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“The Brink” was formed when Billy
and Janet Brink, originally from Cape Town, South Africa, emigrated to England
in the summer of 1986. They both sing and are multi-instrumentalists. Billy
plays lead guitar, flute, alto saxophone and harmonica and Janet plays rhythm
guitar, keyboards and alto saxophone.
Theirs is a live act
! The backing is in midi format in
which drums and bass have been sequenced by Billy and apart from the occasional
added keyboards everything else is live.
Billy began his vocation as a musician at the age of ten when he got his
first guitar. His years as a
chorister gave him a solid grounding as a singer and his accurate musical ear
and love of music quickly led him on to become accomplished on the guitar and
later the flute, saxophone and harmonica.
From her early teens, Janet has been
singing and accompanying herself on the guitar at parties and around the camp
fire. She went on to learn piano and to study theory of music and, after meeting
up with Billy, she began learning the saxophone and passed fifth grade
Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music on the instrument.
The Cape Town scene in both Jazz and Rock circles offered a high standard of
musicianship, spawning well known names such as Abdullah Ibrahim, Winston
Mankunku, Josh Sithole and Jonathan Butler.
After their shows, touring musicians from overseas often visited some of the
local late night music venues for some casual
playing. As Billy was a performer
at most of these venues this afforded him an opportunity to jam with Chic Corea, Blue Mitchell and
Thelonius Monk as well as many of their lesser
Billy organised his own concerts in Cape Town at the Baxter Theatre and at the
St. Aden’s Church, “Oh, for the Love of Music” and “We’re only in it
for the Music” encouraging new talent and giving them an opportunity of
exposure. It was in these shows
that Amampondo, who later went on to tour with Paul Simon, made their first
As well as performing in, Billy was also the musical director for “Alice”, “Joseph and his
amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat” and “Godspell”
at the Space Theatre and the University of Cape Town Jameson Hall.
A broadening interest in Jazz lead Billy to study composition and
arrangement under Merton Barrow at the Cape Town Jazz Workshop.
While in England Billy spent a year at Cambridge Regional College studying Music
Facilitation and Teaching and in 1997 qualified as a guitar teacher.
As well as teaching private students Billy also taught music at
Mildenhall Upper School, Suffolk, for three years.
He started a recording studio in England which he has expanded over the
years, re-assembling in Spain where he has recorded several CDs and demo’s for
The Brink played extensively around East Anglia for 17 years as well as touring
in France, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, Greece and the North East of England
before moving to Spain in
2003. They play a selection
of Rock Classic hits from bands such as Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Santana,
Shadows, Bill Haley & The Comets, Chuck Berry to Pink Floyd, Gary Moore and ACDC as well as
Blues and a bit of Jazz.
Corea, Basil Coetzee, Amampondo, Abdullah Ibrahim.
article that appeared in the '
newspaper, 9-15 Feb 2007
Billy Brink can make the most difficult guitar solos look easy but he is
not merely a technician, his improvisations are skilfully melodic and
His renditions of solos by Rock Legends such as Dave Gilmour and Carlos
Santana, sound convincingly close to the originals because Billy’s playing
captures the magic of their music. It is a pleasure to listen to him whether on
sax, flute or harmonica and satisfying to hear the well balanced sound of “The
rhythm playing on guitar and keyboards is a pleasing complement to Billy’s
expertise and her occasional forays into the limelight with a sax solo are not
Between them they play seven instruments; two guitars, two saxophones,
keyboard, flute and harmonica and are both strong singers.
As their backing, sequenced by Billy himself, only comprises drums and
bass with occasional additional keyboard, their act is as live as two people can
make it without compromising the sound.
While Rock and Blues musicians at heart, their repertoire is varied to
include Rock ‘n Roll, some Jazz and Latin as well as popular hits from Billy
Idol, Gerry Rafferty, Status Quo, among others, catering to a wide appeal. They
are serious musicians with a fun side and it’s not surprising to see the crowd
up jiving but the evidence of the quality of their entertainment are the cheers
following the more difficult numbers from Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin. You are
left with the feeling that they could play anything and the ease with which they
perform belies the hard work behind their act.
“The Brink” are well worth seeing or booking.