Thursday 15 April 2021
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National Musical Instrument Day

The world commemorates various days that at times may sound silly to say the least but it is no surprise that a day such as a national buy a musical instrument day actually exists. The day is celebrated on the 22nd of May and is said to focus on various artists and people who enjoy playing and creating music with instruments.

Most musicians know that their craft would not be able to make the final cut if it weren’t for the instruments needed to help enhance the sound for their post-production musical pieces.

Musical instruments play a very important role, even the littlest of them are able to make a huge impact in an artists and young child’s life.

The history of musical instruments dates back to the beginning of human existence where most instruments may have been used for rituals, such as the trumpet which has since evolved from primitive times.

Many cultures are said to have actually developed compositions and performance of melodies for entertainment with the use of various musical instruments.

Instruments can often be used in schools, whereby children grow up learning to play the instruments as a hobby. This eventually turns into a passion for some. Old people also look into making use of musical instruments because it keeps them busy when they have reached their retirement.

Music has always been known to bring people of different cultures together and through instruments this is achieved as it allows people to bond and learn how to master the art of playing together.

The Lounge spoke to Zimbabwean-born, Windhoek based chanter Artwell Neusu, who is well known among many Namibians as Slickartie. Slickartie over the years has transformed himself as an artist in the Namibian music industry where he has brought a different element to the sound of music which most refer to as earthy acoustics.

Apart from being mesmerised by his ever so soulful voice, it’s difficult to overlook the talent he exudes through his performance where he so effortlessly plays the djembe drum.

A djembe is a rope tuned, skin covered goblet drum played with bare hands, originally from West Africa. The djembe gets its name from a Mali saying ‘Anke djé, anke bé’ which translates to ‘everyone gather together in peace’ which defines the drum’s purpose.

Through the use of the djembe, Slickartie has managed to showcase his musical ability through his voice which he uses to represent people and empower them at the same time.

Slickartie fell in love with the djembe instrument when he saw a Guinean, Mamady Keïta who is a master drummer who specialises in playing the djembe.

He noted that at the time that he came across Keita, he had no idea on what a djembe was. Out of curiosity during a trip to Cape Town, he came across the instrument and bought it not knowing that he would grow to love it.

“I taught myself how to use it with the help of a few YouTube tutorials which pushed me even further to wanting to learn more about the instrument”.

There is no doubt that musical instruments come with several benefits and noting that people are not only limited to playing one but several is motivation enough to get ones hands on as many instruments as possible.

Slickartie views the importance of instruments as something that serves as one of the biggest roles in music which helps increase the capacity of ones memory. It also refines an individual’s time management and organizational skills.

“This especially happens when people play live instruments, which requires musicians and the likes of band mates partaking in the arrangement of music. This helps boost the team’s skills as well”.

Lucky for Slickartie, being talented in music is something he embraces and apart from just playing the djembe he also plays mbira which is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines, played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the tunes with the thumbs.

“I also play the marimba and I am currently in the process of teaching myself how to play the guitar which I hope to master very soon”.

Being an artist who captivates his audience with his unique afro-sound, Slickartie is surely rising to the top whilst he continues to deliver energetic performances.

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