The night closed with a raucous ovation for Kgalagadi Soul Band, the kind of audience enrapture that usually comes with rock music concerts.
Only this was not a rock show but it did from the electrified rhythm of the bass guitar carry elements of it.
The frenzied applause is how the audience embraced the newly formed Pan-African band after its performance at the 2017 Maitisong Festival Opening night on Tuesday.
The band which consists of Botswana’s four string guitarist Sereetsi and the Natives, South Africa’s songbird Aus Tebza and Zambia’s passionate Mumba Yachie appeared on stage following the curtain-raiser delivered by Maru-A-Pula marimba band guided by Laone Thekiso.
The marimba band could not have adequately prepared the audience for what was to come but it surely did set the tone with its rendition of musical tones uniquely and heartily produced. The main act delivered by Kgalagadi soul will remain from my perspective the stuff of legends.
The performance started with a mellow piece led by Mumba, who came on stage barefoot with his jeans rolled from his ankles. I could tell by the third piece led by Sereetsi after Tebza gave an alluring taste of her vocal depth that the performances were set up to rouse first an emotional attachment from us before they could move on to putting rhythm to our feet. It was clever that Mumba begin this emotional stir because from him I immediately felt a poignant connection as I can imagine the audience also did.
Well played, I must add. Sereetsi in isolation to his new band has a solid stage presence, the kind that makes a declaration and is testament of a high musical calibre.
Put him alongside Tebza and Mumba and the result is one not only of a stage presence but of a rich multi-cultured musical experience.
Tebza contributes to that mix a sense of deep grounding especially when listening to the words behind her powerful tones. The musicians each performed three songs from their respective albums fusing a fluid mix of both language and musical tones to the performance.
The band came onto stage knowing their repertoire and it was up the listeners request an encore. Prompted by host presenter Cathy Malejane and Maitisong Director Gao Lemmenyane it was a night to remember.
It emerged as an engaging musical conversation between a band and its audience of good standard. Botswana is one of the countries that the band will surely serenade.
The collaborative affair will see the three musical musos perform across the continent with the next gig scheduled for April 15 at the Kgalagadi Jazz Festival in South Africa alongside acts such as Judith Sephuma, Zonke and Ringo.