16 November 2012

Namibia: Shishani and Friends Serenade Nice Patrons

Windhoek — NICE Restaurant hosted the Shishani Concert on Thursday night, November 7 in the Music Circle series.

Guest performer, Miss. H, got the proceedings on the way performing four items, Ecstacy, a song with a lot of grunt. And let it be said that she is reasonably small in stature but possesses a substantial voice, ideally suited to rock music. The song Storm was equally strong and the guitar work completed a very accomplished performance, followed by yet another, ending her contribution with a work titled Take Me Home, which was notable for its lyrics particularly; no sloppy, wording that seem to define songs with a romantic bent. Her lyrics were sensible and mature.

Shishani had a busy evening to get through considering the amount that her programme consisted of. She was backed up by a quintet consisting of keyboard, guitar (lead & bass), drums, and bongos, and they worked well on the night. Shishani has a voice that has to be respected for its sensitivity, and the balance with her backing group seemed to work.

Her first half consisted of eight items starting off with a rock-balad called Stay True (to yourself), which is self-explanatory, and it came across as genuinely sensitive. Raining Words was all about speaking and saying nothing at all! Again, a considered balance between lyrics and the rest of the presentation, with a good appreciation for modulation.

Love Song was what it claims to be, and in this case was definitely authentic, considering that it was personal.

As the night wore on, Shishani took the opportunity to display the activist that she has become, using her compositions and the stage as platform to contribute her opinions on currents issues.

With Clean Country the environment was her focus, and in recent months we have been made very aware of big business interests being able to ride roughshod over one of Namibia's primary national assets, which is it environmentally sound condition, underpinning a growing tourism industry.

In Clean Country she was accompanied by Playshis, someone who describes himself as a poet. Unfortunately poetry is more than the ability to rhyme, and to arrange words in iambic pentametre, or to recite a verse like a rap performer. She did not need those few seconds of Playshis on stage.

With Not Together the balance between singer and accompaniment was of primary concern, and the backing group kept themselves in check as one would have expected. Shishani does not possess a booming voice, so overall balance will always be of concern.

The first session ended with Love & Revolution, a song inspired by Johannesburg's night-life, Standing Again, a piece about personal resilience, and Windhoek, homage to her place of birth, with the use of drums and bongos being contextually correct.

The second period was a lot quieter. It was planned to accommodate the guests on the programme with singer, composer, musician, Steffen List joining Shishani with a quiet ballad titled 'Wish'.

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