A Musical Memory Lane

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK If the name Bee-bob means anything to you, or struck any familiar chord with you, then the place to be tonight is Windhoek’s leading non-conformist musical rendezvous, the Warehouse Theatre. In a rare rekindling of the memories of the music scene of the 1950s and 1960s, Old Location surviving music legends of those eras promise to rekindle memories of the beer hall musical period in a collaboration reviving outfits like Bee-bop, Dakota Masters and Ndilimani (Explosives). Behind the initiative coming 20 years after the trio first met in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, is Dr Corry McChris (showbiz name), founder of Ndilimani (then Explosives), Muller Kazandu Kauraratjo of Slade fame (the Namibian version of the Dutch outfit) in his early formative years in Namibia as a teenage musician and Emmanuel Jagari Chanda, a music teacher and a protÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚©gÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© of the Zambian musical piece ‘We Intend to Cause Havoc (Witch)’. After the initial chance encounter 20 years ago in Lusaka, this time around they say they have been brought together once again by what they refer to as a spiritual musical telepathy and instinct and a sense of mission. The trio would be incomplete as a musical family with their sight on bigger things without Old Location legends like Baby Tjirimuje of Bee-bob, among the many outfits he featured with throughout his trying but expiating musical life, and veteran and master Saxophonist, Frederick Karetjie, of Dakota Masters. Emulating the name of Chanda’s erstwhile musical group, Witch, figuratively Tuahupa is hell bent on causing musical havoc on the Namibian musical scene. This they plan to do in two ways, by educating and entertaining. Hence they see themselves as edutainors. Being survivors of an oppressive colonial era, they think their music needs to instil some consciousness among modern day youth about the not too distant unpalatable past. As they say you can only build your future on your past. Nothing political about that but more about societal consciousness. And the musicality of their music provides for entertainment more than anything. Besides for educating and entertaining, Tuahupa wants to repair and revive the Namibian musical scene. The 1950s and 1960s was a musically vibrant period in Namibia. But colonialism had its effect. And that is part of their mission to restore that vibrancy. One way in which they wish to do this is to open a music academy. The other way is to bridge the gap between the vibrant and lost eras with their music. Taking a leaf or two from such a great African piece like Osibisa, composed of Nigerian and Ghanaian musicians, Tuahupa members do not want to be pigeonholed in a single musical genre. Neither do they want to be caged into national boundaries. Their emphasis is on African ethnic music with all its various origins, vestiges, influences and trends like jazz, blues, folklore and rock. Ultimately a CD would be on offer. But for now first thing comes first. And this party like nothing at the Warehouse tonight. This being their first real live appearance, they do not promise anything out of this world but the best of their best. Having been privy to their practising session on Sunday, I found myself taken away by their foot-stamping toe-tapping sounds. Simply put Tuahupa is what the Windhoek music scene has been missing. I am sure those of you who have been longing for scenes of the sweet Old Location and its attendant 5O-service club, the time has arrived. And for you and me who may only have faint memories of that time, Tuahupa offers a perfect window into that period. Go and get your tickets at the National Theater of Namibia box office for N$30-00 to avoid a musical disappointment of a lifetime. The doors open at 20H00 and the show starts at 21H00. Tickets available at the door.