This post is going to be a little different, because there’s no MP3. Just a bunch of YouTube links. But because 90% of the world’s music is now consumed through YouTube, it’s okay. (It’s a fact. I read it somewhere.)
When I was a young kid, I lived in Botswana for three years. Needless to say, it’s one of the most valuable and memorable time periods in my life, and I’m still discovering ways in which it’s shaped me as an adult.
Fast-forward 15 years into the age of the internet, where anyone with a camera and internet access can share their songs with the world. A few months ago I discovered this YouTube user “Bokete7” who has uploaded over 200 videos of Motswana musicians- mostly younger guys with beat-up guitars playing either traditional songs or ones they wrote themselves.
The first video I saw was a minor viral sensation. This is Ronnie, arguably the “star” of this channel.
I wish I could say this was a common sight for me when I lived in Botswana, but I can’t honestly say I remember seeing people playing guitar very much. Nonetheless, the Southern African melodies fills me with nostalgia, and that driving, bright guitar sound is incredibly infectious.
Gotta love this guy playing a 12-string guitar with 4 strings. The harmonies in this song slay me.
While I may not have distinct memories of seeing this music performed, the cinder block houses, the dusty dustiness and scrubby desert trees are a fond reminder of my childhood. PLUS, dig this guys vocal range in this song! God, I wish I could sing like this.
In short, I highly recommend this YouTube page. For you guitarists out there, most of these musicians remove the 5th string on the guitar, tune the 6th string to approximately an F, and the bottom 4 strings are tuned F-A-C-F. I can’t wait to explore this style of guitaring more. Thanks, internet!