African roots music, village life and video games inspired this new EP by Windhoek, Namibia artist One Joe, and Australian producer Okey Szoke. Listen to it here:
The first track, "Kaana Kameme," features DJ Kleva Kaslam, a square synth line and looping, chanted vocal lines. While the synthesizers give the track a sort of retro-future feel, the lyrics express an old feeling. One Joe sings about the many roads he’s passed down, and how heaven still eludes him.
On the second track, "Onhana," with a beautiful sing-song refrain, One Joe sings about the women of the disadvantaged Windhoek neighborhood of Katatura.
The third, "Efiku," is inspired by neighboring musical genres, South African shangaan electro and Tanzanian singeli, and also by video games. It’s the fastest and most modern sounding of this brief EP out on Brother Sister Records.
The whole record is inspired by shambo, a traditional dance music that Oshiwambo-speaking people in Nambia are known to perform. It’s cool to see a renewed interest in shambo from younger artists, as the music is slipping in popularity in Namibia. In 2018, the Namibian Annual Music Awards dropped its shambo category, citing a lack of interest from artists and music fans.
Producers still vouch for the music’s vitality, and One Joe, at least, is working on making a future with room for shambo pop.