First of all, the song that inspired this article is Fractured gods in which she featured with the South Africa Christian metal band, Forfeit thee Untrue.
Honestly, I have been wanting to write this article about Robyn Ferguson, the vocalist of the South African Christian metal band ‘Adorned in Ash‘ for long now. It’s just that I have had a very busy schedule all year and I try to balance my life activities with my passion ‘Audioinferno’ which is way hectic so back to Robyn.
I am a fanboy of Robyn, a fangirl even if there is any word like that. I am driven by impulses and beliefs about Robyn that I see her as an African metal female goddess because she is so powerful when she is onstage and then you begin to wonder if there are any ladies as daring, beautiful and distinctive as her. Her demonstration of idiosyncratic prowess on stage is something you’ve never experienced before, just plug yourself in her vocals and wait for your world to shatter.
Robyn Ferguson picked up a guitar when she was 12 years old and since then she has been learning how to play the guitar and to scream. In 2009, she came for auditioning for the vocalist for Adorned in Ash and then got the vocalist spot.
It was kind of cool that a girl wanted to audition. She came with her dad. A most wonderful man. She was shy and nervous. She was too young to drive. They listened to our material and were impressed. Even on the first night she quickly caught on to some of the riffs. We decided very swiftly to appoint and and have never doubted our decision ever ~ Mark Ivey, drummer and founder of Adorned in Ash
There are many things to love about Robyn Ferguson but I will just name three:
- She is a bearer of exceptional talent, she tackles the hardest of key changes and stylistic switches with such fluidity. When she is on stage, she turns into an ongoing jackhammer and there at that moment, the crowd loses their collective minds. She tears around the stage like she’s been set on a leash.
- She’s an absolute queen that is bathed in the light of the African full moon and the golden reflection of South Africa. She makes that brutal last stand and in that moment, her vocals frees minds and souls. She’s a consciousness that seems to work on two levels: she taps into the spiritual resonance of the crowd and she creates that solemn space in their mind that makes them free and she’s that circulatory system through which your past can be reborn.
- She’s that multi-layered human, an unnerving incantation that tunes to the frequency of slumbering spirits in the minds of her crowd and casts it away with her vocals. She is a true intellectual, the best female growler in the African metal scene. She curses and praises on metal events. She’s that positive and fruitful energy that gives voice to some of the forgotten things in our society.
Adorned in Ash have performed 138 shows in total since 2010 in Africa. They performed in Gorofest at Gil Vicente in 2014 and Ovnifest at Africa bar in 2015 in Mozambique.
They also performed in the 8th anniversary of the Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Fest in 2016 and 7th edition of the popular Botswana metal festival ‘Rock the Nation’ in 2017.
Sistas of metal (Robyn as the female vocalist) played in Rock no Rio in Catumbela, Angola in 2017.
We spoke with Robyn Ferguson. She’s a hard lady to reach but she came through to us. Enjoy the interview \m/
Audioinferno: How did Jackson guitars sign Adorned in Ash?
It’s been 11 years of hard work to become endorsed with them. Loads of playing, thousands of submissions and finally getting noticed by the right people at the right time. I then pushed for the entire band to be endorsed and the rest is pretty much history. We’ve walked a great road with Jackson and it’s a brand I’ve always loved so it’s an honour to be associated with them as an artist and as a band.
Audioinferno: For the past 8 years, how has your experience in Adorned in Ash been?
It’s really difficult to summarise 8 years. The road has been tough; it’s been literal blood, sweat and tears. Mark and I have been in it since pretty much the beginning and we have gone through death, illness, persecution in the extreme forms of death threats and more, thousands upon thousands of hours of hard work, member changes, crippling financial times, disease, loss, and much much more. Times haven’t always been a struggle though. We’ve had moments of victory, blessing, favour, great highlights of touring, recording and performing with Internationals to the masses, meeting people from all over the globe and sharing our story with all who will listen. We have risen from the ashes multiple times, been hardened by the flames and pushed forward. AiA has always had each-others backs, we are a unit, an army and a family and because of this we are stronger than ever. Yes, we clash, the gears get worn and need oiling and re-tooling but we’ve always found a way to push through. Any band nearing the 10 year mark can tell you many many stories of success and failure. It’s what you make of the challenges we all face which determines whether you grow or wither away in the end.
Audioinferno: From the times you played in Botswana, Mozambique, Angola and of course South Africa. How has the experience in each of those countries been?
Personally I think I’ve experienced these performances very differently to the rest of the band haha. Mozambique was our first gig in another country and it opened my eyes to how differently people view music. Mozambique really is a place of diversity and raw energy. A new, fresh take on metal and how things should be run. They are building a tight ship and are working towards running things at an international professional level. They respect and love music.
Botswana– wow. The people there are probably among the most passionate I have ever met. They are so different, so true to themselves and they really don’t care if you like it or not. They are who they are and it’s awesome. No compromise. They are a true community, tight knit and strong. They support till the very end. I’m sure they were born wearing leathers and will die wearing them too.
