By Jeoffrey Mukubi
DELIVERING brilliant live performances is regarded as highpoint for the musical artists around the world, and Namibia is no exception.
From the time of the liberation war, when music was used as a source of hope, inspiration and motivation, Namibia’s live music industry has produced an abundance of musicians that are considered legends in their own right.
The word “legend” carries a lot of weight, and being dubbed one is a privilege.
The late Jackson Kaujeua has served as an inspiration to many current live musical performers, including the likes of Lize Ehlers, Big Ben, Ras Sheehama and Elemotho, who have followed in his footsteps.
Ras is seen as a pioneer of the Namibian music industry, with his suave reggae tunes, which include hits such as Cassinga and City Young Girl, keeping us jiving for over 27 years, and also bringing us to tears.
His early teenage years saw him living in refugee camps in Angola and Zambia, before he attended secondary school in Nigeria, where he was exposed to live musicians, such as Fela Kuti. He later joined the Ndilimani Cultural Troupe in 1988, before the start of his solo career after independence.
Ras was the first Namibian to release music on CD in 1996, with his album called Travelling proving once that he is dedicated to uplifting the Namibian music industry. Ras is still shining, selling out the Warehouse Theatre and other venues; fans just can’t get enough of him.
Lize is a passionate and lauded Namibian singer, songwriter, actress, poet, agent and facilitator, and her live performances a slowly, but surely, turning her into a living local legend.
She is the founder of Song Night Namibia, which is a platform for young Namibian musicians to showcase their raw talent on stage. This and other contributions by Lize have made her an all-round artist and arts developer, with a special focus on various community outreach programmes.
She also won the Namibia Annual Music Award for the Most Socially Responsible Artist, which acknowledges her unfolding contributions and hard work.
Big Ben, whose music has been described as a true Namibian sound, has been hailed as one of the country’s top live music performers, making him a living legend in his own right.
Big Ben’s accolades include winning the Best Jazz/Instrumental category at the NAMAs in 2013, as well as the Best Song with a Message category in 2015 and the Best Traditional and Best Male Artist of the Year categories last year.
Big Ben is the most celebrated contemporary live musician in Namibia, and also serves as an inspiration, in term of what you can achieve, regardless of what type of background you come from.
His timeless hit, Moro Moro, is still regularly played on local radio stations.
Elemotho has been consistent with his originality when it comes to telling stories.
His unpretentious style of music also incorporates his mother tongue, Setswana. According to his website he sees himself as a performing artist and a musical activist, and paints pictures with his chords, words and energy.
Elemotho, who has performed in various countries around the world, including Britain, Spain, France and Germany, has taken his authentic Namibian style and exposed it to the world, unapologetically. He was recently honoured by the NAMAs with a Lifetime Achievement Award, while his international accolades include the RFI-France 24 Discoveries Award of 2012, for which he was selected out of a group of ten finalists around the world. This undoubtedly makes him a local living legend, who is still putting the country on the map.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015