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Music industry mourns Soares Katumbela

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Renowned jazz promoter and deejay, Soares Katumbela (DJ SK) made his spiritual transition under heart wrenching circumstances on Thursday. Katumbela’S corpse was reportedly found in his burnt to ashes car in Tlokweng. Police investigations are still ongoing and it has not been confirmed whether it was a suicide as widely speculated, or perhaps foul play.

Katumbela was the soothing voice that brought music lovers jazz tunes every Sunday on Duma FM. He was also a sought after promoter, events organiser and the owner of the popular Street Horn music shop in Molapo Crossing, Gaborone.

Katumbela, born October 12, 1961, had an undeniable passion for jazz. He also had an unquenchable desire to see local jazz artists recognised and celebrated across the world. He was one of the founding members of the now defunct Orapa Jazz Club in the 80s. He later formed the Francistown Jazz club and subsequently co-established the New Yorker jazz club that attracted jazz lovers and musical icons from across the country and beyond borders.

He went on to form Street Horn Promotions, through which he has been credited with many milestones. Katumbela is credited as being instrumental in the success of several local jazz artists including Shanti Lo and Nnunu Ramogotsi among others. He has also brought many jazz artists to Botswana such as Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwanga, David Sanborne and Joe Sample, among other artists. He also did his share of charity through Street Horn and some of the beneficiaries include Rentse Foundation that received clothes and blankets. Katumbela has been described as a warm man with a heart of gold.

Katumbela was the organiser of the Francistown Jazz Festival, which was to take place on Saturday but was cancelled. The show was postponed a few months earlier due to lack of sponsorship. The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Culture and Sports Development, which was one of the main sponsors reportedly withdrew its sponsorship last week following a rushed new regulation that stipulates that no music events be held at stadia. The Ministry has since retracted this stipulation. Katumbela was also due to receive a Presidential Award from President Ian Khama later this month to coincide with Independence Day celebrations. Some saddened artists took to social media to express their condolences and a few of the messages read:

*Folkore artist Tomeletso Sereetsi of Sereetsi and the Natives fame

–Rest in peace bro. Soares Katumbela. You have opened doors for many of us. God bless your soul.

*Performance poet Mmakgosi Anita

–Rest in Peace Uncle Soares Katumbela. Your life is a monument of Jazz resting on depth. You started a revolution that knows no end.

*Jazz singer Kearoma Rantao

–May his soul rest in peace… In memory of Soares Katumbela

*Reverred songstress Maxy Golden Queen

–Rest in peace abuti waaka Mr Soares Katumbela. You were a good promoter. I did so many good jobs with you back in the day. You have really built the local music industry and always believed in local artists. I salute you and your work. You raised me musically… Only God knows why…May God be with you motsadi wa me.

*Goabaone Bantsi better known as Zeus

–The “I don’t wanna have to go to funerals” line in Drake’s More Life album gave me chills after Steez passed on this year. It is devastating that not too long after this tragedy, we lose another giant of a leader in the music business, brother/father/uncle to us all Soares Katumbela. Once more we shed tears, attend prayers and seek comfort. My thoughts are with his family. I cannot imagine the pain they are in right now. I wish “more life” was an easy option to access for us as video game characters, but I realise the only way to have more life is through the lives you touch who carry your spirit and values.

Rest in Peace bra Soares, you will be missed by many!

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KUX DROPS LEFATSHE LENO

Keletso Thobega

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Hip-hop artist Kux has dropped a single dubbed Lefatshe leno, out of his latest EP titled That’s Me. The song is currently on high rotation on local radio stations and notable music platforms. In an interview with Vibe this week, Kuk said that he was pleased with the positive feedback to the song.

Born Kutlwano Kabelo Mokgatla in Selebi-Phikwe, 31-year-old Moshupa native, is also a composer and writer. He started his solo career in 1999. His first solo track, I Kicks It, was recorded by Young Sluggz and produced by Motswako Makaveli. He was still schooling in Johannesburg, South Africa then, and it was during this time that he got to interact with the likes of Zeus, KB and Samba T who he says are still some of his inspirations in the local music industry.

