SWAKOPMUND - The 2019 World Music Day saw the revival of the saxophone, with two awesome instrumental performances taking centre stage at the large outdoor amphitheatre of COSDEF Arts & Craft Centre in Swakopmund last Saturday, which hosted this event for the first time.
Over 22 different live acts from coastal towns signed up for this one-day extravaganza and entertained audiences throughout the day and into the night with a variety of sounds, cultural and solo acts, bands plus duo's.
A market type atmosphere with plenty of stalls, food and good sounds set the stage for the only region in the country celebrating World Music Day, organised by Jessica le Grangé, Marketing Coordinator at COSDEF Arts and Crafts and her crew - who pulled off a hat-trick.
Setting the pace for some lively jazz fusion, was the six-piece township revival band - the 'Black Stars Music Band', who delighted the audience with a finger clicking jazz repertoire and impressive sounds of the sax played by their frontman Zebo Seibeb, who also plays in the Navy band.
The band has been on the go for only four months, playing small gigs in Mondesa after their 70-year-old veteran lead guitarist Frans Khuriseb brought them together, which includes two keyboard players, a bassist and a drummer.
Added to the variety studded line-up, was an impressive full brass instrumental performance delivered by the Swakopmund "Big Band" orchestra, which pulled out a medley of classical swing and swoon-worthy musical talent. The 'big band' is an ensemble of seasoned and young musicians, playing a range of brass instruments which include saxophones, trumpets, trombones, as well as a rhythm section, keyboard and percussion.
Of course, a music fest is not the same without some colourful Reggae to liven things up, with the oldest Rastafarian group at the coast "The Last Brain" pelting out their best Bob Marley tunes and other favourites.
Artists that performed in the line-up included some emerging young talent such as Queen Angela, Brenda, Gysie and the Brothers, Black Fish, Yung Kavin and Coastal Army, whilst more established artists included the fabulous Wakambi and song bird Janelle Botha and Ouagadougou who played past the sunset slot into the night.
"Our aim for World Music Day was to support Namibian artists and provide them with a platform where they can perform and get their music exposed," said Le Grangé who was overjoyed at the turnout of musicians, but disappointed by the public attendance.
"We all need to support our local artists since there are such fantastic musicians out there and we don't get to hear their voices unless there is show, so it was surprising that so few people turned up to enjoy the music," said Le Grangé.
"Hosting such an event is also good for the community, as this year we decided Swakopmund would be the town to take part since in the past World Music Day has been put on by FNCC in Windhoek," she added. She also said artists perform for free and entrance to the event is also free.
World Music Day was started in France in 1982 and gets celebrated worldwide on and around the 21st of June annually on the summer/winter solstice, with over 100 countries partaking this celebration.