By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK Normally one sees or hears little about them, although their sounds and the instruments they play are the centre of this music genre, Oviritje. This, of course, was minus the main acts, the singers. I am talking about keyboardists in this genre. Names like Peterson, who popularly hails as Oom Zulu, and Flamingo may be household names in this music genre but not to the same extent as this genre’s vocalists like Dr Kareke, Meisie, Kakazona, to name but a few among this genre’s pioneers. However, Rising Voice Productions, this genre’s promoting company, decided last weekend that it’s time these artists emerged from the shadows of their counterparts and assumed centre stage. The venue was the Namibian music Mecca, the Warehouse. Ascending the stage in turns, Peterson and Flamingo showed that for long they have been fronting these instruments. In the company of only their keyboards, they brought the Warehouse roof down, showing why this music genre owes its popularity, to a certain degree, to their artistry. The event was broadcast live by the NBC Otjiherero Language Service with popular NBC Dee-Jay, Max Tjiundje, in charge of interviewing-profiling the keyboardists. Callers and revellers spoke on the night, and Petersen was crowned the night’s keyboardist on Friday. I had my own verdict, of course, which was that any one of them was a league on his own. As much as they were an act unto themselves, Petersen and Flamingo also set the scene for an explosive performance by young, up-and-coming outfit in the Oviritje genre, Katja. The party was now in full swing, with Peterson and Flamingo leading the crowd on the dance floor. Flamingo says listeners and fans could not have been wrong on Friday. It could not have been otherwise with him having been through the school of Petersen. Flamingo’s love for the keyboard has been running for close to five years. This period saw him graduate from merely moonlighting with the Soli Deo Gloria Choir in the last throes of his school life to his first buy of a keyboard, a “Chinese” one-time-play-and-throw-away. The next step was buying a real keyboard in 2001. This opened the door to the world of such Oviritje greats like Minora. Today, besides jamming, collaborating and guest-appearing with Minora, Meisie, Pouwa, the Kamuhanga Sisters, and a host of other acts, Flamingo has four solo CDs to his credit. Although the industry has been slow in waking up to the Oviritje genre, surely it is opening up. True to its name, this was a bash of a kind. Pity I could not continue with the second edition on Saturday when Katja was to share the stage with Mutuarari. I am sure this is only the beginning of this promotion campaign by Rising Voice Productions with the necessary backing of such benefactors as Pupkewitz GWM, Gift Supermarket, BJ Motor Spares, Bank Windhoek, Chelsea Fashions, Medi Pill Pharmacy and Cons Karamata.
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