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A Night Of Soulful Jazz Starts GIMC In Style

Jonathan Butler
Gaborone International Music and Culture week (GIMC) started in a loud roar on Saturday night when Jonathan Butler, Re Batswana Music Ensemble and Sereetsi & The Natives brought the house down with soulful jazz.

Hundreds of jazz fans gathered at Stanbic Bank Piazza to witness the headline act Jonathan Butler in action alongside local stars. Prior to the event, so much had been said about the U.S based South African singer-songwriter and guitarist but it was time for the words to turn into action.

The first act on the day was a back up and instrumental fusion band called Elect from Zambia. The Afro Jazz group was able to fuse different sounds.

Elect is one of the hottest young bands in their country.

Re Batswana Music Ensemble, which is made up of Nnunu Ramogotsi, Lister Boleseng, Ndingo Johwa, Banjo Mosele and Lekofi Sejeso, soon took over the stage and the result was amazing.

They performed Lister Boleseng’s song entitled Ke swa hela from his latest offering Moratiso.

The only lady in the ensemble, Nnunu enhanced everything when she took over the mic from Lister Boleseng.

Possessing one of the most exceptional voices around, Nnunu Ramogotsi performed the songs Role la tsie and Mmasonoko from her 2013 Mmasonoko album. Ndingo Johwa took over and his powerful voice was strong enough to get everyone on their feet. 

Amongst the many songs familiar to the audience, Re Batswana Music Ensemble performed Lister Boleseng’s Ke tlhokana le wena. They wrapped up the performance with Banjo Mosele’s Ntsa e jele ntsanyana.  The hottest band in the country Sereetsi & The Natives arrived to the much anticipation from the crowd.

 As it is the norm these days with their performances, Sereetsi & The Natives started off by performing the song Chankaneng from their debut album, Four strings confessions. 

The band, which had just returned from a tour in South Africa, didn’t waste time but heated the place up with

Maitsetsepelo. The audience was excited to see the band on stage and the excitement grew even more when they performed Ke boletsa mongwe and Thaa kokome.

Tomeletso Sereetsi, who is the bandleader, constantly reminded the fans that they are the natives.

Sereetsi & The Natives is working on new material and they performed songs Sebodu, Mmaophenkga and Kgatlha thuu. At long last, the band gave everyone what they had been longing for with the performance of people’s favourite song Robete. 

They just had to save the best for last and the man of the moment Jonathan Butler had Stanbic Piazza on standstill. The talented guitarist started off with a poignant song called Africa before taking people way back.

He reversed to the year 1993 by performing the song I am on my knees from his Head to Head album. Butler asked the crowd to sing along with him and they gladly did that.

The grey-haired singer said it is a song he wrote when he still had black hair. He is on a level of his own and his ability to fuse jazz with R&B makes his vocal delivery even more unique. He also performed Take good care of me from his self-titled 1987 album.

Then he dedicated a song called I won’t give up to lovers in the crowd. He also performed his duet with Ruby Turner entitled If you are ready. 

To wrap up what has been a good night of jazz, Jonathan Butler asked Sereetsi to come on stage for a brief performance. Sereetsi utilised the chance to sing alongside the jazz maestro and he did great. Together they performed a cover of the late Miriam Makeba’s famous Pata Pata song.


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