Internationally acclaimed and by far Namibia’s most organic artist, Elemotho has just landed back home for a breather from one of his busiest international tours where he has been marketing his latest offering, “Beautiful World”.
This week we catch up with him in the pristine open air environs of Slowtown Coffee Roasters where he is having an early morning breakfast soothing his mind while gazing at the stream of traf?c along independence Avenue.
The breeze is refreshing, it hides the brutal whips of September’s unforgiving heat and Slowtown is after all a perfect setting for this often philosophic artist to speak on his conquest of Europe. “We hit the road in May and we were in Spain, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and then we came back home and hit the road again back to Spain for another European tour,” he begins as he ends his hot beverage with a last gulp to allow for an uninterrupted interview.
From there he took his out?t to Bloemfontein and was to later grace the prestigious European reggae festival at Rototom where the experience was tremendous. Rototom has housed some of the most important voices on the lyrical-scene like the sensational Burning Spears, reggae god-father Bunny Wailer, reggae rebel priest and son of The Wailers co-founder Andrew Tosh and the list goes on. Having delivered a spirited performance at the festival, he says the biggest blast for him was when he got a major review from a Valencia newspaper which singled him out from all the artists.
“For Rototom it was my ?rst time, I have heard about it over the years. It’s really a reggae festival together with celebrating Africa and it is HUGE!” says Elemotho, “I have been lucky to have experience and I have had huge crowds in UK but you do what you do, you don’t get overwhelmed.” Yet he pays homage to pioneers of the African sound and says if it were not for the likes of South African trumpeter, ?ugelhornist, cornetist, composer and singer Hugh Masekela and Zimbabwe’s Black Spirits banner-man, Oliver Mutukudzi, efforts from the present generation would be facing terrible head winds to penetrate the outside world.
“There has been a lot of work on the African sound and I think we have to pay homage for those that paved the way for this sound, because some of us would not have been here if those guys had not done the job,” he says. Elemotho’s 2017 tour has also seen him landing in Gabs for the Gaborone International Jazz Festival where his Shamanic sounds added so much colour to the Tswana-pomp and fanfare which always marks the annual event. He says his shows are self funded,: “People think it’s just travelling and enjoying, but one has to put in money and make a pro?t only to put in money again.”
“You have to get out as a musician and not just staying home alone,” he says as he beckons to a waitress who politely interjects asking if we had need for another order. Our conversation is further interrupted by one of his fans who breaks into a huge smile and rushes for a handshake before backing off cautiously taking note of the ongoing press interview. Yet he has non of it, he returns the infectious smile with a “see you again” kind of wave before digging back into our discourse. “It’s been a busy year and I am a bit tired of hitting the road,” he says gazing into the traf?c, “I gat kids. There were times when one didn’t have so many obligations but I enjoy these type of things. Am glad.”
“But don’t you see yourself giving more to the world than to Namibia as far as shows are concerned,” we press him down. “As per tradition I start a concert here always, then I hit the road. But I always do a lot of gigs. I play outside because there are more possibilities, more crowds. Soweto has four million and its just a location and we are three (million). It’s mathematics,” he says. We end the conversation with his album, Beautiful World which he has given an artistic ? are via a collaborative effort with Namibia’s talented visual artist, Nambowa Malua.
“People have been like giving the album beautiful captions, it’s been everywhere on the radio and online views from Australia, Spain, Canada, South America.” Meanwhile he will be taking his time with family and mingling with fellow artists, as well as organizing more shows as the year comes to its end.