Carlos Kambaekwa Just as local music lovers were coming to terms with the shocking death of internationally acclaimed Afro Jazz muso, Bra Hugh Masekela – the country woke up to the sad news that another local popular musician has bowed out from life. Former Bee Bob Brothers and Falcon Five musician Eliphas “Flemmy Hengari, passed away in the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek on Sunday after a long illness. The now defunct popular pop band, Bee Bop Brothers started out as a traditional concert troupe (Oviritje) with close to 20 band members in Windhoek’s Old Location in 1958. They mainly performed at school functions and bazaars for public entertainment, including fundraising gatherings. Four instrumentalists would back up about sixteen artists dancing and singing. The Muhua brothers, Hosea and Sacky, were founders of the band and the name Bee Bob Brothers was derived from the American Jazz style of the 1940s. The musical genre Oviritje may have some of its influence from music of the Bee Bop Brothers. Apart from drummer Hiambura Ndjahera, other band members were Hosea Mahua (saxophone, pennywhistle and clarinet); Sacky Mahua (guitar); Jim-Jerry Ngavetene (bass); Hiandarata Kavita (drums); Kandjijee Ngezemba (drums); younger brother Hangai Ngezemba (vocals); Coskey Ngaizuvare (vocals); Bethuel Tjituera (guitar) and Ricky Katijvirue on the skins (drums). The introduction of South African migrant lasses, Baba Waters and Jantjies in the new look BBB lineup made BBB the first local band with female singers and dancers. BBB were the first band to start playing cover versions of international artists such as Percy Sledge, the Beatles and Rolling Stones. The band’s repertoire was a mixture of American Jazz, Rock, Jive and Rock ‘n’ Roll. But as times passed on, some of the founding members left one by one, getting a bit long in the tooth (ageing) coupled with lost interest while others joined new bands. By 1969, the SWABC was looking for local content for their newly established indigenous language services and BBB were invited to do a recording that turned out to be the band’s legacy. New musicians were recruited as the band was downsized to a manageable small number. The new arrivals transformed the band’s repertoire significantly with BBB becoming the finest performers in the business, and also the only band with a variety of local and international musical styles. By now, the band has assembled two sets of musicians, Jive-Mbaqanga and the Pop and Rock band under the gifted drummer and golden voiced singer, Baby Tjirimuje; Danny Ketjiperue (rhythm guitar & vocals); Flemmy Hengari (bass & vocals) Edward Peters (lead guitar); Hosea Mahua (saxophone); Sacky Mahua (guitar) and Rudolf Kavita. The latter was roped in from rival band The Dakotas as an auxiliary saxophonist. The multi talented Baby Tjirimuje became the bandleader but he surprisingly jumped ship to join the newly formed Khomasdal pop ensemble, The Falcon Five. Losing Baby was like losing two musicians at one go since he was the lead vocalist and noted drummer. The band slowly disintegrated in 1974, indeed a very sad episode for its large army of followers and the entire Otjiherero-speaking community. Soon afterwards, Baby lured his friend Flemmy to the newly-formed band alongside his niece, the pitch voiced female vocalist Cynthia Schimming, Flemmy shifted behind the ivories and pedal steel guitar, one of only two known local musicians to have mastered the rare instrument. However, the demise of the Bee Bop Brothers led to the unavoidable birth of the Baronages Pop/Rock band under the stewardship of local business mogul Benny “Boone” Zaaruka.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-02 11:52:38 9 months ago