Competition Winner to Take Stage by Storm

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK The Warehouse Theatre comes to life tonight and tomorrow night (July 26). The main attraction is none other than the NBC/Sanlam Namibia Music Makers 2001 winner, Erich Mahua. The two nights promise a journey down memory lane to the time when Erich was catapulted onto the Namibian music scene with favourite songs like Panga Randje, Lord is My Shadow, Malibongwe, Ouje Mbui, Tjevere ‘hinga, Oritjatono, Okavare, Mozongombe za Mbiriro ‘Mitanda, Mbasuvero ‘Vandu, Nanguaro ‘uamama, and Onguaje Tjerio ‘ve. Revellers and fans are also to have a rare treat sample his upcoming album. There is no way Erich cannot be counted as one of the greatest vocal artists Namibia has created, especially given his family history. His father’s brother Theodor Mahua was a choir conductor, was a teacher and an elder of the Lutheran Church, he was a composer and a leading singer of insurmountable artistry. Yes, he taught and conducted choirs wherever he went.ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚  Way back in the seventies, as a retired teacher, he assisted Bishop Diehl with the translations of the New Testament to Otjiherero. This was done in Okahandja. Theodor Mahua was a finely dressed, tall and slender person who also appeared on Post Cards. Erich Mahua’s father, Hikuepi Mahua was an integral part of that great choir thus there was no chance that Erich, his father, and Lutheran as they are, would not impress listeners with their sweet voices, variant pitches and melodic harmonies emitting from their vocal chords. There were teachers, preachers and singers in that bloodline, and what a blessing it is for Erich. His grandfather was Pastor Hosea Mahua – the list goes on. Erich went on listening to music and making some with his peers at schools and neighbourhood. Such a great singer as he is, he cannot miss the opportunity to be inspired by the great vocalists, the likes of Lucky Dube, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Lionel Ritchie, Manhattans, Teddy Pendergrass, Dobbie Gray and Michael Bolton. These are great vocalists Mother Earth produced. Erich listened to them attentively and that made him try that out. Erich grew up singing at Otjiperongo Primary School and became part of a choir, ended up with Soli Deo Gloria as a major step in his life. That opened doors, encouragement from choir members and built confidence. That helped and the truth is, choirs are – check around – useful and great vocalists come from there; Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, our local Auala and continue that on your own. Erich was aided by mini-school concerts and vocal exhibitions he held with others after he made his own reggae beats that he saw growing all the time, all that in the 1990s and 2001 saw a huge Erich Mahua. He entered the “Music Makers Competition 2001”, won it hands down with his all-time favourite Tjevereje ‘hinga and thanks to Soli Deo Gloria for words of encouragement. He did not stop there. He got on board with the then NBC music director, “Dr” Willie Virimuje Mbuende joining SIDADI (it’s ours) with great brave voices of Patricia Oxurus and Ermelinda Tataone. After winning and joining SIDADI, he worked hard with highly-trained personnel like Gerson Doeseb, Pape Dieye, a percussionist and Sakari on drums who made it possible for Erich and others to flourish. Erich made it to Botswana, Swaziland and few towns in South Africa, like Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, all with SIDADI, with Mbuende leading the group sponsored by the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC), National Theatre of Namibia. He thereafter took to Katutura – Soweto Market to be precise – in the first-ever Orchestra performances, a project that worked very well. Erich has two albums to his name to date. He is currently finalising his third album. He does a mÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚©lange of music. His voice and his skill allow that. There is plain disco in this compositions, he touches on soul music, has ability to medley with mbaqanga and also has time to raffle feathers with reggae music as a singer. Agree with me please, he is able to do all sorts of vocal arrangements per choice but he prefers to gamble with what is mentioned above. Tickets are available at Kahepa Car Wash at Herero Mall, Universal Sounds in Post Street Mall and Maerua Mall Biltong store for N$35 in advance and N$40 at the door.