Beat logo

Little Sister

The Sweethearts of South Africa: Debbi Lonmon & Jenni Lonmon

By Rick Henry Christopher Published 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 7 min read
Top Story - January 2024
24

I am a huge fan of the South African duo which consists of sisters Jenni Lonmon and Debbi Lonmon. Of course, I'm biased as Jenni took care of my mom for six months and bonded with her, and became best friends with her, and has been the source of much laughter and great times for me.

Biography

Little Sister is one of South Africa's hottest, most exciting, and professional acts ever to emerge on the pop/rock scene. The two sisters from Pretoria take their craft serious and it is easily heard in their music. They have a polished acoustic show, presenting a special blend of their original and cover version songs.

Over the years Debbi (brunette born 15th August) and Jenni (blonde born 8th October) Lonmon have absorbed many musical influences to form the unique Little Sister sound – acoustic folk, blues, pop, and hard-edged rock 'n' roll. They have put together an exciting harmonious performance featuring both girls on acoustic guitar and vocals.

Winners of numerous Music Awards (including Best New Artists and Best Rock Artists), they have toured all corners of South Africa and bordering countries. They've appeared on numerous TV shows and specials, and have been the support artist for various huge international acts, among them Bryan Adams, Wynona Judd, Indecent Obsession, and UB40.

The duo was invited to perform at the 1994 inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. Little Sister has 5 albums to their credit with many original No. 1 national hits including 'Dear Abbie,' 'Peace on Earth,' 'Mystery of Life,' and 'Love is a Weapon.' In 1993 the girls traveled to the Far East to promote the album release of 'Along The Way.'

Debbi and Jenni successfully performed their highly entertaining "unplugged" show entitled "In Acoustic Mood" at the 1997 Grahamstown Festival.

Timeline

1960's & 70's

Two sisters - Debbi and Jenni Lonmon - grew up in Pretoria. They absorb various musical influences, specifically Acoustic Folk, Blues, and Rock 'n' Roll.

1980

Debbi plays lead guitar in an all-girl rock band in Durban called "Pantha" including among its members, Penelope Jane Dunlop, who later became famous as PJ Powers.

Pantha was formed in 1979 and had a fairly good run but being an all-girl group in the shadow of Clout, Pantha never managed to secure a record deal. P.J. Powers was the lead singer then known as Penelope Jane Dunlop.

1985

Debbi plays bass in another all-girl band named "Chix".

1987

Debbi and Jenni join up with a guitarist, Etienne Pieterson, and call themselves "On Account." Tour pub circuit extensively. Jenni handles lead vocals and percussion. Debbi is a bass guitarist.

1989

Little Sister was formed by Debbi and Jenni in Pretoria. Intensive live gigging and touring established them as a top local Pop group.

1990

Little Sister secures a "major" recording contract, their debut album 'Ready & Willing' is released. The band received 2 OKTV Awards and achieved a national #1 hit with 'Dear Abbie.' Continual national touring and TV work exposes the band to a national audience.

1991

Band releases second album 'More Than Meets The Eye.' Smash hit 'Peace on Earth' becomes their second national #1 hit. More touring and live work ensures a solid fan base nationwide and high profile.

1993

Little Sister released their third album 'Along The Way', recorded at Bop Studios. The album co-produced by top Los Angeles producer Michael Flicker (Heart) and South African Dennis East. Two national #1 hits from the album 'Mystery of Life' and 'Love Is A Weapon.' Along The Way was also released in the Far East and the band did a regional promo tour. Live work continues - band support slots for Indecent Obsession, UB40 & Bryan Adams.

1994

The band remains at the forefront of the SA music scene with constant live appearances and extensive charity (AIDS awareness) and anti-piracy work done, the band maintains their profile. Highlight is their performance at President Nelson Mandela's inauguration.

1995

Little Sister signed a new recording deal with BMG Records Africa. The new album 'Heart Of The Matter' is recorded, and produced by Dennis East.

March 1996

'Heart Of The Matter' was released on Colossal Records.

1997

Debbi and Jenni successfully performed their highly entertaining "unplugged" show entitled "In Acoustic Mood" at the Grahamstown Festival.

March 1999

A retrospective compilation 'While No One Was Looking' is released and includes 3 new tracks.

2001

Gigging around the USA. Jenni and Debbi ended up living in South Carolina, but their stay was cut short when the horrific events of 9/11 persuaded them that there was probably no place like home, they went back to South Africa.

2016

The EP What If is released with four new tracks on it.

2018

Jenni moves back to the United States to sunny Southern California. Debbi stays in South Africa.

2022

These days they’re also actively involved in raising funds and supporting campaigns for breast health awareness.

2023

The girls begin work on their fifth solo album but progress is cut short due to an unstable power grid in South Africa with several blackouts happening through the year. The album is put on hold indefinitely while Debbi helps care for their aging mother. Jenni becomes a citizen of the United States on December 5, 2023.

The following is a list of the Top Ten Little Sister songs I played the most in 2023, with their respective writers, producers, and a brief description.

