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(Botswana) Bantolo to Grow Indigenous Music scene

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Thirty-seven-year-old, Jimson Richard of Bantolo Traditional Group, has high hopes of growing indigenous music. So far, he has six albums recorded in Ikalanga. Richard’s music journey started in 2003 as a backing vocalist for Isaac Maleye and he recorded his own first album Ludzi, which was released in 2004.

In an interview recently, he said he then followed it up with Fupa and Nkwasha in 2007 and 2009 respectively, both albums were recorded at Moonlight Studios in Zimbabwe.

In 2013, he said he released Ndi Ikalanga dumbu, which he recorded at Wise Studios in Tutume, where he also recorded his fifth album, Dziba le Ikalanga in 2015 and his latest album is Basop Thobolo ino lila in 2016.

The latest album has the only song sung in Setswana called Botswana, dedicated to the country’s 50 years of independence. His songs addresses issues such as marriage, love and other life issues in general and his music mostly appeals more to the elderly than to the youth.

In an effort to appeal to the youth, he said he had mixed traditional beats with modern ones and also sung some songs in a language unique to the youth. In 2015, as part of India‘s culture month, he was invited to perform in Gaborone courtesy of Permaculture and Telemadri, which is based in Italy. Also, he said he got invitations to perform at weddings and corporate functions while he was in the country.

The biggest challenge, which he reckons was a threat to local music was piracy and he hoped that the collaboration between Copyright and Intellectual Property Authority and Botswana Musicians Union would help address the challenge. Thus, he urged Batswana not to buy pirated material. –  Source : BOPA

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