
In 2008, Valiant Swart won the SAMA award for “Best Afrikaans Traditional Album” Vuur en Vlam, with Ollie Viljoen.
Song vir Katryn, where Valiant made his acting debut, and wrote and performed the soundtrack, was an enormous success and did in fact, achieve gold status.
Valiant Swart has composed more than 100 songs and, with his number of fans growing daily, it is no wonder that he is considered to be one of the best Afrikaans song writers within the past 20 years, and in addition to this, has gained the status of a number one performer, not only here in South Africa, but in other parts of the world as well.