With the appearance of Kinders van die wind in 1979, Laurika became a household name in South Africa overnight. Various albums and highlights followed. Her first album, Debuut, also appeared in 1979.
Laurika recalls that “It wasn’t always easy being a full time original artist in South Africa.” She remembers how she often had to try out new avenues step by step.
“The music industry was an unknown terrain and we didn’t know anything about things such as musical rights and royalties. It was often a difficult learning experience.” Groep 2 and Sonja Herholdt were naturally the forerunners who paved the way and at that stage they were the only singers on the scene who performed similar music.
Together with compilation albums, Laurika has released about 23 albums. Some of the highlights are discussed below. (For the complete list, see Albums.)
“Debuut”(1979), “ ’n Jaar in my lewe” (1980), “Vir Jou” (1981), “jy is te dierbaar” (1983) “Laurika op versoek” (1985) and “Encore! Laurika” (1988)
These vinyl albums provided some of Laurika’s greatest hits. Anton Goosen still provided many of the compositions on “Debuut”, and “’n Jaar in my lewe”with songs such as Neanderdalman and Vergeet om my te vergeet/onthou om te onthou. Kupido, who would later achieve fame as a country singer, provided Jy is te dierbaar and Lied van die natuur on the 1983 album “Jy is te dierbaar”. With “Encore!Laurika” Chris Torr emerged on the scene as a songwriter with tracks such as Miekie and Die ballade van Jakob F de Beer. It was actually Op Blouberg se strand – his translation of the Udo Jürgens song – that was particularly popular with the public.
Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux (1990), Die gang (1992) and afterwards
Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux lies close to Laurika’s heart particularly because it was in more than one way a path breaker. “It was her first Afrikaans album to reach platinum status, and it was the first Afrikaans album to appear in South Africa as a CD.”
A group of businessmen from Bronkhorstspruit made it possible for Laurika to launch the album as a CD at a time in which CD technology was relatively unknown and expensive. Chris Torr provided the title track about the legendary rugby player Mannetjies Roux.
Die gang was a type of watershed in that it was the first album that Laurika brought out in the name of her own record company, Laurika Rauch Productions.
The gripping title track of the Hot Gates album of 1995 was also one of Chris’s compositions. It remains one of Laurika’s greatest hits, and even today is often requested as an encore. She received a SAMA for this album.
With The Brel Album (1997) Laurika returned to the greatest hits of Jacques Brel.
Although there have been other successful greatest hits compilations, her 19 Treffers van 21 jaar (1999) could look back on a career of 20 years. This compilation has obtained double platinum status with sales of around 120 000+ and remains a good seller.
Gian Groen provided the title track of Vier Seisoene Kind (2002) and it remains one of her most popular songs.
My ou tante Koba (2004) was nominated for a SAMA. On her latest album Tweeduisend-en-tien! (2010), she performs a duet with Kurt Darren (Slang in die gras) and the Robbie Wessels song Skouspel 2010, about a baboon that creates chaos in a hotel room, provides comic relief with the aid of baboon sounds provided by the musician Leon Ecroignard.
Her first and only full-length DVD of a performance, with Deon de Bruyn as director and Louis Brittz as musical director, appeared in 2006. The title is LAURIKA RAUCH: Grootste treffers LIVE.
Career highlights and awards
(For a complete list see her extended biography – presently only available in Afrikaans.)
Laurika admits that it is difficult to isolate career highlights as there have been so many!
After she received a Sarie award in 1980 as most promising singer, many followed. She was, for example, the first recipient of a medal of honour awarded by the South African Academy for Arts and Science for her contribution to light Afrikaans music in 1997. In 2006 Huisgenoot crowned her with a lifetime achievement award.
Van Berlyn tot Bapsfontein, with Jannie du Toit in 1988, was another high point for her. “I single out the Huisgenoot Skouspel, which began in 2000, for the elegant way it annually presents Afrikaans music in a large concert and thereby enhances the careers of singers,” she says. She took part in this event in 2000 for the first time, with further performances in 2001 -2003, 2006 -2009. She was also involved in the Huisgenoot’s Kaapse Jol in 2007, and Skouspel Plus in 2009 and 2010. There were various overseas performances, amongst them a concert tour to Belgium in 1985 (a documentary for television was also made during this tour), performances in the Netherlands in 1993 and 1994, three performances in London (2002 - 2004) at the Ukkasie festival, two performances in Prague (1997 and 1998) and a performance in Antwerp in 2006.
She singles out the production of Samekoms/Kopano with Vusi Mahlasela in 1998/99 as a highlight. Laurika was producer and singer and Deon Opperman the director. In 2011 her husband, Christopher Torr, completed the musical theatre piece, Stuur groete aan Mannetjies Roux, and four extremely successful runs at the Atterbury Theatre in Pretoria, the Artscape in the Cape, Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg and the Sand du Plessis theatre in Bloemfontein, were completed at the end of July 2011. Virtually every show was completely sold out. Her most popular songs were used in the production, but Laurika also sang and acted in the show. The musical, with a cast of 12 actor/singers, surpassed all expectations – artistically and at the box office.
Laurika remains in demand with her public and performs regularly in combined and solo appearances. She plans to release her next album in 2012.