Friday, June 21, 2024

Kgalagadi Jazz Beats nurtures young talent

As part of on-going efforts to nurture young talent in Botswana and afford budding jazz artists an opportunity to showcase their skills, Kgalagadi Jazz Beats will today (Sunday November 29) host a jazz concert at the Pavilion Restaurant, Fairgrounds Holdings. The concert will feature young jazz talent in the form of Fresh Lesokwane who recently won a BOMU award, Mpho Sebina, hostess Brenda Taukobong, and Umvusu Band featuring Bro Linda Mpale (son of the late Dennis Mpale, SA).


Shima Monageng (Uncle Shima), Director at Kgalagadi Jazz Beats said in an interview that more shows are lined up for the near future featuring young and up-coming artists, as part of efforts to accord them opportunities to showcase and sharpen their talent.


“Watch this space, we will soon have the likes of Samantha Mogwe, Hellen Dikobe, Sethunya Maele, and Luzibo performing at the Pavilion,” he said.


He added that young jazz artists in Botswana are very intriguing as each of them has a story to tell about their background, how they grew their love for jazz and how they evolved into the household names that they are today.


“Throughout their musical journey, they were hand held and supported by people and organisations, which will help them to grow as artists and climb up the ladder until they reach superstardom,” said Uncle Shima.


The presenter of ‘The Joy of Jazz Fusion’ on Gabz FM is himself a mentor who has been at the forefront of nurturing young jazz talent in Botswana. He has hosted numerous shows featuring young jazz artists at his popular jazz joint, Millennium in Mogoditshane. His new shows at the Pavilion restaurant are becoming increasingly popular. Uncle Shima’s involvement in jazz music dates back to the ‘90s when he used to host picnics at a popular joint near Sir Seretse Khama Airport.


“The likes of DJ Fresh and DJ Sid started there. We used to have fun back in the day,” he told Lifestyle.


He then matured into hosting a number of live jazz concerts through his company, Kgalagadi Jazz Beats. In those days, Uncle Shima’s concerts were hosted in numerous venues around Gaborone, including Gaborone Sun, Gaborone Club, Lions Park, Fairgrounds, Swiss Chalets and Oasis Motel.

His shows featured jazz heavyweights like Sipho Gumede, Mariam Makeba, McCoy Mrubatha, Jimmy Dludlu, Sonti Ndebele, Tshepo Tshola, Jonas Gangwa and many more. However, Uncle Shima always made sure that his artists’ line-up included a few local jazz artists as a way of giving them mileage.


It was through his efforts that the likes of Lister Boleseng cut their teeth at places such as Swiss Chalets many years back.

It was no surprise when eight years ago, Monageng and his partner Monti Tlagae acquired the popular Millennium Jazz Restaurant, which has since established itself as the home of jazz music.


“Almost each and every jazz artist in Botswana has performed at Millennium,” he said.


The popular jazz joint has over the years featured local jazz artists like Punah Gabasiane, Socca Moruakgomo, Banjo Mosele, Nnunu Ramogotsi, Shanti Lo, Kearoma Rantao, and Nono Siile.


“Our intention at both Millennium and Pavilion restaurants has always been to create an atmosphere where mature people can come and relax to the soothing sounds of jazz. In doing so, we were also able to unearth and promote young talent. I am proud because most of the current popular jazz artists found their feet at Millennium,” said Uncle Shima.


Since November last year, Kgalagadi Jazz Beats has been staging jazz events at Pavilion restaurant, featuring a jazz quartet from Holland as well as renowned SA jazz greats like Freya Faku, Louis Mhlanga and Sidney Mnisi. Bongeni Ngema and Sonti Ndebele also performed at Pavilion during John Selolwane’s birthday bash. The restaurant has also hosted a live broadcast of Uncle Shima’s ‘The Joy of Jazz Fusion’ show on Gabz FM. 


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