Windhoek — The Last Band Standing competition came to a smashing ending in Windhoek's Zoo Park last Saturday evening when the eventual winner was announced to a packed and enthusiastic crowd of music lovers.
After a gruelling three months in which 54 bands battled it out, it was the lean and mean Afro'd Belgium-born singer-songwriter from the Netherlands, Shishani Vranckx, and her band, who walked away with the N$50 000 first prize. On her way to gaining the top prize in the finals, she left in her wake some of the country's top bands such as Patricia Ochurus, Axue and his Birds Band, Famaz Attack and the NAMAS' Female Artist of the Year, Tequila. She also beat Elemotho in the semi-finals.
The Last Band Standing competition was initiated last year with only 16 bands and N$50 000 in prize money. Within a year the competition has become very popular and offered prize money totalling N$110 000 this year. Werner Thaniseb, Managing Director of the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), the organiser of the competition, says the last three months had been a phenomenal journey.
"Our music has been growing. Music is not only for dancing but it should also touch people's hearts and lives, helping them to understand themselves and their world better. It should transform them to celebrate life. It should also play a mediating role during times of conflict and uncertainty," he says.
Through the growth of the competition in such a short time, the NTN was surely raising the bar for the promotion and development of live music in the country. The competition was growing stronger and improving each year. "We are strengthening the objective of our programme of developing Namibian music into a valuable cultural commodity for all to share," Thaniseb says.
He also announced that the Ugly Creatures, a local pop band which wowed audiences more than 30 years ago after being formed in 1970, had been honoured with a NTN Lifetime Recognition Award for their contribution to the development of Namibian music.