John Maytham talks to Katrina of Katrina and the Waves.

John Maytham's unofficial theme song is Walking on Sunshine by Kartina and the Waves. John has played the song since CapeTalk’s inception. It’s his feel good song, improving his spirits and that of his listeners. John got to return the favour by bringing some sunshine into none other than Katrina Leskanich’s life. After John’s warm welcome, Katrina exclaimed it was the most spectacular introduction she’d ever had!

Walking on Sunshine has been broadcast over two and half million times in the US alone. Katrina attributes its contagious following to the physicality it inspires. “It’s always been a song that’s difficult to dance to but even your dad can jump up and down to Walking on Sunshine without looking too foolish”.

Katrina reminisced about the first time she heard the song, “It was the early 80’s. We were rehearsing on a military base in England, Kimberly Rew rode his bicycle 30 kilometres to rehearsal, he was suffering from bronchitis but said, ‘I’ve just written this song,’ and proceeded to play it on his guitar”.

At the time Katrina didn't think much of it but four days later she still couldn't get it out of her head. Sunshine wasn't an overnight wonder, they’d play the song and remarkably the crowd would start to dissipate. Finally, after recording a few different versions Walking on Sunshine was recorded by Capital records. The producer put in a fancy drum introduction at the beginning and it worked!

It’s ironic that a song so positive has tragic and even political associations. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Katrina had 429 000 hits on her website. Then US presidential candidate Michelle Bachman used it as her campaign song. Katrina couldn't endorse her ‘strange’ policies so insisted Bachman stopped using it. Happier times include Dolly Parton’s cover version. “The song has a career of its own it’s really weird”, said Katrina.

With the success of Sunshine it’s easy to forget their other songs. In 1997 Katrina and the Waves had a massive Eurovision hit that broke all records with Love Shine a Light.

Katrina split from the waves in 2000 and now performs as a solo artist. Katrina from Katrina and The Waves will be performing in SA as part of the “Kia 80’s Rewind” concert.

Tickets are available from Computicket at a starting price of R420. Grandwest: 5 February.

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