Charmed by Botswana

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 16 December 2014   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
Charmed by Botswana

Botswana music, especially traditional music is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. The music has mesmerized the international audience with its unique lyrics and beats and wondrous dance but most importantly its originality.

Rhumba maestro, Khanda Bongo man has confessed that he too has been touched by the local traditional music. The Congolese music icon is so impressed and hooked to the music that he wants to do collaboration with one local traditional music group.

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According to Khanda he bumped into local  traditional music on You tube a few years back , watched a few  videos, which left him  hooked  and ever since,  his love for  traditional Tswana music has never stopped. “ The first group I watched was Culture Spears,  I could not understand the meaning of their songs but like any other African I loved their beats, and the rhythm,  I fell so much in love that I was reduced to a  mere  spectator,  the musician in me, took a breather and listened for a change” said Bongo.

Khanda Bongo Man said he is impressed by the originality in Tswana traditional music and will invest give it his all to see to it that it gains the international exposure that it deserves. “ I know good music when I hear it. As an international  musician I think it will really benefit  local artists if I collaborate with them because people familiar with me and my music  will watch them and they will definitely start asking about them,” he said.

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Since he has long wished to work with local artists, Khanda Bongo Man said he already instructed his local promoter to identify traditional musicians that he could possibly collaborate with, and if all goes according to plan, the single should be out before the end of this month.

He is in Botswana at the invitation of his local promoter, Gilbert Seagile to play alongside local kwasa kwasa artist, Vebroek, who will be launching her album in Maun and Francistown this weekend.

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This is not the Congolese legend’s first time in Botswana, he came first in 1991 and the second time was in 1995 when he performed with the late South African reggae muso, Lucky Dube to a fully packed stadium much to his liking. “It was like magic. The people didn’t understand my language but they responded well to the beats and sang along at times” he said.

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The pioneer of  a rhumba version called Soukous, which he revolutionised by encouraging guitar solos after every verse and even sometimes at the beginning of the song, now in his fifties , vows he still can dance, though not as fast as he was in his youthful days. He said  he will be coming back to Botswana next year in March for a countrywide tour.He became the singer for Orchestra Belle Mambo in 1973, developing a sound influenced by Tabu Ley. The musician is known for the structural changes he implemented to Soukous music. His form of Soukous gave birth to the kwasa kwassa dance rhythm where the hips move back and forth while the hands move to follow the hips.

His word to local upcoming musicians is that  they should treat music like any other person would treat their jobs and source of income, saying they should be professional at all times and give  their fans  value for their money.



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