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Ode to a “bent horn” genius

2018-08-31  Staff Reporter

Ode to a “bent horn” genius

  Staff Reporter

He came, conquered and left a long lasting legacy in the industry of local live music performance.
This is Frederick “Karretjie” Kamburutue who passed away on Sunday and the entire Namibian music fraternity woke up to sad news about the passing of veteran saxophonist. Bro K, as the immaculately dressed horn man was affectionately referred to by his younger fellow musos, bowed out the game of life aged 80, after losing a long battle with Alzheimer. He was bed ridden, unable to walk or talk and spent his final days in the care of his loving wife at his house in Katutura’s Damara location.

He eventually succumbed to the incurable ailment at his home surrounded by family members.  “ It’s an understatement to note that back in the day, many bands and football clubs were formed along tribal lines. Made up of predominantly Oshiwambo speaking musos, Dakotas was founded and funded by Jose in 1960,” said Kapupu Kaupangwa. It is believed the band was the offspring of the highly regarded band, The Skymasters founded by the late legendary Johannes Mureko, alias Warmgat, the Skymaster himself. The boys who started out as a pennywhistle band called Penny Boys had been reeled in by this “master manipulator” and later became the Dakotas.

“Warmgat” had accumulated some money and enjoyed a good standing with a white business company, Hugo Henzel (owned by German dealer Paul Haier) where he bought his instruments on credit and would play from his proceeds derived from live dance gigs to settle his debt. According to a recording found in the NBC Archives on a long-play album, the Dakotas were Rudolf Kasita (guitar & saxophone) Frederick “Karretjie” Kamburutue (second saxophone) Josef Kaupangwa (drums) Immanuel Shivute (rhythm guitar) and Andreas Kavandji (bass).

The Dakotas had contracts with public persons, schools and football clubs that included Orlando Pirates and Tigers.  Both clubs would frequently made use of their services for fundraising events. They became the talk of the town and played all over the country. Their favourite hunting ground used to be the Sybil Bowker and Gloria Halls in the old Location of Windhoek. Whereas the Skymasters’ repertoire was mostly Langarm (ballroom) and Boere Musiek, the Dakotas opted for Jive and Mbaqanga stuff spiced with a little bit of Langarm, Boere musiek, Waltz and Rock. 

The group was to carry on the flag of the Skymasters as a strictly Owambo speaking band in contrast to #Kharixurob, Aleb and Leyden Naftali being the Damaras and Bee Bop Bothers pop band catering for the Ovaherero, while Coloureds and Basters also had their own flagship band in the shape of The Falcon 5. The Dakotas performed all over the country except the northern part of Namibia. In those days playing music was just for fun and fame, not money. 

The Dakotas’ musical journey came to a pre mature ending as a result of internal fighting and fierce competition for recognition amongst the leading members of the band. 

Karretjie on saxophone and Shivute on guitar are the surviving members of the Dakotas currently performing with the revived band, The Original Jazz Masters including some of the oldest local musicians who have been in the business for more than five decades. When Karretjie left the band in 1976, it marked the end of another great band and a massive loss to hundreds of music fans. Nonetheless, the band resurfaced soon after Independence in 1990 with a good chunk of the original members on board. Dakotas became the most sought after band at major events reminiscing life back in the day. His funeral is next week Saturday. May his soul rest in peace. 

2018-08-31  Staff Reporter

Tags: Khomas
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