10. Young Hearts (1990)

Written by: Ron (Bones) Brettell, Bernie Millar, Sandy Robbie, Debbi and Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Ron (Bones) Brettell, Bernie Millar, and Sandy Robbie

This song features nice guitar parts and a catchy melody.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

9. Mystery of Life (1993)

Written by: Debbie Lonmon, Jenni Lonmon, Lionel Bastos

Produced by: Mike Flicker

“Mystery of Life” is a soothing song, both in its sound and its meaningful lyrics. The blended vocals are outstanding.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

8. Now or Never (1991)

Written by: Debbi Lonmon and Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Cedric Gradus Samson

This is a great folksy tune with excellent harmony vocals by the sisters.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

7. Lucky Charm (2016)

Written by: Debbi Lonmon and Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Mark Beling

This happy-go-lucky sunshine pop tune features an appealing retro 80s synth sound that would be welcome in any dance club. Jenni's vocal ability is at its best.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

6. Something Happened To Us Along the Way (1993)

Written by: Bo Watson and G. Worth

Produced by: Mike Flicker

This memorable hooky tune was co-written by Bo Watson, the keyboardist and one of the vocalists with the electro-funk disco band Midnight Star.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

5. My Kind of Bite (2016)

Written by: Debbi Lonmon an Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Mike Beling

Jenni gives us a soulful bluesy vocal performance on this mellow pop tune with clever lyrics. Debbi and Jenni composed the musical arrangement for the song. Guest musician Jolanda Becker played some of the keyboard parts on the song.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

4. People are People (1991)

Written by: David Williams and Andrew Williams

Produced by: Cedric Gradus Samson

“People Are People” showcases Jenni Lonmon's soulful vocal performance backed by some great guitar riffs. Cedric Samson produced this song and other South African musicians such as Wendy Oldfield and Bright Blue, as well as putting together compilations of South African luminaries Johnny Clegg and Mariam Makeba. The song was originally recorded in 1991 by the American vocal group The Williams Brothers, whose nephews, Andrew and David Williams, head up the second generation of The Williams and have charted on Billboard's Hot 100 twice.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

3. Never Know a Good Thing ‘’Til It's Gone (1993)

Written by: Debbi Lonmon, Jenni Lonmon, Marc Bentel

Produced by: Mike Flicker and Dennis East

Songwriter Marc Bentel has co-written about a half dozen Little Sister songs including “Love is a Weapon” and “Baby Don't You Know.” American producer Mike Flicker has produced such great artists as Poco, Al Stewart, Randy Meisner, and Heart.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

2. Dear Abbie (1990)

Written by: Ron (Bones) Brettell, Bernie Millar, Sandy Robbie, Debbi and Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Ron (Bones) Brettell, Bernie Millar, and Sandy Robbie

The song about teen pregnancy, “Dear Abbie,” is Little Sister's biggest hit, having reached #1 for three weeks on South Africa's Radio One chart.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

1. Peace on Earth (1991)

Written by: Debbi and Jenni Lonmon

Produced by: Cedric Gradus Samson

“Peace on Earth” is one of Little Sister's most inspirational songs with poignant lyrics such as, “Look around you. It would astound you. See how destructive we've become.” This song was one of five #1 hits in South Africa by Little Sister.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Thank you for reading my friends. If you wish to join the Little Sister Fan Club on Facebook you may do so here:

Jenni Lonmon with my mom (December 2022). Jenni and I have maintained an ongoing friendship.

With Love, RHC ❤️

pop culturesong reviewssocial mediarockpoplisthistoryfeaturebandsalt rockalternative90s music
24

About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction for me. It takes me to places unknown that fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and a soothing of the breaks and bruises of the day.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/vocalplusassist

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (14)

Sign in to comment
  • Naveed 2 months ago

    Bravo for your work! Keep it going—congrats!

  • Thank you Rick for this special mention! You write really well and I hope to meet you one fine day. Thank you to all the people who have left comments, very special in deed! Hopefully we can come up with a new EP this year !

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Fab article. Definitely will be listening to them now and in the future!

  • The first two songs listed above didn't really send me except for back to an 80s vibe. But from there on out--I'm sold, both on the music & the message. How incredible to have developed a friendship with them as well after she took care of your mother.

  • Chloe Gilholy2 months ago

    They sound like a brilliant band.

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    I will def give them a listen. Never heard of them before, they sound great.

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    You really know how to capture a reader's attention. Well done!

  • After a quick listen via Apple Music... I discovered that I actually know and like"Peace on Earth"!! I think my other favourites are: *Now or Never (1991) * People are People I also stumbled across "Sisters of Rock"... a new rock song added to my playlist! Thanks again Rick!

  • I love how most of these songs were written by Debbi and Jenni. I enjoyed learning more about them and their songs!

  • Tiffany Gordon 2 months ago

    Thanks for the Little Sister introduction. That is so cool that Jenni was momma's Caregiver and that their bond is so great. Excellent job as usual Cousin!

  • Daphsam2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing. I have never heard of them. They have a beautiful voices and sound.

  • Fascinating read, especially since you know them first hand... I'll have to check them on a device that has sound... this silly one doesn't!

  • Tom Baker2 months ago

    This is slightly ironic, as I was just writing about the history of concentration camps beginning in the Anglo-Boer War of 1898-1902, in S. Africa, and also the "Day of the Vow," the prophecies of Siener Van Rensburg, etc. I have been drawn to South Africa (for reasons I suspect most would laugh at) ever since seeing the image of the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. I knew I had been there before. Incidentally, my faavorite South African singer is Bok Van Blerk, who sang "De la Rey" and "Afrikanerheart." Best to you!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Awesome!!! Loved reading more about Little Sister!!!❤️❤️💕

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.