Music Genre in Its Own Mould


By John Walenga WINDHOEK Born to Widow Emilia, Tate Buti (27) has risen to fame with his own type of music genre, Kwiku, whose rhythm has been borrowed across Southern Africa. A breed of fast Rhumba beats intertwined with local traditional music, Kwiku is entirely a Namibian product. Botswana’s Vee used the same genre on his highly popular Taku Taku and South African DJ Arthur Mafokate has also taken the same genre but none has found a name for it. “It’s because it’s not theirs,” points out Tate Buti. “Just like us keeping the names of their music styles like Kwaito and Rhumba. My sister Janice, Pedrito who is the producer and I are the fathers and mothers of Kwiku music,” Tate Buti boasts. But the cake goes to Omalaeti crew for having had faith in the new genre of music. Had it not been for their resolve, we would not be talking about Kwiku music today. He has made 12 music videos to date. Tate Buti, a comedian in his own right believes his second album after “Oshitenda” to be released in November will also go gold. However, this year copycat artists are bound to face a stiff challenge from Tate Buti, as will bill Oshitenda, Efenge and Ongundu in this year’s competition. “I am part of the original Kaimbis, Eagles that take all, the chicken and its chicks, and therefore never bow down to losing,” he says defiantly. Tate Buti thus saw their international career hampered but he has raised the flag, sharing the stage with Malaika, Mafikizolo, Mzekezeke, MDU and many more. He cries foul over the rise in piracy and maintains that if all logistics are not put in place, Namibia will soon be a harbour for music piracy. Tate Buti is inspired by his single mom and sister Janice, who agree that his biggest show ever was in LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz where more than 9 000 tickets were sold. Musically Tate Buti is inspired by Quarter Latin (Koffi Olomide?s band), especially the animator, which explains the Rhumba flare in his music. Asked what he thought of some of the artists enjoying airplay in the country, Tate Buti says, “Dogg is good, Gazza is clever. But at the end of the day they are both Kwaitos.” He admires Zola because “he sings, he doesn’t shout”. He was quick to point out that he does not see anyone as a threat as “I am not a Kwaito artist”. Various local groups and upcoming artists have joined the Kwiku trend and he was optimistic that it would only help raise the Namibian identity in music, for a country which has been scoffed as full of copycats and artificiality in the industry. Of all the “big names” in the industry he had a lot of respect for Gal Level as the duo “are the only artists who are not scared to share a stage with me”. “As a matter of fact Gal Level stage dress gives me energy. Look Tate Buti doesn’t need dancers to bring down the house. If you don’t believe me, come to Kwasa Kwasa on the 4th August. If I disappoint you on stage, I will not only refund you, I will perform for you for free on your next birthday. When I am with my people in Mbashus, it’s like a fish in the water,” he added philosophically. But What Does He Think Of Local Music? “As Tate Buti I am trying to kill street life and build up music life in our own Namibian sphere and understanding.” He was confident that other truly Namibian genres like Damara Panchi, Shambo and Oviritje will gain prominence in the hearts of the music starved Namibians. As far as he was concerned “there is nothing wrong with playing foreign music. But there is everything wrong with it if we try to rename genres like Kwaito simply because we sing on those beats in our vernaculars. A genre of music is defined by the way it sounds, which is called the beat not lyrical content,” he educates further. Legacy Tate Buti is not so much worried about the legacy of Kwiku Music. “It is not up to me. I am told that learners always end up achieving greater things in life than their teachers. So maybe it will take another Bob Marley to raise Kwiku to greater heights.”