Windhoek Jazz Festival ‘a cultural feast’ …local musicians bring the house down

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Jeremiah Ndjoze

Windhoek-A real cultural feast is how one can describe the Windhoek Jazz Festival to which all those who found themselves in the city were treated to last Saturday.

The city celebrated its musical heritage with a mix of Afro jazz, deep acid jazz, funky jazz beats, a fusion of Afro soul with a twist of jazz, and some naturally smooth jazzy vibes. As soon as the gates opened, at about 15h00, revellers of all ages and from all walks of life were seen gushing through the gates of the Independence Stadium with their camping chairs. South African headliners, Ringo Madlingozi – who did not cease to amaze, and the band Mi Casa, which had the audiences on their feet – and local musicians seemingly came to the party with one thing in common, to seize and take charge of a captive, jazz-starved audience.

Opening the show, William Peterson serenaded the crowd with timeless covers while leaving his own distinctive imprint in the hearts of many, by applying his own attitude and style to the works of the greats. Taking to the stage after the veteran, jazz outfit Mayor 7 did not disappoint with their delivery of an eclectic assortment of musical goods that bounced freely from being funky grooves to laid-back tunes, complete with melodic guitars. This gang ensured an easy listening experience that blended elements of jazz and soul. Now, it goes without saying that there is no sweeter instrument or one that is as emotive as a saxophone. And in Windhoek there is yet to emerge a more moving and sensual maestro on a sax, than Suzy Eises. Her performance, like all her previous performances was magical.

Lize Ehlers tore through her music with her arsenal of theatrics and unique vocals in a performance that had the crowd on the edge of their sits, and Big Ben was well Big Ben. The unifying, cross-cultural muso took to the social media walls at a later stage expressing his gratitude to the masses for their support of particularly the local artists. “Seeing Namibians rising and cheering for Erna Chimu, Major 7, William Peterson, Suzy Eises and Lize-Leandra Ann Ehlers is notable,” Big Ben maintains.

Yet another Namibian musician who delivered a melodic listening experience from beginning to end was the legendary Erna Chimu.

“Wow…I know it wasn’t my best vocal performance as I woke up with my voice gone [but] I did well. I’ve received text messages and calls from people I am scared to mention thanking me for a great show. I even had Ringo asking me for a collaboration right after I got off stage,” was Chimu’s reaction. In her own words, the music did much of the talking that night. The award winning musician thanked the event’s organisers for a ‘great platform.’ She however calls on the organisers to ease the burden on themselves by hiring professional event’s organisers for assistance.
“There were a lot of tiny frustrating things in the back. Like, we couldn’t go to certain areas as artists.
Imagine I had people coming all the way from a radio station in Johannesburg to come see me live and I couldn’t go to them on time,” Chimu says conceding the organisers eventually let her through. She further appeals to the organisers to get the services of artists from other countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe for future events.
Brand Activation Specialist, Amor Basson has no discontent with the event as far as the music line-up was concerned describing it as a ‘great variety in a perfect atmosphere.’ His only misgivings being the offerings at the bar.
“NBL was the main sponsor so we were forced to drink Windhoek lager while not everyone drinks beer. It would be nice if the City of Windhoek can get other sponsors. A lot of woman, for example, drink wine or ciders,” Basson says.

Veteran Audio-Visual producer, Patrick Mettler, sings praises for the local musicians, “especially the living legend Oom William J. Petersen.” Even the chief critic of the Windhoek Jazz Festival, Namibian jazz pundit and deejay, Dr Kagiso Moloi has something good to say about the locals and their performances. “It was so overwhelming yesterday to see our local artists performing so excellently,” Moloi maintains.

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