Monday, July 4, 2022

Book offers insight on Botswana’s four-string guitar

Tomeletso Sereetsi, known to many as a journalist, singer and guitarist, has released a book: ‘The solo four string guitar of Botswana’.

It is a book that digs deep to offer the world a precise and interesting version of the most profound melody from the Setswana guitar.

Seeretsi, who has spent most of his career in the media, is convinced that he ventured into the media fraternity by accident. He realized from a very early age that art is the most significant part of his life and has always known there was an artist in him that needed to be awakened.

In December 2011 he resigned from Echo newspaper, where he had worked as a general manager, and is currently working at Mmnegi Newspaper.

In an interview, the new author said he could have easily started singing because he has piles of songs that he could have easily released but he thought he had leant much on the traditional home grown folk guitar he could share with public.

“We have our own intricate guitar style which has never been documented,” said Sereetsi. “Zimbabwe has its popular ‘mbira guitar style’ the same with South Africa.

As far as features go there is nothing fancy about the four string guitar. However, the guitar has become popular in Tswana folk music in recent decades, overtaking the traditional segaba.”

The solo four string guitar Book seeks to provide a simple and clear approach to the many areas that tend to be both perplexing and incomprehensible about the guitar. The book and accompanying audio offer an introduction to finger style guitar, each lesson is carefully designed to allow for smooth progression. The book investigates the song form, sound,

Sereetsi revealed that the indigenous acoustic from the guitar has been a marvel to him since his childhood days.

In his book he has related to the nights he spent with the guitar gods, the likes of Clever Sibanda and Shine Keitumetse.

The guitar, which was identified with herdsman and the poor, is well-known for its thick bass string and three chord notes.
The music has been thought to many as music which is common as back then the four stringers also carried a stigma about them…a stigma of poverty and a carefree uncultured life.

The Tswana four string guitarist often performs in open air spots such as street corners and households. Some of the folks that have kept the four string guitar are Dikgang Malete, Molefe Western Lekgetho, Aupa Tlou, Sibonkile Kgaila, Malefho Stampore Mokha, George Swabi.

After taking time to study and investigate the secrets hidden in the four strings, Sereetsi has understood it takes geniuses to take out strings as the great guitarists of the world are adding strings. Our musicians can play the guitar with four strings instead of the standard six.

In a bid to comprehend the guitar, the author has discovered that the guys are advanced as they can code melody with no struggle.

“Renowned guitarists are struggling to code melody, but our traditional guitarist can do that without struggle,” he said.

Sereetsi said the possibility for Batswana is endless if they take up this guitar. “If you adopt the four string guitar you give yourself competitive advantage as you will be unique in your own way,” he said.

He urged Batswana to appreciate this guitar style and brand ourselves with it. Any kind of music can be played with the guitar.
The book is a valuable resource for scholars, historians and musicians. Sereetsi is appealing for contacts so as to sell the guitar style all over the world. The CD contains the tuning, chords and musical examples so that you can hear if you are playing according to the instructions in the book.

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