He recorded his second song Huskey with Loso and Lunatic in 2010. Lif Aman, produced by Skywalker Productions, recorded the song at Bazamele Records. In 2012 he put together a mix tape and worked with QBio and Uzzi among others. Last year he linked with GreedySkillz, which resulted in the introduction of long-time producer Lil Boi and signed onto his label Fiendz Music Records. “That is when we decided to fuse and create a dynamic apply named Motswako Palamente,” he recalls. Their track Shots played on Yarona FM for the first time in 2013. In 2014 he worked on a new EP titled L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E ya mrepa.

The first single, Campus, featuring Saxxx, was released online and was downloaded more than a thousand times, and also featured on Yarona FM Hip hop show Headspace. In 2015 he recorded his second single Cough It Up featuring Jinx and Swazi Block. In 2016 he linked with Lanie and recorded and released a cover song titled R.I.C.O. originally done by Drake and Meek Mill, which raised heads for both of them. He later dropped his second mixtape, Phapha, which dropped later that same year. To wrap things up, he dropped BluChampagne. In 2017 he featured on Free, another single off Jinx mixtape. In 2018 he shot the video for BluChampagne and recorded a follow-up single titled CBD later the same year.

He says that he is working on more music individually and also wants to collaborate with local artists such as Apollo and Loosecat among others. He said he chose artists who he admires and has a strong following as this would also give him the vantage to extend into their markets. Kux also said that he is working towards a full studio album. He said he has international appeal and wants to create a brand that will be competitive globally.

“I dream of more than local awards…I aspire to clinch MTV and Grammy awards.” Earlier this year Kux was signed to Exclusive Media, which handles publishing, recording, vocal mixing mastering, recording, brand development, show outsourcing and general management. His management team explained that they are working hard to create a brand out of Kux and subsequently attract endorsements for him.

They said they had collaborated with several youth owned companies to help them build capacity and create seamless solid brands. “Through Exclusive Media, we have also created platforms for young artists, particularly those who are upcoming, to not only show them the ropes but also help them elevate their careers.”

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MARUATONA PUBLISHES ABSTRAXTION BOOK

Keletso Thobega

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Oarabile Omaru Maruatona has published a book titled Abstraxtion, a collection of literary summaries. He recently explained to Vibe that an abstract in a literary sense is a summary of a larger text.

“The pieces I wrote are abstracts in both a literary and artistic sense. In this book, I take the reader through the exhibition of my abstracts, hence Abstraxion. This is a word I came up with, and it is as daring as the book itself is,” he said. He further said his context at the time he started writing is what got him to write in the first place. “In 2010, I decided to leave the best job I could ever have in Botswana, as a graduate with Debswana to return to Australia.

I had previously studied my bachelors’ degree in Australia on a Debswana scholarship. I probably had the best job any graduate could have at the time, and I spent it moving from one section of the mine to another until I had covered the entire mining value chain. As you can imagine, it was an amazing opportunity and I was getting paid for it. So to walk away from a gig like that, I had to think deeper about the new Australian opportunity, an industry PhD.

“This is a PhD that one does in collaboration with an industry entity who have a direct interest in the research or the research outcome. My PhD was in collaboration with one of the biggest banks in Australia and involved researching and developing Artificial Intelligence algorithms to be used in the bank’s Internet banking systems for security. So all this overwhelmed me and I felt like I was going insane at some point. I needed an occasional outlet. To reaffirm my sanity, I started writing short pieces, mostly reflecting on my experiences and learnings.

I have always been a keen reader and a conscious consumer of music so as I started to write, my musical, literary and other artistic tastes came together and the product was the unique style of writing and content found in Abstraxion.”  Maruatona further noted that he first wrote the book for his sanity and intellectual freedom, and mostly because he loved it. “Over time, I realized my topics were always political, Africanist, philosophical and somewhat activist.

I resolved that if these pieces had to form a book, it had to inform and inspire the reader. I also knew that the book had to be on-point content-wise, style-wise and timewise. I wrote every piece when I had at least an hour to write, most pieces were written in between times, which is why the whole book took the duration of my PhD.

The book includes 45 pieces and I cover a range of topics including the state of Africa, the global economic system, climate change, personal introspection, old African legends and a few homages including one to women, one to my unborn child and another to the people who have enriched my life one way and another.” Maruatona noted that this book is for knowledgists: those who love and seek knowledge. “The book came from deep intellect but the philosophical notions shouldn’t scare the everyday reader. It is a book to be read, shared and discussed.”

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