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Northern Music Awards ready to upset BOMU’s apple cart

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When Francistown artists complained last year of the ill-treatment they receive from Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU), commentators regarded them as crybabies. Undeterred, they came together and launched the first ever Northern Music Awards, which were held on the 19th December 2015 in Francistown.

The awards, which received coverage from Botswana Television, have left BOMU with a stinking egg on the face. This is because, for a long time, BOMU has been enjoying the monopoly of staging awards for local artists without any competitor.

The Northern awards covered all areas of creative arts as they recognised and awarded trophies to all deserving creative artists including theatre, comedians, producers, poets, journalists, promoters and disk jockeys. BOMU has never done this since it promotes music only.

The project coordinator Lyelor Nkosi could not hide his excitement in an interview with Vibe. The awards, he said, had exceeded their expectations. “When we initiated these awards, we decided to do something different knowing that BOMU was only concentrating on music at the expense of  other creative arts. We decided to close the gap by encompassing all creative arts as a way of rewarding the artists for the good job they have been doing for this country. For a long time, artists from the north have been neglected,’’ he explained.

He added that it was very rare for a northern artist to get recognition at BOMU awards. Nkosi cited the example of MC Maswe who was nominated for two categories last year only for him to be “cheated” to walk away empty-handed. During the northern awards, the Zwamaronga hit-maker won the best lifetime achiever artist in the north as well as the most popular artist, beating the likes of Mahempe hands down.

Solomon Chase Mabutho of Bon Fella records bagged the best Francistown producer while DJ Bunz aka Peter Gaseitsiwe ran away with the best DJ award. Maswe told this publication after the awards that after he was “cheated” at BOMU, he had resolved never to enter any competition as most of them were biased against Francistown artists.

“I could not believe what I saw at the Northern Awards. The arrangement was out of this world. The number of Francistown civic leaders also motivated me, including Councillors and Members of Parliament (MPs) who graced the occasion. The last BOMU awards had dented my pride as I had been certain of winning at least one award but that was not to be.

I must confess that the Northern Awards made my day as my hard work was finally recognised. One good thing about these awards is the fact that all the judgments and nominations were done by Francistown based journalists from all media houses including the Botswana Daily News. These journalists are always following our progress and it was a good thing to involve them to avoid needless complaints,’’ he said.

WINNERS
Best Poetry-  Tsikitsiki, best theatre- Ghetto Artists, Best DJ- Bunz, best producer-Solomon Chase Mabutho, best upcoming artist- BBlock, best music group Tjilenje the Ngwao, best Arts reporter- Kabelo Dipholo, best comedian- Top –Shut, best promoter- MC Poster, best overall artist- MC Maswe, life time achiever- Mc Maswe and best upcoming artist- BBlock.

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BOSJE elevates jazz education in Botswana

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CHANGING LIVES: Music has the power to empower youth.

The Botswana Society of Jazz Education (BOSJE) will host the 9th annual International Jazz Day for the 3rd time this year at the Maitisong theatre. According to the founding chairperson Akhutlheng Mogami, the society was formed to create a platform for jazz musicians and aspiring jazz musicians to grow and share ideas and even have their work documented.

“As a society, we have realized a need for jazz education. There is also no documentation about jazz in Botswana, which makes it difficult for both the teachers and students when it comes to teaching and learning about jazz as there is no local content to refer to. It is also for purposes of funding applications to run workshops and host festivals and exchange programs that we needed to have a legally registered nonprofit making entity as this one,” she said.

BOSJE was officially registered on the 31st of August 2015 with the registrar of societies and some its objectives include to ensure the growth of Jazz in Botswana and development of jazz education; to build jazz community by advancing education and research; to document, preserve and archive our Botswana jazz heritage; to promote skills development and performance through jazz camps, exchange programs and jazz shows and festivals, and to also develop new audiences.

In January 2017 the society formed a youth jazz big band (Big Bands). Mogami noted that they managed to bring together young people from all walks of life to teach them about jazz and how to play jazz. Since then, the band has been growing substantially both musically and professionally. She noted that The Big Bands in Botswana project which aims to put together jazz bands in schools and communities all over the country. “The project brings together young people and teaches them to play music in an ensemble set up.

The project commenced on the 15th of February 2019 with the primary objective of this project is to bring positive social change through music. Children who are involved in this music program receive a music education, which we believe will lead them to improved overall academic success. The children will also learn the essential skills needed for the 21st century workforce.

In addition to that, these children will also have a platform to exercise their creativity, and all this will in turn grow their confidence.” The band has graced the Masire foundation annual gala dinner, International Jazz Day, Annual De Beers sight holders Dinner, and Gaborone toastmasters among others.

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Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego drop love sin gle

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NEW OFFERING: Benson & Diva Vebrok’s listening session rocked

Diva Vebrok and Benson Phutego recently released their joint single titled Ha o ka leba. The two launched the song at a listening session at Greenberry Gardens. Music artists including Nono, Franco and promoters PP and Gloria Dzwikiti as well as other industry role players flocked the venue to listen to what the two have to offer and they were not disappointed.

The single is good quality – from the melody, lyrics, rthyme and production. The divine diva Diva Vebrok adds a golden touch with her smooth voice while the bold and eloquent Phutego’s voice complements hers as he breaks out into poetry.

Director of ceremony at the listening session Berry Heart also kept the crowd galvanised throughout the night with her energetic spirit. President of Music Promotions Zenzele Hirschfield expressed appreciation for the support rendered to the two and highlighted that it is important for artists to support one another. “I am honoured to see that that many people in the local music industry have come out to support their fellow artists.

This means a lot and we really need to unite as artists all the time,” she said. She sang praises for Diva Vebrok who she said was passionate and hard working. “She is more than just an artist but also an influencer and entrepreneur. She is one of the women in the music industry who work hard and never give up on their craft,” she said.

Phutego impressed the crowd with his words of wisdom as he appreciated being featured by Ve brok on the single. “It was great working with her as she is passionate and hard working. Women are the pillars of society and as such they should be respected. I have no regrets about this project because I am confident that we produced a great love song.”

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