16 November 2012

Namibia: Maryse, Elie, a Fiery Magical Combination

Windhoek — Music knows not the barriers of language, and never has that saying been truer than with Congolese Indie and folk singer, Maryse Ngalula, and Guinean born Elie Kamano's double billed concert to a packed crowd at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN)'s Backstage last Tuesday.

After a soulful first number together, it was the passionate Ellie Kamano and his band that kicked of the concert, and had the audience on their feet, with many in the room preferring to stand at the back where they were able to dance along with this energetic Afro Reggae performer. Ellie is also known as "General Kamano" in reference to his struggle against political abuse, and quickly became famous in his country after the release of his highly successful album Parole de Fou.

An enigmatic stage performer, he immediately cemented his affection to the crowd by praising Windhoek's cleanliness and the general friendliness of its people. Elie started of his musical career as a rap artist for the group, Positive Negro Natural (PNN), which had one of their songs featured on the first compilation Rap album to stem from Guinea, but quickly learned that his true passion lay entrenched in the roots of Reggae music, where he could explore his anxiety about Guinean politics and society in general.

In fact it is this layered aura of Ellie's patriotism that made for such a brilliant combination side by side to Maryse's strong yet idyllic voice. Having written and composed her first song at the age of four, in honour of her mother, the immensely talented Maryse's art form took her from Kinshasa to Paris in her teenage years. A born performer, she played the guitar and started molding her music into a fusion of funky rhythms and jazz harmonies, taking elements from Mutuashi, a hip thrusting dance performed by the Luba ethnic group from which she hails. Then from 2002 she moved to South Africa, some of the most notable evidence spurs to the elements of Zulu she incorporates in her music, before returning to the Congo in 2009.

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