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Whalum, Butler Kick Start GIMC In Style

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler perform on stage
The forth edition of the Gaborone Music and Culture Week (GIMC) started in style over the weekend when US artists Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler showed revellers the magic of live jazz.

 In a freezing night at Stanbic Bank Piazza, Whalum and South African, US-based Butler had enough energy to bring warmth around the place.

The men’s collaboration on stage was something to die for. Butler was the first one who arrived to mark his sweet return to the annual jazz festival. A talented guitarist and vocalist Butler felt at home as he interacted with his audience. Having confessed his love for Botswana at a recent press conference, Butler serenaded the crowd right before the arrival of Whalum.

The jazz festival was elevated to greatness when the US saxophonist marked his presence and the crowd went crazy. In what started as collaboration between the two veteran jazzmen, the performance turned into a beautiful contest between the two. It was now a saxophonist against a guitarist, making it difficult to determine the best.

Like boxers during a face off, Butler and Whalum gazed at each as they did what they know best. The crowd was energised as well with many pushing their way to the front as the atmosphere heated up. It was now time for Butler to exit the stage to give way for Whalum to show what he is made of. It was like saving the best for last and the saxophonist

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gave people what they were yearning for. Jazz is music for the soul and the crowd begged for more as Whalum delivered his best on a stage he hadn’t performed in before. He then announced that he is working on a project called love covers. The US saxophonist sent the crowd to heavenly quarters as he did a cover of Whitney Houston ‘I will always love you’. Butler came back to stage to seal what was perfect package to start the GIMC events.

UK-based Motswana songbird, Lorraine Lionheart also graced the stage to show Batswana why she has been successful internationally. Singing a combination of Afro Jazz and pop, delivering some of her songs, ‘Solomon’ and ‘Black Mampatile’. Although the crowd didn’t know connect with her much, she tried her best to show them the kind of brand she is.

A Namibia talent in the name of Elemotho stood out. At the end of the performance, he had passed the test as the son of Kalahari. Although the Piazza was not fully packed, the Jazz festival has created the mood around town ahead of the biggest music festival in town this coming Saturday at the National Stadium. Other events like poetry and comedy will continue during the week.



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