15 February 2013

Namibia: Last Band Standing Keeps Local Music Alive

Last Band standing lives on as the biggest promoter of live music in the country, kicking off this weekend.

The competition, running for its third year, has become popular over the years. this year a total of 24 bands will make it through the audition process, battling it out for the top prize money of N$50 000.

Public Relations and Marketing Officer at the National theatre of Namibia (NtN) Enid Johr says the NtN continues to support live music to better the quality of music that is produced and to offer an alternative to the popularity of backing track performances. "It promotes the blend of traditional vocalisation and mastery of musical instrumentation.

Local bands find the music environment challenging and increasingly inaccessible in the face of modern back-track performances currently being 'popularised'," she said.

The large prize money is not the sole benefiting factor for bands taking part in the competition, the NtN also provides the stage as well as an audience throughout the competition.

"The competition gives a rare opportunity for bands to showcase their music and to share common space and network with fellow musicians as well as to compete and celebrate the power of 'live music' performance," says Enid.

the two previous winners of the competition show the dynamism of Last Band standing, with veteran musician Ras sheehama winning in the first year, and new comer shishani having fought off some tough competition to take top prize last year.

the 'Minority' singer who is now based in Europe explains how the music gains form in the live music competition.

"I think Last Band standing is a major contributor to the live music scene, there

is so much at stake, prize money, great stage opportunities, exposure, as it pushes bands to give their all, to literally

'step up'. and it provides bands with recognition for what they do, something that I feel might have been lacking in the past. Last Band standing provides that recognition and love for music through offering great sound, lights, stage, promotion, and opportunities for the musicians to share their music with devoted audiences."

Shishani also explains that there is more to the Last Band standing competition than winning. she says the competition teaches bands to be organised and professional and advises bands taking part to be focused but to also have fun. "My advice is to stay focused, no matter the outcome of the competition. Winning a competition is great, but it really is so much more about the experience. During the competition just be sure to give your all as a band. Make sure everyone in the band is on the same line. It's a serious competition and one needs to work with reliable people. Rehearsals are essential. It's not only about the front person, it's everyone in the group. Respect time, be professional, show up at rehearsals, hammer on details, communicate clearly, and remember to enjoy every second of being on such a great stage where the focus is really about your music."

Lastly shishani says the competition not only benefits musicians but also the music lover, as it gives the audience a chance to get to know and appreciate the diversity of Namibia's live musicians.

"I think the Last Band standing competition offers audiences the opportunity to really get to know what kind of music is happening here in Namibia. and I guarantee you'll be surprised! I know I was! It's so diverse and you can taste a variety of musical flavours in one night, I think that's really great."

the first round of the Last Band standing competition starts on saturday, February 26. the first bands to battle it out will be Raslando and the Internationals, Penilane, and FuJazz featuring Raymund Pande.

Tickets are available at the NTN for N$50 and the show will take place at the NTN Backstage.

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