By Faith Haushona-Kavamba
IT is often said that one should never meet their heroes/idols because one might be disappointed by how human they actually are.
However music legend Ras Sheehama has lived up to his star status both on and off stage, becoming one of Namibia’s most prolific and beloved musicians.
The critically acclaimed musician who turns 50 tomorrow is scheduled to have one of the most star-studded musical shows in recent history celebrating not only his birthday, but also marking 24 years in the music industry.
Big Ben, Tequila, Elemotho, Hishishi Papa, Castro, Slickartie, Miss H, the Savannah Afros Exit, Sunny Boy, and Jackson Kauejua Jr are among the musical heavyweights who are scheduled to perform alongside the legend.
“This show will be very different from any other shows I have had over the years because I will share the stage with some of Namibia’s most prominent musicians… I also have a point to prove because I will be performing 16 songs in two hours… 50 is a milestone and I want to prove that I can still do what I did when I was 35 or 45,” Sheehama said in an interview with Confidente this week.
While the upcoming show was exciting for the seasoned afro-reggae musician who said he was not planning on slowing down any time soon, his impending birthday was also a time of reflection for the years he has spent in the industry.
“I started music 24 years ago when I came back from exile; although I used to play music before I came back home I was not a professional musician. My objective for taking up music as a career all those years ago and my objectives for still doing it has not changed. I have always been driven to make good music for people and myself, which will never change until the day that Jah (God) tells me to stop,” an impassioned Sheehama said of his drive to make music beyond 50 years when most people would be considering retirement.
The musician, who does not look a day over 35 years, said that his career has been relatively smooth, perhaps because he never had any negative thoughts about the industry when he started, although he acknowledged that the population of the country is small.
“The Namibian population is not sufficient for a musician to escalate financially but that should not stop them. I have never worked for anybody, everything I have was acquired and sustained through music,” he said.
Over the years Sheehama said he realised Namibians do not believe in their own, noting that believing in himself and his art is what turned him into a household name.
When Sheehama and other musicians came back to Namibia after independence, they found that Namibians predominantly listened to South African music. Seeing the niche in the market for home-grown music, Sheehama honed his talents and filled that gap, subsequently rising to fame.
The multi-award musician also commended the industry for its tremendous growth from when he started. One of the indicators of this growth he said was the fact that radio stations now predominantly play local music, whereas in the past they played international music. Sheehama noted he was also happy to see how locals backed their own musicians.
However, that is not to say that the industry does not have its challenges as well. “What I would love is to see the Government supporting local musicians. When we ask for sponsorships they tell us that they do not have any money but (Ernest) Adjovi got away with over N$20 million. If that money was ploughed locally they would have seen fruitful returns,” Sheehama lamented.
He reiterated that if Namibians stopped undermining themselves and their own talent, Government institutions and the corporate world would support them own and the money they invested in the country would stay as opposed to losing it to outsiders.
“Namibians need to be fair to themselves…A lot of Namibians do not think about their fellow countrymen,” the musician stressed.
While he could comfortably thrive in the industry living off his past exploits, Sheehama has been re-energizing (on top of recording new music) to ensure that he stays relevant in the ever-changing industry.
“I am still vested in my roots but everything in life evolves… so I have started re-energising some of the classics that people love and have been releasing them alongside my new work as well,” he said.
Sheehama recently released a remix of his hit single City Young Girl in which he features Sunny Boy, and has also recorded a new video for another one of his hits Inotila.
“I chose Sunny Boy for the City Young Girl remix because he is great at collaborations. He puts in extra effort and does not need you to write lyrics f o r him. I also re-recorded songs such as Cassinga and Nekwa,” he explained.
He added that his door is always open to any musicians who want to collaborate on a project with him, regardless of how big or small they are in the industry.
A compilation of some of his best works are available at Anton i o’s Art, but he also added that he is also working on another compilation CD of 20 of his old songs with three new ones and was working on a live-show DVD which will be recorded a t his birthday show, all scheduled for release before Christmas.
“I am urging both young and old to come to the show to see me and the other performers live. Each of the acts on stage will do a rendition of one of my songs on the night. The atmosphere will be of one love and togetherness; we will create a rainbow nation. You can also purchase merchandise, be it CD or t-shirts with the title of your favourite song,” he concluded.
The show will take place on July 30 at the Warehouse Theatre. Doors will open at19h00 and the show is scheduled to start at 20h00. Tickets are priced at N$ 100 in advance and N$130 at the door, while VIP tickets are selling for N$250.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015