Just as the local music industry was coming to terms with the shock passing of Ugly Creatures adorable front man, Nicodemus #Dantagao Nicro !Hoadeb, another tragedy has befallen the Namibian music fraternity again.
Former Orlando Pirates Football Club flamboyant defender August #Hoadeb Gaoseb, has exited the game of life after losing a marathon battle with chronic diabetes.
#Hoadeb, as the hippy-dressed -alike Katutura socialite was affectionately known amongst his vast circle of buddies, was founder member of the now defunct Katutura pop band, Gypsies in the mid seventies.
The immaculately dressed departed brother, known for his traditional bell bottoms was amongst a sizable number of musicians doubling as footballers following in the footsteps of the following multi talented musos.
Leading Mbaqanga guitarist Killer Kamperipa, Kleintjie and Otto Gaseb, Jayz Mbakera, Kosie Springbok, Dave Webster, Digub, Brazzo Gomusab, Bobby Ihlein, Japhta Naobeb, Pottie Mbarandongo, Jomo Haoseb, Tommy Kaimbi, Nicky-Boy Mokomelo, Tara Shimbulu, Marcellus Witbeen, Claude Fernandez and many others.
Carlos “CK” Kambaekwa
WINDHOEK – Without a shadow doubt, the now defunct Gypsies band from Namibia’s largest residential area Katutura, might have lived in the shadow of their more illustrious counterparts, Ugly Creatures and Baronages, but the six piece pop ensemble surely left their mark in the annals of domestic live music performance.
The band came into life in the early seventies (70’s) at the time when live music entertainment was in heavy demand.
Visiting South African bands such as Flamingoes, Tulips, Muddy Bridge (Bayete) Free Ride, Rockets, Bloodshed, Jacky, Prumes, Richard-Jon Smith, Flames, Poppets, Invaders, Lionel Peterson, Helicopter, and many others inspired local musicians to hit the stage.
Under the stewardship of lead guitarist, Oscar Gariseb, the Gypsies band gutted the musical scene like a fire would gut a house, as the local music scene was undergoing a facelift with the traditional Mbaqanga music slowly and surely giving way for the new genre of rock, pop, soul and funky music.
With the streetwise gravel voice of Axoty “Twice” //Ouseb, on lead vocals – the new kid on the block, captured the imagination of local music revelers.
Twice’s popularity was enhanced by the mature fashion in which he blurred out the lyrics of the then hit song, Sylvia’s Mother by Dr Hook and the Medicine Show.
The dreadlocked Gypsies front man was also very much at home with cover versions by the Bachman Turner Overdraft (BTO), Grand Funk, Hot Chocolate and Deep Purple.
Gypsies lineup was made up of Oscar Gariseb (lead guitar), Snakes Engelbrecht (drums), Otto Gawaxab (bass), August !Hoadeb Gaoseb, Oortjies Cloete (keyboards) and Axotib //Ouseb (lead vocals).
The untimely passing of the Tarzan-resembling muscular drummer, Snake Engelbrecht, necessitated a major change in the playing personnel – leading to the unavoidable arrival of seasoned drummer and soul singer Immanuel-“Baby” Tjirimuje. Bro Babes joined the band at same time as novice vocalist Sledge Kanime while afro haired bassist Axatib Kharixub, shifted behind the four strings (bass) replacing the departing Otto Gawaxab.
The band’s repertoire changed for the better with a rich harmony section spearheaded by the multi-talented Baby, gravel voiced singer Fannie Kasingo and Tinsie Hans.
The trio teamed up with young Sledge to complete the band’s previously fragile harmony section. The quartet filled the void vacated by the adorable dreadlocked lead singer “Twice” of Sylvia’s Mother fame.
Gypsies enjoyed large following in towns such as Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Gobabis, Tsumeb, Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Khorixas and Grootfontein, while the spacious Katutura Community Hall in Windhoek would become their happy rendezvous.
However, like many other bands, Gypsies folded mysteriously for no apparent reason when some of the founding members all of a sudden lost interest in playing live music resolving to disband the musical ensemble.
“It just came as a surprise to many of us because for some strange reason we abandoned the tradition of gathering for our regular rehearsals,” recalled the departed !Hoadeb during an exclusive interview with New Era a couple of years before his untimely death.
A diehard Orlando Pirates Football Club supporter, !Hoadeb hailed from a musical family, his late younger sibling Issaskar was a formidable saxophonist and Mbaqanga guitarist of note during the days of Ou Leyden Naftalie.
He played alongside the highly gifted Mbaqanga guitarist Killer Kamberipa while elder brother, the tallish late Topsen “Topio” Afrikaner, an elegant dresser used to be terrorizing defenders as a fast as lightning right-winger with Orlando Pirates and damn good athlete during his younger days.
Though he did not posses the same talent as his elder brother Topio, !Hoadeb was a no nonsense defender the Ghosts star studded second strings playing alongside crowd favourite Squash Kapuka, aka “Okamuhaka-Worsie”, Piet Gowaseb, Willem Makunda Namaseb, Eusebio Boois, Chris “Soweto” Tsei-Tseimo, Hunab “Official” Eichab, Vaaitjie Aperpo, Pedro Brown, Obed Kapangurua Kapepu, aka “Gorrila”, Reinhardt Namaseb Pinani Muinjo and many other young gifted footballers.
In those days, young footballers found it extremely hard to break into the star-studded first team’s starting line up – thus obliging a number of good footballers to be content cutting their teeth in the highly competitive lower tier division.
Like father, like son, /Hoabeb’s youngest son, Randall Gaoseb, is a much-sought-after hot drummer who on few occasions backs noted church choirs at major gatherings keeping the beat intact and has also performed in Cape Town, South Africa with great aplomb.
A memorial service will be held at the Gaoseb’s residence, Rooirand, in Groot Aub today and tomorrow night 19h00. Burial proceedings get underway at the family residence in Groot Aub at 08h00 on Sunday before departing to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Petrus Adams Congregation) Groot Aub (09h00). Ou Chokes, May your soul rest in eternal peace.