Windhoek-Windhoekers will be treated to a unique artistic offering tonight when the pristine vocals of Khoes – a spoken word performer – combines effortlessly with the flawless rhythms of veteran master instrumentalist, Christian Poloni. Jeremiah Ndjoze previews the show.
In a gig that is set to change the order of things around here as far as local music is concerned, the show heralds Khoes’ coming of age with the launch of the duo’s debut album, In Transit. As such, the thrill of Khoes, born Nesindano Namises, is understandable.
Intriguing, though, is how she linked up with Poloni, a seasoned music producer with experience stretching to the times of the late Papa Wemba.
Their connection she says was not a stroke of luck.
“Christian (Poloni) has been doing production for years and I’ve been doing spoken word for a good while. We met in the industry and thought it would be a great idea to try something out. A few gigs later Blend was formed.”
The group ventured onto uncharted ground, creating an organic musical fusion inspired by blues, neo-soul, afro-jazz-funk and contemporary folk sounds – naturally laced with poetry, smooth vocals and edgy tones.
But the reception by audiences, according to Khoes (Damara for woman) was ‘quite welcoming’.
“Audiences thought our sound was different. I think fusion in general is new to Namibia so they embraced us quite well. Christian’s experience proved effective and I always try to carry as many relatable storylines as possible in my lyrics,” she says.
Speaking of storylines it’s hard to imagine a local poet shying away from social challenges such as poverty and gender-based violence (GBV) in today’s Namibia.
Khoes agrees: “Well those are the most topical issues in Namibia right now and one cannot just ignore them.”
But of course, as a young black woman she touches a lot on women issues because these are the narratives she can best relate to.
“I look at stories around me like. Not only the ones that portray the girl child as a victim but also those that celebrate girl power,” she says admitting that she feeds off matters surrounding feminism, or in her own words “womenism.”
It is not surprising that her most memorable moment as a duo was when they had to perform for a woman who was in labour and to usher her into motherhood.
“To me it was the most intimate; more so because it was at a home. She was about to give birth and the family organised the performance so that we could walk her through the process,” Khoes says nostalgically.
Overall, the album is a cocktail of social challenges, love, dreams and passion as it springs forth the start of a new journey of sound. In the song ‘Nu/Goas’, she sings about the resilience of the black girl who does not shy away from her ethnicity, the Dama/Guas (Damara girl) explodes into chants reminiscent of a traditional Damara wedding on the same song.
But what was Khoes like as a child, one may ask. Admittedly she comes from a family of people “who struggle to hold their mouths”.
“I was quite rebellious, carefree and talkative. I actually like expressing myself. More so because I was raised by expressive people,” she says.
Despite her talkative persona, she took her time to venture into poetry performance because of her ‘deep voice’.
“I was mocked for my deep voice by my peers, so I had to gather enough courage before I could do this,” she says.