Angola completely and utterly changed my life. Words cannot fully explain that experience. 24 thousand people in Angola, TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND PEOPLE. This was more than international quality. They are probably the most underrated country in regards to music and professional, international standards. They went above and beyond EVERYTHING we ever expected and truly treated us (Sistas of Metal) like royalty, as if we were the most important people on the planet in that moment. It was so humbling. There is not a single ego or attitude thrown around among the musicians, bands or solo artists. Despite the language barriers, everyone there was more than helpful, friendly and accommodating. This was by far the tightest, best organised festival I have ever been to or performed at. They treated everyone from musicians to fans with the utmost respect and love.. We felt the universe beat with our own hearts on that stage and in that moment we were all living our calling. I will have that moment tattooed on me soon, so I will never forget were I saw the start of my life dreams completed. My heart for you Angola.
Audioinferno: You’ve played 138 shows since the onset from 2009 to 2017. You must feel very proud leading the vocals for this band. Describe how you feel.
This band is my soul and passion, my everything summed into one, it’s more humbling and inspiring than anything to be on the stage with my boys. We’ve walked such a long road and performed with so many and it’s really just the beginning for us. The talent in this band is scary and I find myself awe-struck and so fortunate to be in this with such amazing and talented musicians. Somehow, through everything, we found each other and the mix that works and I boy- I will not let this go without one hell of a fight.
Audioinferno: How do you see 2018 for Adorned in Ash?
2018 will be another interesting journey for us. We are recording our long-awaited second album and we are hoping to release in 2018 too. There’s a huge amount of work for us this coming year. From my side alone it’s vocals, guitar, producing, album art, marketing, arranging and managing the tours, online and much more. So I definitely have my work cut out for me haha! Luckily I have an AMAZING band and work shared is work halved. The album is a mammoth of a task and concept and we’re really working to capacity to make this happen and be out-of-this-world for all our die-hard fans and supporters. It’s pushing us all, and I’m so proud of the hard work everyone has put in so far.
Audioinferno: Many young girls are looking up to you, some want to become what you are now ‘The best female vocalist in Africa’. What’s your advice to them?
Firstly, thank you so very much. There are so so many women in Africa making waves. So many amazingly talented vocalists, many who have inspired me to be what I am and they definitely hold their own. My advice to all: Never, ever stop. Never give up. Always push forward. The road isn’t easy, nor is it short. It’s filled with obstacles but you can, you will and you are going to overcome them. Never measure yourself up against anyone. You are your own woman and you are perfect in every way. You are strong, do not be afraid, you were born to do this. Never think you are a mistake. You were perfectly crafted, perfectly formed and your life matters. Make a change, do it, DO IT and don’t ever stop. I’m still pushing forward. I’m not satisfied with ordinary. I will never stop. I will go till my last breath, till my heart sings it’s last beat. Join me in doing the same.
Pretty much the end of the interview.
“I’ve been very fortunate in being able to see Adorned in Ash perform a number of times since 2014. Rarely does one see a front-person so ignited with a passion for performance and dedication to his/her craft. Robyn Ferguson is definitely a viable contender for Best Female Growler in Africa.” ~ Patrick Davidson of Metal4africa (South Africa)
I have never met Robyn in person (yet) but I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. She rules! Keeps a strong work ethic and is a force in the South African scene because of her talent and stage presence. Things are looking up for her and her fantastic band. ~ Edward Banchs, Author of Heavy Metal Africa (America)
Robyn, i know her through Metal music, she is my sister of metal. We played with her band both in South Africa and Botswana. She is very cute, very strong character, well disciplined, respecting, very calm and caring attitude and i saw that in Ghanzi during Overthrust Winter Metal Mania Charity Fest 2016 and i observed how passionately she was playing and chatting with orphan and disdvantaged children and kept smiling all the way, kids touching her hair and tatooes and she even donated some cash to the beneficiary for charity.She is real an interesting strong young lady.Musically she is guitar and vox guru.she is master piece, she is actually the best female metal muscian in Africa according to me.Her stage work is very brutal.I respect her so much and who ever is having her is a lucky guy. ~ Tshomarelo Mosaka, Vocalist of Overthrust (Botswana)
When you have the chance to meet her outside the stage, you’ll get to know the most kind, relaxed, friendly and simple person. But when she gets on stage, she becomes a completly different thing. I think her size doubles!!! She takes on the stage and she takes over the entire audience!! Every pair of eyes can’t avoid to stare her, mesmerized. ~ Carlos, Manager of Cube Records, (Angola)
Robyn Ferguson is one of the most talented musicians in Africa. The best female harsh vocalist and an amazing guitarist, all the while defying convention with her explicitly Christian extreme metal act Adorned in Ash. Much respect ~ Tim Salter, Assistant Metal liason of Audioinferno (America)
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