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Friday 2 May 2014

Nama Noise From Nababeep

I mentioned earlier in the week that I brought back from South Africa a stash of Tsonga Disco CDs which I will start sharing with you shortly.

As regular readers will know, the Tsonga (or Shangaan) people come from Limpopo Province in the north-east corner of South Africa and over the border in Mozambique. But before we get there we are going to stop off in the north-west corner - the Northern Cape Province - home of the Nama people.

The Nama are a Khoi people who - as the name implies - are also found over the border in southern Namibia, and in Botswana too for good measure. And the mighty "Kalahari en Namakwa Treffers" album (Afrikaans for "Kalahari and Namaqua Hits") features the sounds that are rocking the towns from Port Nolloth all the way over to Upington, via Okiep, Nababeep and Kakamas.

Judging by this CD, the music of the north-west lacks the flair and funkiness of the north-east, but it is not without its charms. Some tracks are fairly standard Afrikaans "boere musiek" (literally, farmer music) - which is great news for all us fans of squeezebox and saxaphone combos - while others are closer to old-fashioned township jive. I think the Lingo Band probably come closest to merging them to create what I am choosing to call Nama Fusion in the hope of starting a trend. But the eccentric catchiness of the Elgenairs edges them ahead as my favourite track.

"Taxi To Rosedale" - Lingo Band

"Outjie" - Elgenairs

"Donkey Mahala" - Rappin' Donkey

Of course, the Nama have not been without influence in the world of music. It was repeating the word "Nama" quickly several times in succession that inspired Piero Umiliani to come up with this timeless classic.

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