Where does the unique style of guitarists in Botswana come from? Nobody seems to know


The artist Ronnie Moipolai is an artist whose work “I’m not here to hunt rabbits.”
For the YouTube video, the 2009 edition of “Botswana Music Guitar – Ronnie – Happy New Year” is not the most compelling visual – just a static man sitting in front of a brick wall holding a worn acoustic guitar, although A person behind him, in a blue work shirt and khaki pants, looked away and bored.
Then Ronny Mobole started playing. This is a simple piece of music with a light rhythm and a sunny chord, which is clearly associated with many folk music in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Mobole’s technique on the instrument is very unique. The right hand played three strings, opened the tuning, and tuned the bass to the fourth, down-tuned string. At the same time, his left hand, jumping in a random juggling act, hits his strings with his fingers, knuckles and open palms.
Johannes Vollebregt from the Netherlands has seen several such guitarists playing at Chabins, an outdoor underground bar that can be seen everywhere in the suburbs of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. Each song’s tip income is about 10 US dollars (about 1 US dollar). A guitarist, Vollebregt, is fascinated by the style’s creativity and complexity. This also includes tapping the fretboard with his elbows or occasionally one foot.
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“I really think these guys deserve more,” Vollebregt told NPR by phone at his home in Gaborone. “I really wanted to do something for them.” So he started inviting musicians to his house, where he gave them some money and a few beers, played movies in his driveway, and uploaded results, such as Luo. Nepal’s “Happy New Year” to YouTube.

Cover art for the Botswanan music compilation I’m Not Here to Hunt Rabbits</em

Until ten years ago, when Vollebregt started uploading his videos, few people saw the style of the guitar played outside of the landlocked country of southern Africa, Botswana. It looked unique. Now, thanks to the videos of Vollebregt and the more than 7 million views they created, an editor named “I’m not here to look for a rabbit,” and the works of “Morpole” and other Botswana musicians, will be international issued. This album will be released on this Friday through the German brand Piranha Records and The Vital record in Brooklyn. Its owner, David Aglow, was attracted by the works of these artists – he passed Vollebregt’s The video introduced him to these artists’ works – he went to Botswana to record these works in 2014.
Cover Art for Botswana Music Compilation I’m not here to hunt rabbits.
“I said to myself, ‘should someone have recorded it,’ ” said Agro. “Then I thought, ‘Hey, I have a record label – I can record it.'” In order to do this, Aglow spent about two months in Gaborone, with Vollebregt and its surrounding villages. Together, they recorded the albums of the eight musicians.
Starting in Botswana, the origin of four-string guitar technology is a mystery, even to the musicians themselves. Most people say they learned from an older relative or family friend. (Some people also act in a more traditional and low-key style, but usually quote some other non-Botswana inspiration; Sibongile Kgaila is one of two electric guitar players. I am not here to hunt rabbits. He mentions Leonard Dempo arrived in Zimbabwe as an early influence.
Although this four-string guitar is very popular, it is not a popular voice on radio in Botswana. It is dominated by pop music in neighboring countries South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Compared with neighboring Zimbabwe and South Africa, the music industry in Botswana is insignificant. In France, an area with only 2 million inhabitants, “There is no market here,” Vollebregt said. For traditional musicians, letting their music be heard is a “real struggle.”
Aglow and Vollebregt want to record other traditional Botswana folk music played on stringed instruments before the guitar arrived in Africa. Therefore, they also included two songs by Babsi Barolong, an 85-year-old retired diamond miner who played a three-stringed instrument called fenjoro and the other two were Oteng Piet. He was a In the name of the former cattleman, he played one of Botswana’s oldest instruments, the segaba, a string, and a stringed instrument.
“This was played by Khoe San a long time ago,” Piet explained on the phone of Vollebregt’s house. “I learned it by watching my uncle’s performance.” Now the ethnic minority in Botswana, San “khoe”, is considered to be the oldest culture in the region; some people continue to live in the hunter-gatherers in the most remote areas of Botswana. Society, although the government forced many people to leave their land, giving way to diamond mines and cattle ranches. Piet is a major minority in Botswana, but he said that segaba has been widely adopted, many of them descendants of San. In the album’s lining, he c.


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