By Johannes Hangula
NAMIBIAN born songstress, Shishani Vranckx, popularly known as Shishani and her new band The Namibian Tales, recently launched their new album Itaala last week Friday at Goethe Institut Namibia.
Shishani said this album is a result of the efforts they have put in during their tour between Africa and Europe throughout this year.
In this album Shishani connected the rich tradition of her homeland with western influences such as soul and jazz. With Itaala, she did not only enrich the genre of singer-song writing, she also has gathered an impressive group of musicians: the German kora player Debby Korfmacher, the Hungarian cellist Bence Huzar, and Dutch percussionist Sjahin During who are members of The Namibians Tales band.
Itaala is a harmonious arrangement with Turkish and African percussion, charming mbira playing, and dreamy melodies on the kora and cello fit perfectly with Shishani’s personal lyrics perfectly fitting in.
Itaala the album title which is also song number six on the album means believe in Oshiwambo, and in the song the band is saying one should not give up during times of difficulty.
Mpa wa za the first song on the album that translates to where you come from in Oshiwambo – Shishani said it is about or reflecting on the stories she heard since she has been travelling between Namibia and Europe.
She also confirmed that their music is a dialogue, looking into both their personal past and the country’s history. In a way that they are also whispering to the future, a future where the idea of the global village is coming closer and closer; where the whole world is exchanging all sorts of influences, while they are still celebrating particular artistic and cultural practices.
These acoustic quartet integrated musical elements from Namibia with a new set of instruments, rhythms and harmonies. Shishani further confirmed that each one of them was raised in different cultures and their sound is a meeting place of all the musical styles they have brought along on their personal journeys in this album.
In brief, the seven tracks album is made up of a lyrical style that is mixed between Oshiwambo and English, which Shishani confirmed as something she did for the first time and the other songs have vocal improvisation.
She concluded that for listeners, this is going to be a surprise because Itaala as an album is different from what she had done before. She described the writing process as richer and the combination of the instruments as unique. In brief it is homage to Namibia.
The album is produced by During and Shishani with mastering done by Darius van Helfteren.
The CD copies are available at Take Note (Klein Windhoek), Crafts Centre, Antonio’s Arts and Hosea Kutako International Airport, selling at price of N$ 150.00.
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