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A dive into Sereetsi's new album

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Seeretsi & The Natives
Even if you last remember Folk jazz band Sereetsi & The Natives with that Robete hit of 2015, it is not too late to catch up. The band has released a new album titled Motoko.

The album represents the experience of lead man Tomeletso Sereetsi who grew up in the streets of Somerset in Francistown. The title of the album Motoko is drawn from Tomeletso Sereetsi’s late father Motoko John Sereetsi.

The world celebrated International Jazz Day on Monday and maybe for Sereetsi it is a better time to release a folk jazz album. Folk jazz is a broad term for music that pairs traditional folk music with elements of jazz. The songs in Motoko album were written and arranged on the four-string guitar and it is no surprise that the album just like the first one sets itself apart in the world of folk jazz.

He has worked with Swedish drummer, producer and engineer Mikael Rosen. Gomotsegang Rapoo and Sakkie Nonong did the electric and the bass guitar respectively. Terry Lewis II did the Saxophone in the album. 

There are 10 songs altogether but unexpectedly Kgatlha thuu song just like its meaning in Setswana makes a striking impression. “A marriage apart. The husband has a young mistress. The wife has a secret young lover too and the two illicit couples bump into each other,” Sereetsi explains the song in the CD sleeve.

The symphony of the song exposes the heightened and powerful tune of a four strings guitar. Sereetsi himself is a master of the four strings guitar and has been teaching people through workshops since last year. 

Dikhwaere music that is predominant in the Kgatleng area is well known for use of inventiveness and in the song Mpompela, Sereetsi used rousing improvisation to create a good musicality

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from a dikhwaere song.

His first album was called Four String Confessions and in this Motoko album he continues in the song Nthapelele, which is a sinner’s confession. The song is a gospel song made famous by Solly Moholo but Sereetsi managed to bring cultural and traditional music elements to the song.

This sophomore album is also an album that combines music and literature at its heart. “Ke tla bona khwunana kae” he sings in one of the songs called Boteng teng. It tells the story of a man who is deep in love.

Musicians tend to let the word ‘folk’ put them in a corner and compel them to craft their sound to fit the traditional way but that is not the case with Sereetsi. One particular song trashes this limit on creativity and keep the originality without forgetting the folklore roots. The folklore musicians are well known for the explicit criticism but in the song Sebodu, Seeretsi managed to innovate and blend folk and jazz genres to produce a powerful piece. In the song, Sereetsi talks about a friend who wants to live on hand outs hence the lyrics, “Motho wa bo ntabolele, motho wabo nkoronyetsa”.

It would probably take a page to write about this album because the musical foundation with their own compositions will please any jazz, folk and classical fans.

Just like his previous album, these many elements just collide in this vibrant new album and are likely to excite the more adventurous listeners who grew listening to the powerful sound of the four strings guitar.



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