BY MOSIDI MOKAEYA
It is almost 20 years since local jazz sensation ‘Shanti Lo’s deep soulful voice made music to Batswana’s ears, and like fine wine she continues to get better with time.
The two decades have been a roller-coaster ride of terrifying lows,dizzying highs and creamy middles. Now worldlier, it seems the ups and downs of her harlequin musical career were an alchemy that produced pure gold in the form of his upcoming music album.
Kagiso ‘Shanti Lo’ Loeto will on April 18th give her fans a taste of her new world music album titled Music at Avani.
“World music encompasses different genres from around the world. The album is not only limited to jazz as it has been the case with my previous albums. This one is mixed genre,” said Shanti. She described it as a transition album. “I really was not focused much on what genre it was going to be but rather on creating songs that matter to me and that speak to my fans. Through this album I have really fallen in love with those types of compositions,” she said. She attributed the success of her new album to her Producer Mikael Rosen and her band.
She said her new album is a symbol of the growth and progress she has made over the years. “The past nine years have been a roller coaster ride. Life has hit me with challenges that I have overcome because of my unwavering faith in God. I have survived my darkest moments by leaning on God,” she testified. Shanti reminisced on the days when she first started her career and appreciated how the journey has molded her into an artist of note. “When I started singing in 2010 there was no social media or any other opportunity for digital uploads. I had to work extra hard and put some more physical energy into sales. Fast forward to today I am able to sell and trend using digital spaces and that has greatly helped me,” she said.
A now grown and mature Shanti Lo hopes that her growth will be reflected in her new album and that her fans will notice. “It is a mixture of feel good and sad songs like ‘I feel good’ and ‘I should have mattered to you’ respectively. I also sing in both Setswana and English although most of the tracks are in English,” she said. Shanti added, “I can’t wait to perform the songs live to my fans so I am very excited about the album launch.”
Shanti says the fact that there will not be a Hamptons Festival this year is a bit of a disappointment. “I was really looking forward to the Hamptons as a platform to market my album. It is sad because shows like that have in the past given local artists a world stage. I am not the only one with dampened spirits, many other local artists share the same sentiment,” she said. Instead of wallowing she has decided to get her own show on the road so that her music reaches many more of her fans. “After the Avani launch we are hitting the road to Maun, Francistown, Palapye and Kasane to launch the album there too. Once the launch tour is complete we will concentrate on concerts both locally and internationally,” she said.
Like many other local artists, Shanti shared that she is sad that local musicians are not given the same respect and recognition as their international counterparts. “I would love to see a day when local artists will not be expected pick up the crumbs while artists from outside get a significantly larger share. Local musicians have evolved so much that many Batswana artists have overtaken the big names with sheer talent. We do not deserve to be treated like second class musicians when it comes to payments,” she said. Her new album ‘Music’ is now available at Botswana Craft and retails for P140.00.