Windhoek — Empty chairs in the newly revamped entertainment arena in the NICE Restaurant made up for the poor crowd attendance, rattling to life to the beats of Mutuarari Kaakunga, aka Abrosz.
Neither did the artist seem bothered or put off by the empty house. On the contrary the empty chairs seemed to him to resemble a full house as he delivered yet another sterling performance.
Is he or not? Is the question that comes naturally when one hears his music. Meaning whether he is an Oviritje artist or just an Afro-Pop artist?
However and whichever way you would like to categorise and classify his music today, it does not take away from the fact that he is ranked as one of the pioneers of the Oviritje genre in the league of "Dr Sweet" Kareke Henguva, Kakazona Kavari, Meisie Henguva, to mention but only a few, if not in his own league. In fact he has variously also been referred to as the "King of Oviritje".
The artist was on Saturday the live star attraction at the NICE restaurant in the Bank Windhoek Music Circle series. Warming up the stage for him was none other than Ngatu.
And there was no mistaking that he is one of Namibia's leading Reggae artist. Enters Abrosz with Takoeza, an old time favourite in the Oviritje genre going back to those days when the genre was only in the acapella gear, unaccompanied by any instruments as is the case today.
Takoeza is from his 2006 Album. Soon he shifted into one of his all time hits Eengo womaseraho (red eyed one) followed by another hit, Kaurimbi, an Otjiherero praise name for the lion. Until then there was no doubting him as an Oviritje artist as these three opening songs are dinstinctly well-known Oviritje songs.
But with songs like Tjimuinjo and Kaondeka he starts to veer into Afro Pop. Then followed a rendition of Papa by Sankomota, and Jackson Kaujeua's !Nubu !gubus, Wind of change, further casting away any doubts about his Afro Pop musical credentials. But what about his renditions of One Love and Reggae Is Strong by Bob Marley and Lucky Dube respectively? Of course these go on to underline that despite his Oviritje genesis, Abrosz is more than just an Oviritje artist but a versatile accomplished artist.
This is as much as he may as not as yet have earned the recognition he deserves because of his Oviritje beginning, leaning and influence.
The one or two people present at the show, and of course the hosts of chairs were also given a taste of the artist's upcoming album with the song Vetiraije (Why do they die). In the last few minutes the show has naturally transformed into a jam session with Ngatu, and Namibia's traditional music songbird, Erna Chimu, joining Abrosz on stage. What seemed a disappointing night out because of the poor turnout by revelers, had in no time become a star-studded extravaganza, with NICE staffers no able to withstand the fun and partaking in the jolly making. And with the good dose of music on offer the night, and a wanting crowd, the chairs could not help rattling reluctantly to the vibes of the stars. One only wonders why the event show went wanting in terms of attracting any reveling soul at all? But it is not hard to find the answer.
The publicity of the event, at least to those who matters as far as Abrosz' music is concerned, the Katutura public, went awfully begging.
Make no mistake many a times Abrosz have had full houses in the past. One such time was at the Kapps Farm Hotel in 2009.
Revelers then had real party at a jam packed event. No doubt Abrosz endeared himself to his appreciative crowd as an artist of note with own brand of music however you may classify and categorise it, Oviritje or otherwise. Abrosz was backed by a live group of Gerson Doeseb on bass guitar, Auxeb Gomachab on lead guitar, Salex on drums and Shorty on keyboard.