The sounds of a flute as the lead wind instrument in the Namibian music terrain are very rare. However, 32-year-old Anna ‘The Flutist’ Veijo is defying the odds to becoming a strong exponent of flute. This is despite her being born with a hip deformity.
Anna who has been blowing the instrument for 12 years now, is on the right path to becoming the person she once dreamt of becoming in her childhood. Born in Onawa YaKiliana, a village in the northern part of Namibia, Anna was raised by her single mother in Oshakati where she attended both her primary and secondary education. In 2006 she continued her studies at the College of The Arts [COTA] in Performance Arts, before pursuing a Bachelor honours degree in Performing Arts at the University of Namibia [Unam]. She has also acquired an international music theory Grade 5 Level certificate with the Royal School of Music in London.
Anna’s love for the flute arouse in 2006 when she was introduced to instruments in her first year at COTA. She draws her inspiration from Russian flutist, Poulina Loubnina, and German flutist, Sonja Maleusky, who were her flute lecturers at COTA. “My lecturer’s flute skills made me want to become ‘The Flutist’ that I am today. I may still be a baby but I’m definitely following in her footsteps and I believe that I will be like her one day,” determines Anna. Throughout her career as a flutist, she has performed at festivals including the recently concluded World Music Day. She has also played a role of a vocalist in a number of students’ productions from time to time. In 2016, Anna scooped the third runner up prize at Smiley Foundation of Hope talent show.
Being the jack of all art trades, ‘The Flutist’ has attracted her audience with her acting talent from Captain Kalola, a local movie released in 2015. She also took part in radio drama acting for Namcol English books for Grade 10 learners that was initiated by Namcol and the Department Performing Arts at the University of Namibia.
Anna says that she has improvised the flute with different music genres, including songs by West Life, Celine Dion and local artists to pursue her career. “I use instrumental songs. I listen to them and add a flavour of the flute to them. I have tried it on Soul, Jazz and RnB. I like playing Zahara because she does jazz that truly speaks to me. In the future I would definitely want to have my own album because I would want something special for me,” says she.
The flute enthusiast says playing a flute is fun but requires a lot of effort. “It gives you crazy sounds. Once you play with your fingers and blow it in, it gives you that nice sound. But it’s also very frustrating when you are not getting what you want at that moment,” she affirms. Anna admits that the flute is her second best friend. “I enjoy playing my flute, even when I am sad it gives me peace. When I travel I take my flute along. I make sure that its part of me. I also like performing for the people,” says she adding
At times one doesn’t feel that she/he is making it, but when people come to you saying they like it, it speaks volumes. “I thank God that I am able to speak to people musically and it makes me feel good, it makes me realise that what I am doing is making sense.”
“Therefore, I really appreciate the talent that God has given me and I hope that somebody recognises me. Besides, I am trying my best to put my name out there,” says she.
Her choice of pursuing a career in performing arts hasn’t settled well with some relatives but she is proving them wrong. She also draws inspiration from her mother for having been by her side. “I really appreciate her efforts, whatever she does really speaks to me. There are people out there who do not value their disabled kids because they feel that it’s a challenge. People with disabilities are being downgraded and that is what I am trying to push away.”
A solo instrument that it is but when she plays it kind of speak to the next person. “The flute is my second friend as Anna ‘The Flutist’, I cannot be a flutist without my flute,” she retires from the chat.