New Album Coming Out April 2018
Sereetsi & the Natives is back in the studio with Swedish producer, drummer and engineer, Mikael Rosen, working on the follow-up to the debut, Four String Confessions. The two worked together on Four String Confessions and look to reproduce the magic they concocted in 2015. "We are finalising song arrangements and recording four string guitar parts before I bring in other natives to record other instruments," Sereetsi says. The yet to be titled album is scheduled for release in April 2018.
Sereetsi Leaves Kgalagadi Soul Project
Sereetsi & the Natives started off 2018 with an outing in Potchefstroom, South Africa, with the Kgalagadi Soul Project at a festival that featured some of the biggest artists from Southern Africa. This was Sereetsi's last gig with the Kgalagadi Soul Project which features South African bassist AusTebza and Zambian singer MumbaYachi. "I had a lot of fun rocking out with the project. I am grateful for the experience. I have a new album coming out in April and I want to focus a lot more on growing the Sereetsi & the Natives brand in Botswana and internationally," Sereetsi says.
Goldies Fest Returns Bigger & Better
The 2nd Annual Goldies Fest returned on December 31, 2017 bigger and bolder. The festival, which was held at Botsalo Hotel in Palapye, is fully sponsored by Sereetsi & the Natives. It featured Sereetsi & the Natives, Oliver Mtukudzi, Lister Boleseng and James Sakala. The festival saw a bigger crowd of holiday travelers and residents of the Central District this year. The festival will return to Palapye on December 31, 2018.
Unveiling Kgalagadi Soul Tour 2017
Sereetsi has joined forces with Zambian world music star Mumba Yachi and South African ace bassist and singer Aus Tebza for a tour of southern Africa that will see the musicians also running workshops.The trio has acquired a wealth of experience wowing their fans all over the world on big and small stages. Kgalagadi Soul will present a rich repertoire drawn from the trio's individual projects using one international band comprising musicians from Congo (Nseka Bienvenu - guitar), South Africa (Bokang Kupi - keyboards), Zimbabwe (Leroy Nyoni - drums) as well as the USA (Terry Lewis - saxophone) which makes the tour a strong collaborative affair. The Kgalagadi Soul Tour 2017 is supported by an ANT Funding Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Sereetsi & the Natives Launches Annual Music Festival
Sereetsi & the Natives closed off 2016 with a wholly self-funded music festival held in the central district town of Palapye, Botswana on year's eve called Goldies On The Eve. Held at Cresta Botsalo Hotel, the festival thrilled residents of Palapye and holiday makers with performances from Sereetsi & the Natives, WDP, Loui'Bass, G Wow Rapoo, Otlogetswe Makasu, Tom Wagamang, Moxido, Ribcracker and DJ Rock. Professionals and other holiday makers with discerning taste in music from and outside the central region – Serowe, Palapye, Mahalapye, Boteti and Tswapong – had a great reason to whip out their camp chairs, relax and enjoy good vibes with like-minded people on New Year’s Eve. Also on the menu, was a serving of golden oldies, 70s and 80s disco and funk, jazz and world music from the battalion of DJs selected for this exquisite showing. The act presented a high energy set that showcased hits such as Thaa Kokome, Robete, Ke Boletsa Mongwe and new unreleased music. Supporting acts, Tom Wagamang, who is been trending online through his song, Don't Khakhele Hoo, and another Internet sensation, Otlogetswe Makasu of the hit, Cecilia (Ka Bala 7 A Ntse A Bala 1) were crowd favourites. The festival returns bigger and better on December 31, 2017 at the same venue.
Sereetsi & the Natives Returns to South African Jazz Festival
For the second year in a row, Sereetsi & the Natives starred at Mahika Mahikeng International Jazz Festival on December 11, 2016. The celebrated Botswana act played alongside stars such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Musa, Lira, Judith Sephuma and Jonas Gwangwa in Mafikeng, South Africa. The performance followed a booking at the same festival in December 2015. The festival, which drew over 10,000 fun lovers, was inaugurated in 2015. "It was a good sign that we got to do the festival again. This is a great honour. Given the competition for performance slots, this is an indication that we impressed last year when we appeared at the festival," Sereetsi said. Natives doing duty at Lotlaamoreng Dam, where the festival was held, were Kabelo Tamukate on bass, Gomotsegang Gee Rapoo on guitar, Terry Lewis on alto saxophone, Leroy Nyoni on drums and Sereetsi on vocals and four string guitar.
Sereetsi & the Natives Bags Four Botswana Music Awards
Sereetsi & the Natives was the biggest winner of the Botswana Music Awards 2016 as the popular group took home four awards out of a record five nominations. The awards the act got are Best Folklore Album for the Four Strings Confessions album, Best Single of the Year, Best Newcomer and Best Male Artist of the Year.
"We are happy to have won the accolades. This capped a year in which we had a resoundingly wonderful run on the festival and corporate gig circuit at home and internationally," said Sereetsi. Sereetsi was not at the awards show which was held on November 6, 2016, as he was on a tour of Sweden. "I would like to thank natives out there for voting for fellow natives. We wouldn't have made it without their support," said Sereetsi.
