One Joe (Joseph Nashilundu) fuses the “Shambo” music of Namibia’s Ovambo people with contemporary Afro-Pop. In this release he teams up with Australian producer Okey Szoke (Sam Szoke-Burke) for three colourful and momentous pop songs about love, honour, and agricultural practices.
One Joe’s debut release on Brother Sister Records charts the state of contemporary African music, taking listeners through a raft of dizzying genres. ‘Kaana kameme,’ featuring Namibian label-mate DJ Kleva Kaslam, combines square synth leads with a taste of village life using a cavalcade of looping vocal lines. ‘Onhana‘ again employs hypnotic vocal melodies, this time combined with a loose digital evocation of Central African lingala. The EP closes with the explosive ‘Efiku‘, channeling video games and hinting at quicker paced genres such as South African Shangaan Electro and Tanzanian Singeli.
The EP is a left-of-centre attempt at traditional “Shambo” music, which evokes traditional living and contains the wisdom and lessons of generations of experience of Namibia’s Ovambo people. The release comes months after the Shambo genre was removed from Namibia’s Annual Music Awards. In ‘Kaana kameme,’ One Joe sings about the many roads he has passed down and noting he is yet to find heaven. In ‘Onhana‘ (literally, ‘Ladies’) One Joe praises the women of Katatura, a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Windhoek. When asked who he is singing about, Nashilundu says, “Nangula, Maria, Kandeshi, those are just names I used to spice up my music.” Finally, ‘Efiku‘ recounts the story of an orphan, who was underestimated by all but who ultimately triumphs.
The EP is the result of unorthodox sequencing. Szoke-Burke met Nashilundu in late 2014 while recording the debut EP of DJ Kleva Kaslam. The two agreed to work on a release together, yet time was running out before Szoke-Burke was to leave Namibia. Over several sessions, they laid down vocal tracks, on the understanding that the vocals would later be paired with Okey Szoke instrumental lines. Yet delays and life events left the recordings lying dormant for several years before they were honed and finalized. Nashilundu was surprised and pleased to find a final release where his slowest song is now his fastest.