Warrant Officer Lister Baleseng has recently released his first album that is sure to Jazz up many this Christmas. The ever-smiling Botswana Defense Force soldier has finally had his dream come true. According to Kgalagadi Music World at Game city, the album is currently one of the fastest selling CDs in their store.
Baleseng says that the album could not have come about without the encouragement of mentor John Selolwane, Botswana’s own Jazz guru. According to Baleseng, the message of the album is to encourage love, and to build a positive spirit in our nation. He says the album was not meant to be about money.
“It was my dream to release an album and to conserve our culture in that manner.”
The Afro Jazz album, titled Life’s Journey, has ten beautifully arranged tracks. The people behind the collaboration include producer Skizo, Gavin Bantom, and ex-Sankomota drummer, Sello Montwedi. Baleseng figures his style of music should be called ‘Afro Jazz with Setswana spice.’
“In southern Africa, we are all the same,” said Baleseng, “so it’s okay to borrow styles from each other and add your own spice.”
Baleseng said that he has always been a music fan as he used to listen to the radio all the time while growing up. “Music was always in me, as long as the radio was on, I would work all day and I used to know all the song words no matter what kind of music was playing.” His cousin, who had a collection of both American and Southern African jazz, stirred his love for this genre of music. He has since been an avid fan of John Coltraine.
Among other attributes, our man in uniform also boasts of a diploma in music from Los Angeles in the United States. Over the years, Baleseng has been playing saxophone with the Abraxas Band that he credits with cultivating his musical talent. He landed in Skizo and John Selolwane’s hands after experiencing studio work while recording a flute piece for a track with another local jazz musician, Citie. It was then that he got an inspiration to record and publish his own songs.