Native in Chicago
Sereetsi & the Natives was in Chicago, US starting September 28th to October 4th 2016 for CD Baby’s DIY Musicians Conference that was held at the Congress Plaza Hotel. “The conference was a huge networking opportunity. It exposed me to new cutting edge ideas relating to the creative and business side of the craft and allowed me to meet fellow artists and leading industry players from across the world. I cannot ask for a better platform to sharpen my understanding of the business of music in all its constantly shifting complexities,” said singer songwriter and author, Tomeletso Sereetsi, in a press statement. Sereetsi & the Natives also performed at Uncommon Ground with Chicago singer songwriter Hannah Frank on September 29th. "This was my debut appearance on US soil and I am indebted to Hannah for agreeing to organise the gig for me and sharing the bill with me. We hope that it will set the tone for further collaboration and an extensive tour of the Chicago area and the US in the near future,” Sereetsi said. The trip to the US was sponsored by US Embassy in Gaborone. “Special thanks to the US embassy in Gaborone for helping us with travel and accommodation costs for this trip. The contribution will go a long way in developing the arts sector in Botswana as the trip is about skills development and empowerment,” said Sereetsi.
Sereetsi's Music Workshops Benefit Artists
Tomeletso Sereetsi of Sereetsi & the Natives has launched a 15 town workshop tour across Botswana funded by the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority to the tune P450,000. The workshops, which started November 21st 2016, will continue in the first quarter of 2017. The clinics are aimed at sharing four string guitar playing skills with the young and the old. Sereetsi is the author of the book/CD The Solo Four String Guitar of Botswana, a folk guitar instructional manual. His success with Sereetsi & the Natives has arguably helped bring the four string guitar from the fringes to the mainstream pop culture in Botswana. "The workshops are part of the Botswana Folk Guitar Project. The workshops are open to the public free of charge to interested individuals of all ages. The workshop tour started on November 21st in Bobonong at Matshekge Hill School, November 22nd Selebi Phikwe Town Hall, November 23rd in Palapye at BIUST, November 24th Letlhakane Community hall and November 25th Mowana JSS in Mahalapye," Sereetsi said. Just bring a pen/pencil, notebook and your guitar. "Artists from choirs, traditional dance groups, drama groups are also welcome as they can also incorporate the guitar in their own works," Sereetsi said.
Sereetsi & the Natives Plays Swedish World Music Festival
Sereetsi & the Natives starred in Sweden’s premier world music festival known as Planetta from November 2-6, 2016. The Gothenburg based festival scheduled the Botswana act for a record four performances alongside some of the best musicians across the world such as Cheikh Lo. “I took the appearance at the festival seriously as it was my first on European soil. I looked at it as the introduction of the native sound to European shores and an opportunity to break into that market,” says Sereetsi. Sereetsi was backed by some of the best Swedish musicians - David Bäck on piano, Tobias Grim on guitar, Johan Jansson on drums and Stefan Bergman on bass. “I was honoured to work with this crop of highly experienced musicians who have backed some of the best world music stars,” says Sereetsi. While in Sweden, Sereetsi also taught and conducted workshops for music students at Gothenburg’s Harryda School of Arts and Culture. “I was at the school starting October 24th to November 6th 2016. It’s a great opportunity for cultural exchange and for putting Botswana’s best attributes on the map,” says Sereetsi, who is also the author of a Tswana guitar instructional book/CD entitled The Solo Four string Guitar of Botswana. Sereetsi then proceeded to Stockholm on November 6th for a number of performances.
Sereetsi & the Natives Tours South Africa
Sereetsi & the Natives has announced a tour of South Africa beginning August 12th 2016 to September 6th that will see the band playing a number of dates in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Mafikeng and Pietermaritzburg. “This is part of our greater plan to grow our footprint internationally. We have just returned from an outing with Namibian world music star, Elemotho, on July 9th 2016 at Windhoek’s Warehouse Theatre. The tour is a continuation of efforts to share the Natives rhythms with the rest of the world,” says Sereetsi. The personnel for the tour is Sereetsi on four string guitar and lead vocals, US born Terry Lewis on alto saxophone, Leroy Nyoni on drums/vocals and Kabelo Tamukate on bass. “We are going to play over 12 shows in South Africa. We want to make the tour an annual one, which will include other countries going forward,” says Sereetsi. The singer/songwriter who is also the author of the groundbreaking instructional book/CD, The Solo Four String Guitar of Botswana, says the tour is at the moment an entirely self-funded effort. “We would like any support we can get, be it inviting your South African friends to check us out at a venue near them or spreading the word on social media. We welcome support from the private sector to help us with the costs of the tour,” he says. Sereetsi & the Natives has already played three big festivals in South Africa – The Calabash in Durban, Mahika Mahikeng Jazz Fest in Mafikeng and the Kgalagadi Jazz festival in Kuruman. The act is one of the most popular in Botswana with a number of hits from its critically acclaimed 2015 debut, Four String Confessions, such as Robete, Thaa Kokome and Robete on regular rotation on radio. Its sound combines Botswana rhythms and verse with influences such as jazz and folk rock.
Sereetsi, Butler Headline GIMC Jazz
Sereetsi & the Natives is set to headline the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week on August 27th 2016 with US smooth jazz star, Jonathan Butler. This will be Sereetsi & the Natives second consecutive showing at the annual festival, one of the biggest in Botswana after playing a duo unplugged set (alto saxophone and four string guitar) last year. "I am bringing a full band to the stage this year. It's such a huge honour for me to share the stage with the legendary Jonathan Butler and some of the best of Botswana's musicians," says Sereetsi. Already Sereetsi has shared the stage with established world music names like Oliver Mtukudzi, Vusi Mahlasela, Caiphus Semenya, Jaziel Brothers, Letta Mbulu and McCoy Mrubata. Sereetsi & the Natives has also collaborated on recording and stage performance with US jazz band, Anthony Stanco and the Crucial Elements. It has played the Hamptons International Jazz Festival, the Maun International Arts Festival, inaugural Kgalagadi Jazz festival in Kuruman, South Africa, the Mahika Mahikeng Jazz festival in Mafikeng, South Africa and the Cultural Calabash Festival in Durban, South Africa.