Local Music has the potential to make it big on the world stage and some of our artists are doing their best to make that dream a reality.
One of those is guitarist and vocalist Banjo Mosele of the“Ntsa e jele Ntsanyana” fame.
Mosele who has made a name for himself locally and in parts of Europe recently spoke to Dubani-wa-Dubani about his latest project “Generations in Harmony” which saw young and older musicians work together and stage successful gigs in Gaborone and Francistown towards the end of last year.
Mosele came up with the idea, and successfully sought sponsorship from a South African Insurance Company Metropolitan.
He was also the music director for the project which he intends to make it an annual part of the local music calendar.
Q. Hello and thanks for agreeing to talk to us
It’s always a pleasure talking to The Voice as they have played an important part in the growth of local music including my career.
Q. You spend part of your time in Europe and Botswana. Why is it so?
My music is doing well in Europe; I get booked to perform in a couple of shows over there and that is why from time to time I have to be in Europe.
And I spend time here because home is home. I am the eldest son in the family and have the responsibility of making sure family affairs are in order.
One thing that kept me in country last year was the Generations in Harmony project.
That is why I have been in the country since August and have not gone back to Europe yet.
I however will be going back to Sweden soon because my wife and children live there.
Q. Tell us about the Generations in Harmony Project.
I came up with the idea which is coordinated by my company Ntchanyana Music in collaboration with Do It Yourself, a company owned by the young artist Zeus. .
The aim of the project is to close the gap between the different generations and help them appreciate each other’s contribution to the industry. I must say we learnt a lot from each other.
This project involved artists who started off in the sixties and today’s generation. Besides helping us to learn from each other it also helped us harmonize what is happening in the industry.
We need more such projects. I must thank Metropolitan for sponsoring the show and in the same breath call on other business houses to come on board and help grow the music industry.
The banks should come on board, they have the money and banks are helping the music industry worldwide.
My wish is for this project to grow bigger every year. Musicians have for a long time not got the rewards they deserve for their work and it’s time they do.
Q. How was it for musicians back in the sixties?
When I started in the sixties musicians were viewed as useless people who spent time making noise instead of getting proper jobs.
Ours was not considered a profession and we had to deal with a lot of prejudice. The strange thing was that people were willing to pay foreign musicians than us even though they expected us to play for them.
I remember one particular incident where my band “The in Crowd” was resident at a bar in Tonota and at the end of the month the bar owner gave us a bucketful of cowpeas as payment.
He made it clear that we had no need for money. It was a painful period but it only made my resolve to succeed as a musician stronger. I am happy I did not give up.
I must say I am happy that president Khama has recognized the importance of arts; music today is respected as a profession because of his efforts.
Had others before him recognized the value of musicians and their art I guess greats like Ratsie Setlhako would not have died paupers.
One can only pray to God that what President Khama has done will continue to grow even after he has left office.
Music is one thing that can besides creating jobs market our beloved country to the world because it is a universal language and if properly done is enjoyed by most.
To me there is no better way to communicate with the rest of the world than through music.
Q. What kind of music do our musicians have to record to make it in the world market?
Any music genre can make it; Rock, Jazz, Reggae, kwasa kwasa, anything really. If it’s’ good enough the world will love it.
I know that when you talk about Botswana music people think it is all about traditional music forgetting the influence the world music has had on us over the years.
Our traditional music is a good genre but is has to be fused with other styles to appeal to the world. We also have to develop competent musical instrument players who are good enough to impress international audiences.
The Generations in Harmony project helped the younger musicians who have been relying heavily on programming and recorded backing tracks for their live shows recognise the value of playing a musical instrument.
I must say that I was impressed by the few young people who can play musical instruments.
This gives me faith that we have a lot of competent instrument players whose talent we need to expose to the world.
This can only be done if the corporate world and individuals who have money come up with the necessary funds to help with projects like the Generations in harmony initiative.
Q. You have made a mark in Europe; do you still have your childhood dream of becoming a superstar?
I am a superstar my man. I have played in most parts of Europe and have also played in the USA.
My music is being listened to by a lot of people all over the world. I have achieved my dream.
I am known worldwide. I believe I’m a superstar and the world knows it.
For sure. If I was not I would not be getting regular gigs overseas. What more evidence do you need to believe I am a superstar?
Q. Thanks once again for talking to us and I wish you the best in the future
It’s no big deal my man. Like I said it is always a pleasure talking to The Voice.
Name: Banjo Timothy Mosele
Marital Status: Married father of four
Food: Samp, beans and seswaa
Holiday destination: Mauritius; I love the Ocean
Car Driving: Fong Kong Mazda Demio
Dream Car: Toyota Land Cruiser