Mmegi Online :: Trans-Kalahari Quintet release album
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Last Updated
Friday 18 August 2017, 15:46 pm.
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Trans-Kalahari Quintet release album

Local jazz combo, Trans-Kalahari Quintet have released their debut album titled Re Teng. The instrumental album has 10 tracks.
By LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
Correspondent
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Trans-Kalahari Quintet release album








The album is a fusion of funk, mbaqanga, marabi, traditional Tswana and contemporary jazz, all done with a truly unique interpretation.

"The overall sound is uniquely Trans-Kalahari," the group proclaims. "We have simple goals; to create music that people will enjoy listening to and that we will enjoy playing.  We are a multi-ethnic fusion of African and contemporary influence representing the unique nature of jazz in Southern Africa.

"We are also a versatile group that can play a variety of styles to fit any private or public function," is how the group introduces itself. "This album is a testament to the beautiful diversity that is music in Botswana.  Two Batswana, two Zimbabweans and an American - we are a nation of many peoples, as reflected in this music.

Our music is uniquely "Trans-Kalahari" - we emphasise melody over harmony, song creation over acrobatics ...this is music to laugh to, cry to, and if you're feeling the beat, to dance," the group says in the album sleeve.

"Music is an adventure of interpretations.  So we put this out to you, the listener - pay attention to these sounds of multiple cultures, languages, musical backgrounds coming together to bring you a truly diverse musical experience.  Let us show you where we are."

Trans-Kalahari Quintet was initially known as the Botswana Jazz Quintet.  But one of the group's members, Matt Dacso, said after doing their "market research", they learnt that the name sounded like a "government project". 

This is why they came up with another name.  Regulars at the Botswanacraft shows might be well familiar with the group because they have staged a number of shows at the joint. Just this year, they opened the stage for the South African legend Hugh Masekela at the same venue.  Members of Trans-Kalahari Quintet also back different local artists especially those who are into Afro jazz.

Dacso is overly excited about their release.  "We have

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established our own genre. Our music is a very different sound.  It is not music that you hear everyday," he said.  To him, the album shows the diversity of the artists who were involved in the project.  Dacso, who is also a medical doctor, said they are using the instruments as voices in the instrumental album.

Dacso also spoke about team spirit in their group.  "None of us here has a big ego.  We share ideas," he said, as the other members of the group nodded in unison.  He said everything is working well for the group.

Trans Kalahari Quintet is composed of some of the well-known names in local music like veteran guitar man Zacharia Gwaze, Elliot Morgan (keyboards), Brian Nyakurukwa (bass), veteran drummer Makhwenkhwe Mengwe and on tenor sax is Dacso, all the way from the United States of America (US). 

Bra "Zacks" as Gwaze is known, started his career in Zimbabwe and Zambia back in the 50s.  He only came to Botswana in the early 90s.  Since then, his services have been utilised by local groups.  Bra Zacks has played with jazz luminaries like Jonas Gwangwa, Masekela and Dennis Mpale.

The keyboardist Morgan has backed Banjo Mosele and Socca Moruakgomo and other local artists. As for Makhwenkwe, he started playing music in 1976 in his home town of Lobatse.  He has played for a number of local groups, including Kgwanyape, Ndingo Johwa and others.  Makhwenkwe, who was once in the army, has also played for the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) bands.

And Nyakurukwa's CV shows that he has backed Afro jazz artists like Lister Boleseng, Punah Gabasiane, Nono Siile and Johwa. Dacso, who originates from Texas, studied music at McGill University before pursuing a career as a medical doctor.  He has played with jazz greats such as Moruakgomo, Mosele as well as accompanying Citie Seetso at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF).

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