New Era (Windhoek)

1 February 2013

Namibia: Eugene Urges Artists to Have Something to Fall Back On

Eenhana — Most upcoming Namibian local urban grooves, sungura and kwaito artists seem to have forgotten the essence of shaping and investing in their education, and other businesses to have something to fall back on when the music business fails.

They invade the music scene to gain fame and flamboyance, and more often make headlines when they are caught in maintenance disputes, carriage of debts and some do not even have descent shelter.

Windhoek-based forty-three-year-old sungura maestro-cum-cultural ambassador, Eugene Kubwima, believes Namibian artists, especially those upcoming, should not entirely depend on music to make a living since the music industry is not all that "flourishing".

"The honest truth is our Namibian music industry, especially for those aspiring upcoming ones, is not as flourishing as that of South Africa, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and artists should also try to invest in their education and other businesses to make a living.

There are other a few music legends in Namibia, the likes of "the Dogg- Mshasho, Gazza of the Karandu fame, Tequila, the Gal level amongst other female artists and a few others like the PDK, the Oviritje crew, Big Ben, and Tate Buti who have done well for themselves but the rest struggle to survive because the music industry is not paying," says the stocky, humble and previously dreadlocked sungura maestro.

Eugene is currently concentrating on advancing his education, and otherwise will venture into other business because music alone does not provide a constant inflow of cash, enough to make a better life especially for his band members.

He thus urges upcoming artists to invest the money they make so that they have something to fall back on if music fails. "Most of the artistss spend the "little money" they make extravagantly, buying fashion clothes and expensive phones. They should invest just like what our 2012 KORA award and Channel O multi award winning kwaito artists, the Dogg and Gazza did. They all now own studios and can always venture into music production anytime they wish," he says.

The talented sungura and silozi traditional musician has now decided to study for a degree in Computer Sciences and Management of Information, and already boasts with a diploma in Education and Management from the University of Namibia (Unam), and with other several courses under his armpits.

"I am a professional person and a member in the Namibian government and at heart and in the future, l do not believe in working for anyone, hence my continuity in further studies. I have an ambition of establishing my own studio and cultural centre in the future for the Caprivi Region's youths, and indeed the whole Namibian nation. I believe education is the key to success, and as Namibian artist, should venture into music industry with a passion and not a purpose of making money," advises a concerned Eugene.

Eugene arrived on the Namibian music scene in 2009 with an album titled Vision 2030 with his live band, Adventure Crew. To date he has remained focused and unchanged in this music profession. Last year, he was invited for auditions with the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN).

He is expected to perform live at the "Everyone is a Performer" concert in February. His videos have been screened on both the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and One Africa TVs.

"I am such a happy Namibian because at least we shall perform live this time at the National Theatre of Namibia. It's not our first time to perform under a tight competition but we shall show them what we call sungura music an African genre and it's the best ever in Africa so far," he says

Finally, it looks like Eugene's dream is becoming true and as his music is being followed in Namibia hence his selection to perform at the NTN. "Come February, my band members will show them how to play our own traditional sungura music at the theatre," he determines. Eugene plans to release his second album this year which will be a mixture of both Silozi traditional music, and danceable sungura beat. According to the schedule released by the NTN, the sungura musician will perform live against Onai and Friends and Famaz Attack. All are live band and have started to rehearse for the "Everyone is a Performer" concert.

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