Diop Katuuo is a young musician on a mission.
Widely regarded as one of the finest singers in the fast-growing Oviritje music genre, the gifted tenor declared to The Namibian during a recent interview, that he was on a mission to make Oviritje music more tolerant of all Namibians.
The singing sensation caused a major stir in the Oviritje genre when he resigned from his beloved Ondarata Concert Group to go solo.
He pointed out that the decision to leave Ondarata was two-fold, firstly there was a misunderstanding with the management and, secondly, he was looking for new challenges because he wanted to grow as an artist.
Said Diop: “I am currently not happy with the isolation of Oviritje from the mainstream music scene. Today other genres like Shambo, Ma /Gaisa and even Kwaito are more popular than Oviritje.
“The Herero people are in total seclusion when it comes to entertainment because they themselves consider their music to be their own. They sing solely in their vernacular and only about issues affecting themselves.”
The former Ondarata frontman is now signed under Tripple 7 Music Productions owned by master producer Araffath Muhuure. He appears to be very determined to add value to the sound of his music.
Born in Gobabis 21 years ago, the gifted singer spoke very fondly of his short but very prominent career, which saw him grow into one of the finest Oviritje vocalists in the country.
“I want to take Oviritje music to another level. I have already set the ball rolling by introducing new elements to my music with my debut album ‘Bala Bala’, which was released last Friday.
“I brought in a completely new sound in my music which is going to appeal to a wider audience than the traditional Oviritje fans. I have a little bit more live music, apart from the usual keyboard sound,” he noted.
Award winning producer Araffath’s touch is very evident on the 10-track album which has all the potential to turn into the finest projects released in the country this year.
Having shaped his career singing for his primary and secondary school concert groups and choirs, the slender singer looks confidently into the future.
He pointed out the fact that he is working with an ambitious producer like Araffath, who is on the forefront of making relevant music, will propel his already seasoned career to new heights.
On the other hand, Araffath is also of the opinion that, with a gifted singer like Diop, he is on the right track to take Oviritje music to another level.
“Diop is a very focussed and easy going young man. He is fully focussed on his work and I am very happy to work with him. He is a maestro with the mic and he sings about pertinent issues effecting the nation.
“I want to create a new Oviritje sound which can also be played outside the borders of Namibia. And with a brilliant singer like Diop I am looking very optimistically to the future,” Araffath pointed out.
Tracks like ‘Mbatjavi’, ‘Mbaza Kokure’, ‘Die Laaste Lag’ and ‘Kantuhanike’, are definitely going to grab the imagination of music lovers around the country while ‘Tjivitote’ ‘Ngatuhanike’ and ‘Ngazeronde’, bring his knowledge of his tradition strongly to the fore.
The album also as a House music feel to it as the title track ‘Bala Bala’ also has a House remix.
Araffath promised that by his fourth album, Diop will have all the tracks performed by a live band.