#TheTribeExclusive featuring Jackson Wahengo
Once again we celebrate music from the Land of The Brave, this episode of #TheTribeExclusive features Namibian music legend, Jackson Wahengo.
Never one to go anywhere without his beloved guitar, he tells us about how the guitar sounds and rhythms became a part of your life …
“My brothers started playing first. When my older brother Setson returned from Cuba in 1992, he came with a guitar and played Cuban music which was big at the time,” he recalls.
The eldest Wahengo brother in no time influenced his younger siblings who started to learn how to play the guitar. It was then that Jackson fell in love with the guitar, learning to tell stories with his beloved instrument.
While he continued playing the guitar as he grew older, Jackson decided to enroll at the College of the Arts to finally learn how to play the instrument professionally – even though his mother wasn’t too happy about his choice of course. He later furthered his studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he studied music.
“When I came back there was a vacuum because although people understood jazz, it’s not a big market, so when I left for Europe I had to find what I really wanted to do and for me playing jazz is easy,” he said.
Jackson first became known in the music industry as one of the band members of the popular band Setson and the Mighty Dreads.
He continued to play for the band even when he left for his studies in Cape Town but by then, he also started to play with other bands in South Africa.
After years of playing with his brothers, Jackson eventually went solo, releasing his first music project titled ‘Akutu Hewa’ in 2012.
Jackson has over the years been an advocate for the revival of live music in Namibia and encourages local artists to ditch what he calls “computerised music”.
“If you look back 30 to maybe 50 years ago it was bebop, it was jazz, but now not anymore. Rock n Roll came, but you cannot really fight it you know, it’s just the way it is.
He does however applaud those musicians who are trying to play live whenever they can.
On how musicians can stay true to their identity, Jackson says: “I don’t think there’s a formula, I don’t think there’s a laid out secret of how to make it or how to do it. The best is to keep on working very hard, listen to different kinds of music and try to take different combinations.”
He also stresses that originality is important, and should always be balanced with a good dose of influence from a musician’s role models.
Jackson himself has created a niche for himself in Namibian music with his unique take on Shambo music which is heavily influenced by iconic Namibian singers like the late Tate Kwela.
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