New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Ongoro and Friends Rekindle Musical Vibe of the Katutura Community Hall

Windhoek — The Katutura Community Hall, the Mecca of music in years gone by, especially for the musical masses from Katutura who in the Apartheid era any venue in the centre of the City was a no-go zone, is slowly but surely regaining it's former glory.

At least this was the impression one could gain on Saturday with a close to full house of revelers who came out to not only show their appreciation for their favourite genre, Oviritje, but to enjoy themselves as well. And it was not difficult to see why the hall attracted close to a full house. Billed for the night's attraction, among others, were none other than this year's Oviritje champion in the Namibia Annual Music Awards (Namas), Ongoro Nomundu, that hosted the event. This is one of their last appearance for the year before jetting off mid December for shows in London in the United Kingdom, Toronto in Canada and New York in the United States of America (USA) that will see them celebrating Xmas and New Year abroad.

On hand was also none other than one of the star attractions in the genre these days, Mutjangatjike Ben Muundjua, of Ovandu Vaumba aka Oupambians. As if this was not enough the platform also served as a launch for the first solo album by one of Namibia's leading altos, Uapanÿera Uerikua, a member of the Remember Concert Group where she gained fame with especially the song Ozombara from the group's 2008 album similarly titled.

But there was no doubt that Mutjangatjike, as has become the norm as of recent, was one of the major attractions of the night, taking revelers through repertoires from an array of songs, which has made him one of the most-sought-after if not most revered Oviritje artist currently on the circuit. On the verge of retiring from active singing with his last live farewell show scheduled for next Friday in Windhoek, instead of rekindling revelers to the sad reality of his retirement, he sent revelers, fans and Oviritje lovers alike on a music frenzy of sorts, as if to put to bed the debate why he is one of the leading tenors the Oviritje genre in particular, and the Namibian music industry in general, has ever produced.

By the time Mutjangatjike was close to finish with his act, the venue was pregnant with excitement and ecstasy and the stage warmed up to the Oviritje champions, Ongoro. Once more they more than proved why they are amongst the leading Oviritje acts in the country, keeping revelers spell bound for an hour or so without a break, taking them along on a long journey of their musical career dating back to 2000 when they launched. The group's properly started to warm itself onto the hearts and souls of Namibian fans in 2001/2002 with the hit Orukoze rwatuara onganga meyuru maa rukawirira pehi (literally meaning she who laughs last laughs best). With the same hit in the era of cassettes, composed by Abel Kandjii and sung by Kamaambero Katjinaa¿i, it also palmed in the third prize in a Wild Dog competition. The rest as they say is history. Since, it has not only become a household name but home and dry as far as the Oviritije genre is concerned as one of the foremost groups in this genre.

The group's credits thus far include best Oviritje genre song in the Sanlam/NBC Music Makes competition in 2006 and 2007 with the hits Ahi-Ahi, purely an entertainment song from the release penned and sung by Shallo Nÿerura, and Onÿerera penned and sung by the dimunitive but in essence big-for -his-shoes Eto'o Makono, the entertainer par excellence of the group who have since 2006 been palming in the group's entertainment awards. It also came first and second in the McLee Communications Oviritje competition in 2007 in Windhoek and Otjiwarongo respectively.

The group's hits over the years include: Ondjembo and Ngumeritiza (CD: Ondjembo ya Hamakari/2004); Ombara, Omananomanene and Ondjombo tjiyanono (CD: Ombara Munjuku II Nguvauva 2005); Ahi-Ahi and Onderera (CD: Etjo Rozombande 2006); Omundu Omundu and Isana (CD: U-Turn 2007) and lately the CD Return of the OCG with the hit: Wanangwe, released at end 2008 but just launched to boost its sales. Their latest exploits in the Namas was with the hit, Ndjipo Ngoma Man!

(Pass me on the keyboard) an instrumental from their last 2011 album, Unbeatable.

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