Elemotho shares experience on getting into music festivals
Windhoek – Namibia’s most travelled musician – Elemotho – has offered valuable insights and encouragement to other local artistes who want to follow in his footstep by performing original music on international stage.
The Kalahari-born singer is a well-known feature on the music festival circuit and has performed on stages of various sizes both in Africa and overseas. He is the only Namibian musician to have graced some of the world greatest music stages such as World of Music, Arts and Dance (UK), the Rototom Festival Sunsplash Music Festival (Spain) and Bushfire in Swaziland.
Earlier in June, and in the company of his long-time musical collaborator – Samuel Batola, Elemotho toured several cities in Spain, Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic to promote his latest album ‘Beautiful Word’.
During July and August, he rounded off the tour with more performances at Vrystaatarts Festival in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Rototom Festival Sunsplash Music Festival in Spain and the Gaborone International Music and Culture Festival.
On September 14, Elemotho held a special workshop together with the National Arts Council of Namibia to share with local artistes – his experience and knowhow on getting into music festivals.
During the workshop at the Franco-Namibia Cultural Centre that was aimed at assisting local artistes to expand their horizons, Elemotho shared information such as how to apply and what routes to take.
For emerging musicians to land slots at music festivals such Windhoek Jazz Festival, Bushfire, Sauti Za Busara, Oppikoppi, Lake of Stars and many others including small events – they need to work hard.
First, Elemotho said to get noticed, artistes needed to build up their profiles by doing as much productions as possible. The need to have good albums out including well recorded live performance videos, “that show your perfomability and the reaction of the crowd. They (organisers) need to know what you can do. They don’t want your music video but a live show.
“We need to associate ourselves as working musicians. Music is craft form that brings in lot of money. Music can be career path, but not alternative to an easy live,” said the singer, who further encouraged musicians to use every avenue to market themselves.
He said it is important to create and maintain a strong online presence, including well-designed websites. “Get the album and good pictures on social platforms like Facebook. I am not talking of selfies, but performances and reviews because booking agents and directors may look at your social platforms. So, use your Facebook well,” he said.
It is further important for musicians to identify the right music festivals that cater for their type of music. “Go online, look at festival scenes and apply ahead. The most important thing is to apply on time and follow up. Follow-up shows dedication on your part. They (organisers) cannot run after you especially for a small timer. But there is no guarantee that you get accepted but you have to do it anyway,” he added.
Elemotho also urged emerging artistes to acquaint themselves with the music scene both at home and on the international scene. He said through networking, they will be able to come into contact with the right people in the business like booking agents.
The singer, who plays acoustic guitar, emphasised that artistes need to “Get in touch with the media to create hype before the festival. Performance alone is not enough. But through the media, you will be able to get as many ears and eyes as possible,” he said.
During the workshop, Elemotho put more emphasis on hard work and perseverance.
“It takes years but keeps grinding, keep working. I did a big festival in Seville (Spain) in 2008 and I am still grinding”.
As an example of perseverance, Elemotho spoke of Mokoomba, a Zimbabwean afro-fusion outfit from the Chinotimba Township in Victoria Falls that is currently reaping the fruits of hard labour.
“Mokoomba have been in music business for many years, but only now they are starting to make money. It was a journey of investment, by ploughing back into the band. They are now big in America and Europe,” he emphasised the importance of hard work.
Elemotho really does not classify his music to a particular genre, sings in his vernacular Setswana and English blended with other local languages.
His discography includes four albums – Beautiful World, Human (2008), Ke Nako (2012, and The System is a Joke (2003).