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Gazza digs deeper with Seelima ... as veterans say live music losing life


by Jeremiah Ndjoze


 

  Gazza, whose hit single Seelima is steeped in the music of the 50s and 60s, says experimenting with different styles of music can be rewarding.Seelima was done along the Mafikizolo and Mango Grove concept where old township jazz is given a contemporary feel.“The song is a good idea. I’m planning to experiment more with live music but I’ll still maintain the kwaito sound that brought me where I am today,” said Gazzawho launched the song at the 70th birthday of Hage Geingob last month.  What Gazza is trying to do is capture the golden era of real music as enjoyed in both South Africa and Namibia.In general, this was the era for live music and since the histories of music in both South Africa and Namibia cannot be written in isolation, the same happened for the Land of the Brave with groups like Barren Ages, The Ugly Creatures and many more dominating the local industry. It is safe to say that the legend of Sophiatown will not be complete without the mention of some Namibian musicians. Things have, however, tilted to the left with all musicians opting to go for computer music instead of live bands prompting us to raise the question as to whether or not local musicians are missing the plot.  Veteran musician and lead singer of the Ugly Creatures, Sledge Kanime maintain that the evolution of the local music industry is to blame. “Time has changed and one must be very careful when you talk about this. I have kids that don’t understand my music and they won’t listen to it because they were born in this day and age,” Kanime said. According to him, it would have been different if art lessons were offered at local schools but this is not the case in Namibia. “I see that Gazza has produced a song with a live band but then the issue of quality comes into play. You cannot perform a live song with two chords only,” Kanime said.  Former Barren Ages great, Lesley Kozonguizi echoed the same sentiments on the subject.  “The music these days is too computerised and even the drum kick is getting hollowed. It is what I can refer to as bubblegum music,” he said.According to Kozonguizi, musicians these days are taking the cheap route to the detriment of the quality of the music. “I can safely say that a guy like Big Ben is on the right track because he, at least, tries to use live music instruments in place of loops and sound effects,” Kozonguizi said maintaining that the music produced by the rest of the other young musicians is tantamount to genetically modified food. “Huge and amplified but short of the required quality,” he said. However, Gonny Claasen differed with the two veterans maintaining that the current crops of local musicians are on the right track.  “You see guys like Gazza and The Dogg scooping international awards did not happen in our time,” Claasen said. He maintained that people ought to get used to the fact that things have changed.  “Having these guys playing live would be good but these guys cannot play instruments and technology has made everything easy for them. Good thing is that whatever they are doing is appealing to their fan base and we have a music industry going.” Claasen said.