Here, at last!

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 21 June 2016   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Brenda Taukobong Brenda Taukobong

After 27 years in music veteran songstress Brenda Taukobong has released her first album – a 19 track offering that is set to elevate her to a whole new level.  ONTAMETSE SUGAR reports.

One of Botswana’s finest women musicians Brenda Taukobong boosts of great versatility.  She is one of the few artists that can actually sing anything that is put before them. After 27 years in music Brenda Taukobong has now released a double CD titled Kajalo. She is known for her strong vocals and emotional tracks, with great control and power to hold notes effortlessly.

How she started
She refers to her music as contemporary. Taukobong started music in the 1980s and acknowledges the great support of her family in becoming the artist that she is now. She grew up listening to music all the time from his father, and that is how she knew that music should mature. “I love my music. I cannot imagine doing anything else even though I also did marketing and public relations,” she says. It is important for artists to be educated because there is no how they can be successful in the business aspect of music if they are not educated, she insists.
Having grown up in South Africa, she can sing in Xhosa and Zulu very fluently. When she was growing up she used to sing in hotels.  Musicians used to be taken lightly due to the way they handled themselves, but overtime things changed. “As musicians we always have to prove ourselves all the time because there are always question marks,” she says. She appreciates that music in Botswana is growing with borders also having opened for them.

Her CD
She released a double CD because that is something that she has been cooking for 27 years, with four producers from both South Arica and Botswana working on the album. In one of the ballads in the album called ‘Selfish’ – a mix of old school and contemporary – she worked with Monde Kama from South Africa. Her mother always wondered if she was indeed going to release the song because of the lyrics. Taukobong says the song was inspired by the events that happened in her life but something positive came out of it. She says she always says to other artists “try and write the right lyrics”. According to Taukobong, if someone wants to send out a message she should stop being lazy but sit down and refine their craft. She says after so many years of singing, she got her first album after 27 years, because she wanted things that mature like wine and whiskey.

She oozes contentment about the amazing quality of the 19 tracks in the CD. It is special to her because all the songs have a story behind them. The album caters for a young little girl playing a skipping rope; an old woman in a rural village somewhere; someone in their lounge drinking wine; and even a laid back person. Even for one getting married, there is a song for her. She calls the CD a mix bag because it has a little bit of everything.  She features many local musicians from Shugie Fisher, Jezreel Ramotshabi, and Thabiso Motsopa to Masego Woki.  She has made two collaborations with his son featuring in one of the songs. The album is evidence that music is a journey and that it can only be as real if given love and time. 

Having played each and every song for more than 20 times each, Taukobong still does not have any favourite song in the album, be it Melody, Morning Light, Mmamosetsana, Sebokolodi or Love of My Life. It depends on the mood on that day as for which one will be her song. She wants the listeners to be inspired and choose whatever song they want to listen to. She is one person who believes fully in the use of a live band; because she believes the band brings the best in someone. 

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Pay artists well
She advises promoters to pay artists well so that they can also perform up to standard. “You either do that or don’t bother, because the price of a Mercedes Benz can never be the same price as that of a Corolla, and doing music the right way is expensive so people have got to pay. It is not about your budget but what I am worth,” she says. She insists that people should respect their products and pay them what is worth. To parents who have children that want to be artists, she says they should seek help from them in the industry so that they can advise their children accordingly and give them the necessary support.