We all remember Ngatu for his multi-instrumental skills and undeniable electric performances but did you know that this gem of an artist is one of the founders of the Shambo music genre?
Shambo is a traditional genre sung in Oshiwambo language and it was widely popularized by the late revolutionary and trailblazing Namibian folklore musician Tate Kwela, Kangwe Keenyala, Nanghili na Shima, and others, however in the late 90s the likes of Ngatu, Setson, and the Mighty dreads modernized and fused the genre with their own styles and named it ‘Shambo shakambonde’.
The new genre went viral and it became part of the Namibia Music Awards (NAMAs) categories.
“I do not know if people turn the blind eye on the genre but as much as we have worked hard to make our music and genre heard locally and internationally, I do not think we get the recognition we deserve.” said the Glorified hitmaker.
Born and raised in Exile Ngatu has a unique style of Afro-fusion that makes you feel you may have forgotten you could even feel.
He debuted his music career in 1997 and rose to fame after releasing hit songs ‘Glorified’ in 1998 and ‘Efeinge’ featured by the late Congolese singer, Papa Wemba.
At the beginning of his career, the artist has travelled and performed on big stages such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Geneva Switzerland, Harare international festival, and many others.
Back in the days before recorded sound was invented, all music was live, however, it is a different case now as most people support and listen to recorded music most of the time.
Ngatu believes the reason reggae artists and bands are barely recognised could be due to their love for live music.
“Recorded music is not bad at all however it sometimes takes away the authenticity of music and the connection of the audience with the artists. Many songs are auto-tuned and we have lost our ability to know what real music sounds like,” explained Ngatu.
Asked if he has any regrets in life, Ngatu said “I have been consistent but I wish I could maybe put out more music,” he said.
Besides, Ngatu also wished he knew more about backstabbers in the industry he associated himself with.
What he has been up to
After years of trying to make his mark in the music scene, Ngatu went on a music break to focus on his teaching career.
“I have been teaching music at St Paul’s College and also give part-time classes to primary school learners in my garage,” he said.
Although we have not heard from the reggae guru in a while, he said: “I am back in the studio, working on my upcoming album titled ‘Where are we going.”
Ngatu also promised to bless his fans with two singles in November, before the album’s release.
Tapping into his personal life Ngatu said he has been married for 13 years however the couple does not have any child yet. “We are disciplined,” he laughed before hanging up the phone.