Soothing melodies from local and continental artists, accompanied by the sounds of pianos, saxophones, drums, bass, electric guitar, trumpet, trombone and more will be filling our ears when the annual Windhoek Jazz Festival takes centre-stage on 7 October 2023 at the Vegkop stadium.
The festival lineup is nothing short of star-studded, with established artists such as Naja, Erna Chimu, Savanna Afros and Suzy Eises sharing the stage with the headliner – internationally-acclaimed Jonathan Butler.
One of the acts for the evening, William
//Garoëb, whose stage name is Bonganisoul, is thrilled to be one of the chosen performers at the Windhoek Jazz Festival.
“This is one of Windhoek’s and, I believe, Namibia’s largest events which brings together individuals with diverse musical tastes,” he told VIBEZ!
He said sharing the stage with Namibia’s best artists is a humbling experience, and he looks forward to the event as it was no ordinary show but jazz, “a genre that is not normally highlighted as much as others, but also appeals to a particular type of music enthusiasts”.
Bonganisoul noted that the festival’s scope is huge, as it features music that is unique and a genre of its own, as well as offers a distinct culture which no other music genre caters to.
He added that it is critical to recognise that Namibian jazz music is gaining traction as a result of the exposition of indigenous culture, languages and history by these Namibian jazz artists.
“We are really grateful to the City of Windhoek for organising this event and, despite the hurdles, continuing to offer jazz music to the people of Namibia,” enthused the soulful singer.
Bonganisoul, along with Esme Songbird, The Yesterday and others were selected following a Jazz Challenge at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) that began on 12 August 2023.
“This challenge sought to unearth local jazz talent that would share the spotlight with renowned artists, both national and international. The outcome was nothing short of spectacular, as the above emerged as the deserving local talents who would grace the festival’s stage,” said one of the organisers and spokesperson of the City of Windhoek, Harold Akwenye.
The momentum continued with the official launch of the festival at the Hilton Hotel on 19 August 2023 and the announcement of the sponsors.
“Bank Windhoek stepped in as the main sponsor, contributing a generous N$650 000 towards the event. This transition marked a significant shift, as the festival had previously been sponsored by NBL and Standard Bank,” stated Akwenye.
Organisers urged jazz enthusiasts to mark their calendars as the festival is poised to be a memorable night filled with soulful melodies and enchanting performances.
“The city eagerly awaits the harmonious return of this musical extravaganza. It’s clear that Windhoek is in for a night of jazz which will resonate for years to come,” he added.
In terms of preparations, Akwenye told VIBEZ! the stage is set, the jazz notes are tuning, and excitement is building.
“The Windhoek Jazz Festival has long been a fixture on the city’s cultural calendar, and its return (since 2019) is expected to have a significant impact. It not only promises an unforgettable musical experience, but also holds the potential to bolster the local economy and boost tourism in the region,” he continued.
Approximately 6 000 people attended the last event in November 2019 at the Independence Stadium.