By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
Bringing Windhoek’s entertainment-cum-clubhouses down is how one could aptly describe the new but old musical piece, Sigera.
The piece is only new as a group but old in that some of its members are veteran musicians who not only left a mark on the musical scene of this country in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but provided a necessary means of entertainment for the black populace of this country during the years of deprivation when entertainment houses in the City were no-go zones to blacks because of the Apartheid policies which were equally applicable in Namibia, then known as South West Africa.
Recently, among other places to have been privileged, the group had a date with the Young Ones Clubhouse in Khomasdal. It may not have been a full house, but neither was the turnout a disappointment – not for a group that it is just appearing on the scene and has yet to market itself properly. From the enthusiasm of the revellers who turned up on this particular evening at the Young Ones Clubhouse, there was no mistaking that Sigera is here to stay.
Not only that, but the Namibian musical scene shall never be the same. A Star has been added to the array of bands and musical genres that the country has been endowed with.
The evening lived up to a Big Party that those who would not miss the occasion expected, or would have expected. There was hardly a tune that could not lure revellers to the dance floor. Sigera proved a visit down memory lane for those tender enough in the 1970s and 1980s, while for those not around then and who were not privy to the good sounds of the time, it provided a window to peep into those times.
Not only that, but also playing cover versions of popular songs of those times the group is not only geared towards the older generation but to cut across all ages as much as their music cuts across all genres. Talk about reggae, fusion, pop, jazz, ballroom and rhythm and blues, these genres all come easily to Sigera. Whatever renditions of the genres they tuned into is done with distinction, making them masters in cover versions.
Distinguishing the group in the league of their own is, amongst others, the ease with which the leading vocalists Tito Camm and Antoinette Janga weave through cover versions in the various genres, a feat that could easily turn the original singers of the songs green with envy. Camm needs little introduction to either generation of music lovers. He hails from the olden days when bands such as Baronages ruled the local musical roost standing their own ground against outfits from our Southern neigbour, South Africa, such as Richard Jon Smith, Jonathan Butler and Percy Vena of Flamingo fame.
In recent post-independence memory, Camm has come to be associated with the Weekend Band. Relatively new on the scene, no doubt Janga is destined for greater things.
One would never have thought Namibia would soon produce a jazz vocalist in the mould of such home brews as Sharon van Rooi. Here comes Janga. Not only as a jazz vocalist but a versatile one to whom every genre she touches is a unique thrill and experience. In the company of the likes of Camm, backed by the talented line-up of Sigera it is not long before Janga and Sigera would be stirring the musical hornet’s nest.
This is not all as Carlos Kambaekwa on lead guitar and Blaar Camm on bass enter. Hailing from one of Namibia’s unofficial schools of music like the famous Baronages says it all.
The talents of the group know no bounds with yet another of Namibia’s all-time musical greats in the person of Jomo Haoseb proudly assuming position with the group on drums. If you wish to know the quintessential musician that Jomo is, just recall the Ugly Creatures.
The act would not be complete without the unassuming Toni Janga on Saxophone establishing the group master jazzist of own kind. I listened to Toni horning favourites of such jazz artists like Kenny-G. The result was a reincarnation of Kenny-G right in the heart of Khomasdal. Ever heard of Namibia’s own jazz greats like Warmgat, Karretjie, Kauva, Boesman? If not, go and listen to Tito and you would know who they were. I haven’t forgotten Valdo Skrywer on keyboard. As they say, save the best for last.
I have given you my impression of Sigera. It is now up to you to go and judge for yourself. I am absolutely sure you will never be disappointed.
The band is available for private parties, weddings and gigs.