AN ARTIST WITH A BIG HEART
For many years, award winning local jazz saxophonist and Botswana Defence Force band veteran, Lister Boleseng well known for Maikutlo a Lorato song has been synonymous with BDF Band Charity Shows.
They move around the country holding shows in a bid to raise funds for various charity organizations in the country.
The band was in Francistown recently and Voice Reporter Portia Ngwako could not resist sitting down with the renowned artist to find out more about his musical career and his hopes for the future.
Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I am the son of Gasefele and Boleseng Sebetso and I am the seventh born in a family of 11.
I was named after my grandfather Sebetso so ke monnamogolo (an old man).
I was brought up by my grandmother Gaotogelwe Machobane in Rakops. I am a musician and also play Saxophones.
Q. When and how did you discover that you have talent in music?
My grandmother had a small radio and I grew up listening to RB1.
My favourite songs back in the days which used to be played on the station were, I have got a dream to remember by Ottis Redding and When a man loves a woman Percy Sledge.
Everytime they played on radio I would sing along and somehow interest in music developed.
I later became a member of the school choir and the boys choir at Rakops.
But I think the turning point was when I watched Mahotella Queens and West Enkosi playing saxophone, I instantly developed interest in playing the instrument.
After watching the BDF brass band one Agriculture show years later I decided to join the army in 1981.
When I was recruited in 1982 our director in the music unit recommended that I play saxophones. BDF then took me to America to study music and Sax blowing.
Q. When did you record your first album?
I used to play with Ndingo Johwa, Badiri Band, Abracksas Band, Just Friends and Unit Band, after gaining the experience I recorded my first album Life’s Journey in 2007.
I recorded Jazz music because of the inspiration from my previous bands and also saxophone is played in that type of music.
Q. You seem to be a busy man, how do you strike a balance between family and your two careers?
Eish, I am a busy man in deed but I always try to strike a balance.
It is not easy as I sometimes go for trips midyear and when I return from the trips I sometime go on BDF Band tour for two months, but I am lucky because wife is very supportive I am what I am because of her.
Most of the time I do army duties that is why I hardly have shows to promote my album.
Q. What is your dream in as far as your musical career is concerned?
I wish to perform internationally.
I do music part time but that does not put me under pressure as I have no plans to quit army soon.
My music is doing well in the industry and I sold lot of copies that is why I am taking time to release the second album as I do not want to disappoint my fans.
I am still working on it though, it has eight tracks and I performed some of the songs in my show and I if the response that I got is anything to go by then chances are high that it would be a success.
Q. Who do you wish to see yourself sharing stage with?
American former Crusaders saxophone player Wilton Lewis Felder ……… I really like how he plays his music, it is unique and melodious.
Q. There is a perception that artists are womanizers. What is your view on that?
It is true that artists attract a lot of admirers but it is important for one to remain grounded and not take advantage of his or her fans.
When people appreciate what you do on stage it means you should be responsible and be a role model.
The other problem is that some artists perform under the influence of alcohol.
There is nothing good like performing when you are sober as you hit the note perfectly and can easily avoid temptations.
Q. Any words of encouragement for upcoming artists?
Music is a career which they should take seriously; they should also take time to release their albums and get to know what type of music sell in our country.
Most of our local artists like short cuts, they are lazy that is why they play back tracks in their shows.
I urge them to learn how to play music instruments and perform live music. The new technology also has an impact, the software makes it easy to mix beats and release album.
Q. You seem to be in love with the Ghetto, why?
My music career started here in Francistown in 1986 when I went on stage for the first time at Big Apple Club.
This second city was known as jazz town and I used to share stage with some of the veterans such as Dave Bestman.
Every time I have a show in Ghetto it is well attended so really my heart belongs here.
Full names: Sebetso Lister Boleseng
P O B: Serowe
Marital Status: Married to Nametsegang Boleseng
Children: Refilwe, Mmabaledi, Botsala and Lone
Academic Qualification: General Music (studied at Grooves school of music in California)
Favourite Food: Bogobe and Seswaa
Favourite Artist: The late John William Coltrane