Artists aggrieved over international bookings

• By Rosalia David

WITH more than 10 international acts booked in Namibia for shows during the past three months, a group of local artists have come out guns blazing condemning the trend while demanding event organisers to invest more in ‘their own’.

A veteran musician who preferred speaking on condition of anonymity said gone are the days when everyone in the industry could get a piece of the pie as the world has now revolved.

“We have seen the amount of international artists booked during December. A lot of people are no longer interested in even listening to local music anymore but we cannot also blame them because when an event organiser books an international act to headline a show they are thinking about business, our own people are to be blamed,” he said.

He went on to say that local music lovers are now used to consuming international music more than what is produced locally, and not because local music is not good, but because of the influence from other countries with bigger populations than Namibia.

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Meanwhile, another musician who also prefers to remain anonymous shared the same sentiment saying that there are a lot of talented local musicians in the country however their art is somewhat overshadowed by trending music such as Amapiano from South Africa.

“How will we get bookings if our own fans have diverted from supporting local music, not because we don’t have good music but because they listened to what they are fed with through radio or television.

We killed our own industry,” he stressed.

The aggrieved Kwaito musician further blamed local disc jockeys of not digging deep into searching for local music that is worth playing on their sets.

“I believe a deejay is supposed to introduce music to the people and not just play what is trending; but in every club I went to in December it was just Amapiano playing from the beginning to the end. Are you telling me, we don’t have good songs of that genre that can be fused with the same international songs?

Come on!” he added.

Northern-based musician Nilton Namibia said artists suffered during the previous lockdown and therefore December was supposed to be an opportunity for local artists to bounce back.

“The money is just going out of the country.

Only a few artists really made a few coins during December because the majority of show headliners were international.

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My question is, why don’t they also book Namibian artists in their country? It only us booking them. Even those that have international features don’t get bookings there,” he said.

According to Nilton, the industry is as good as dead if the trend of only booking ‘international performers’ continues.