NAMIBIAN musicians Suzy Eises and Elemotho represented the country at the Music Bridges Around The World (MBAW) international music festival in San Antonio, USA on Saturday.
The two performed at the festival as part of the Sister City International Jazz Band which is just one of the MBAW's projects for the fifth international music festival.
The band consisted of accomplished instrumentalists from across the world, including some from San Francisco sister cities like Kaohsiung (Japan) and Windhoek.
"Some of us are international musicians performing original compositions from our countries - Namibia, Japan, Mexico and Germany. The composition I chose to perform is 'Harambee' from my debut album. My hope and desire was for other international musicians to learn our African style of music and appreciate it. I am very excited that they will perform it with me as this is for the history books," Eises exclaimed in an interview with The Namibian just before she travelled for the festival.
The band was under the direction of one of San Antonio's legendary jazz pianists, Aaron Prado. He was tasked with the duty of composing a new body of work for the festival's grand finale and Eises was lucky enough to work with him. "He helped bring my individual composition 'Harambee' to life in a way we haven't heard it before so it's very special," she said of his mentorship.
Being the youngest jazz musician in the band, Eises was happy to have shared the experience with versatile musicians from around the world, saying that the experience has inspired her to continue making better music. "This experience has motivated me to keep creating more beautiful music. I am also learning that there might be larger, greater audiences around the world who would appreciate the music I play," she said.
Elemotho is one of Namibia's most accomplished musicians. He is the first Namibian to have won the the 2012 RFI-France 24 discoveries awards. In 2016, he made history when two of his songs, 'Neo' and 'La Vida', featured on Netflix series 'Grace and Friends'. Last year, he was honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the Namibia Annual Music Awards.
Eises, who is relatively new on the local music scene, has quickly become one of Namibia's most sought-after saxophonists. She has gained popularity and respect in jazz circles and the music industry in general with her ability to perform a wide range of melodies from jazz to contemporary soul and dancehall. She has received certificates from music schools in the United Kingdom and the USA and last year, she released her first album.