Saturday, December 17, 2016


Namibian musicians have borrowed and utilized the musical styles of many different cultures. Because Namibia is such a multiethnic country, each ethnic group has their own musical styles. And on top of that, they often have their own dances associated with their music. 

The Herero people are known for a style of music called oviritje, which used to be pretty much only vocals until they introduced keyboards to it. Damara traditional music gave us Ma/gaisa and Fura music. While Fura is the main genre, Ma/gaisa is a dance form of music. Shambo is a type of dance music from the Oshiwambo people. Later on, it got mixed with other regional styles like kwaito. One artist who goes by the name Sunny Boy created his own genre called hikwa. It’s essentially a cross between hip-hop and kwaito. Afrikaans music, heavily influenced by European styles, is also a popular genre, even though it tends to be more popular with the white communities.
Shisani Vranckx (front, center) and her band
In Namibia, there are a number of genres of popular music that is performed and merged with others. Styles like rock (with influences from South Africa, Germany, and the US – includes metal music as well), hip-hop (influenced by European and American styles), reggae/dancehall/AfroBeat (with influences from Africa and the Caribbean), kwaito (from South Africa), R&B/pop (influences from many areas), and house music (especially European styles). 

Because I’ve been so busy with the holiday season, I didn’t get a chance to really listen to a lot of Namibian music. I missed complete genres, like rock. But I did get a chance to listen to some. One of the most well known musicians is Ras Sheehama. He was a key figure in establishing the reggae scene in Namibia; however, his style is a mix of the reggae styles of several African countries. I quite enjoyed listening to his music. 

One thing I noticed was that there were several hip-hop artists I found on Spotify. The first one I listened to was Jblack. He has some good beats and some good flow, but I think he needs to mix it up a little bit more. There were several songs that got kind of monotonous. The change-ups were a little too subtle, I think. I mean, there were certainly songs that weren’t like that. Overall, I liked his music. 

Another I listened to was G-Ride. His music is a little more laid back, but then he would come in with the lyrics and a faster flow that immediately takes the song to a different level. I liked a few of the songs on this album (Warrior Spirit). It definitely had an American style, and his accent and diction sounded quite American.

A few musicians didn’t have that many songs available on Spotify. One was Gurd Grill. He kind of mixed a little bit of soul, reggae, pop, and hip-hop in his music. Snazzy only had a few songs available as well. His music tended to be a combination of dance, reggae, and pop.

Up next: the food

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