Check out The Jazz Shed With Sereetsi on Gabz FM

Did you know that Sereetsi is a radio presenter? He presents The Jazz Shed With Sereetsi on leading Botswana private radio station, Gabz FM, on Sundays 6PM - 9PM. He has been doing the show for a little over a year now playing a mix of jazz styles, world music and blues.

"The show celebrates the live music scene in Botswana and internationally. It celebrates great musicianship and the live music culture and its various role players like musicians, producers, engineers, promoters, arts activists and arts journalism. It also recognises the most important driver of the music scene - the music lover. I allow music lovers to share their favourite records and share their joy for the music with fellow listeners through a segment called Top 6 @ 6," Sereetsi says.

The show is a platform for conversations on the arts in general. He says that this is important to ensure that the arts increasingly gain traction as an economic growth area deserving of increased government and corporate investment as it has huge potential to employ many people.

"I recognise that we are all a big family in the arts. I host fine artists, theatre people, dance artists, film makers and many other creatives. We need all arts to grow and its in our best interest to show it to the listeners and the powers that be that we are more similar than different. If we grow all arts then the benefits for us and for society will be exponential," he says.

The challenge has been that sometimes he has to miss two or three weeks of the show due to touring.

"Gabz FM management has been very supportive. I have had colleagues filling in for me. It's a fun gig," he says.

On a lighter note, it has been awkward spinning his own music on the show.

"Not anymore. Lets face it, Sereetsi & The Natives is one of the leading acts in this music bracket in Botswana. There is no way I can do this show without playing my music now and then. And listeners do request my music too. I don't have to feel that I am unduly putting myself on an undeserved pedestal," he says.

You can stream TheJazz Shed With Sereetsi on  Sundays here: www.gabzfm.com.

Gigging in the Time of Covid19

For the first time, Sereetsi & The Natives last week hosted a resoundingly successful live online concert dubbed Serubing Live Session.

"I had my first Facebook Live concert on my artist page that was a resounding success. It went for well over 1hour 30 minutes. The demand for another one was huge. As part of the concerts, I am sharing words of encouragement as well messages from health officials. I have also contributed to the Covid19 campaign on Botswana government Facebook page," says Sereetsi.

Sereetsi says the Covid19 lockdown means that artists cannot earn a living. The online concert is part of an effort to raise a buck and hopefully, be able to also contribute to the Botswana national Covid19 Relief Fund.

"I am planning the next Facebook Live concert for Thursday 23 April 2020 at 730PM. The concert series is called Serubing Live Session 2. The first was Serubing Session 1. Music lovers can tune into the live concert by liking and following my artist page so that they alerted of the performances when they happen. This is the link to the Sereetsi & The Natives artist page, https://www.facebook.com/SereetsiTheNatives/" he says.

It is also an opportunity to create new music and strategise for the new post-Covid19 environment.

"As they say "adapt or die", it is time to prime myself not to be left behind in the ensuing new business normal. I will be hosting online concerts for as long as the lockdown continues. People need music to take their spirits off the gloom and doom of Covid19. If I may add, it is time artists explored the potential revenue avenue that is the online world. While the old way will still be most important, the silver lining with Covid19 is that we are forced to realise the potential of the internet and to make it work economically for us," he says.

Sereetsi adds that the lockdown provides him a chance to spend time with family, recharge his batteries and reflect on my work and my place in the world.

 

Covid19 Blues

Sereetsi & The Natives started 2020 with a performance in Netherlands at the Utrecht Tourism Fair in January and was billed to perform at ITB in Berlin, Germany, in March. On return from Germany, he was scheduled to play Hamptons Jazz Festival alongside other stars from six African countries. Then head out to Maun for the colourful African Attire on Fleek festival. 

Despite the year having just started, Sereetsi was already booked for festivals and gigs in Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Lesotho and Sweden. That was until Covid19 wrecked havoc across the world! 

"There were also corporate gigs in the form of conferences and product launches. Everything has ben cancelled. There is no guarantee that events that have postponed to the end of the year will actually happen," says Sereetsi. 'We are however hopeful that the disease will be contained soon so that we get to work". 

 

Who is Sereetsi & The Natives?

Sereetsi is the composer, guitarist, producer, arranger and singer behind the music.

The Natives are the supporters, the fans and the audience.

The 'natives' refers to the fact that the foundation of the Sereetsi & The Natives product is the musical heritage of the native cultures of Botswana. It is an acknowledgement by Sereetsi that his songwriting and production exploits the sonic and rhythmic templates that have been handed down orally over generations of the people of Botswana. The native is not only an individual native to Botswana. The term also refers to anyone at any particular moment who connects with the sound and spirit of the music.

Sereetsi & the Natives is a refreshing unique voice in the World Music arena. The act's strong songwriting and performance in its debut album, Four String Confessions (April 2015) and its sophomore studio outing, Motoko (April 2018), present a fearless sound that blends traditional Botswana rhythms with influences such as jazz, pop, blues and classical music. At the heart of the Sereetsi & The Natives’ sound is the signature sound and unique tradition of the Tswana four string folk guitar.

The debut album yielded four Botswana Music Awards in 2016 - Best Single, Best Male Artist, Best Folk Album and Best Newcomer. Sereetsi & The Natives boasts of a steadily growing international performance credit.

 


2019 - What a year!

Sereetsi & The Natives closed off 2019 by putting on a spectacular showing at one of Africa’s biggest festive season musical extravaganzas, The Vic Falls Carnival in Zimbabwe (December 30, 2019). This followed a second mini-tour of Sweden with 6 dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg in September 2019. The act started 2019 bringing the house down at the internationally acclaimed Bushfire Festival in eSwatini (May 24, 2019) with a riveting stage performance before heading out to Europe to play the Whitsun Heritage Festival in Hungary (June 9, 2019).

Still in June 2019, Sereetsi & The Natives thrilled audiences in Nairobi, Kenya playing the Artistic Encounters Series at the Goethe Institut on June 26th 2019 and the popular Thursday Nite Live at J’s Westlands on June 27th 2019. Some of the act’s other international performances to date include a stop-over in Chicago, USA (2016), dates in Stockholm, Sweden (2016) and a showing at Planetta World Music Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden (2016).

Sereetsi & The Natives has also starred at Ake Arts & Book Festival, Lagos, Nigeria (2018), Sesolo Festival in Mozambique (2018) and in South Africa; the Moshito Street Festival (2018), Mahika Mahikeng Jazz Festival (2018, 2016 & 2015), Kgalagadi Jazz Festival (2016 & 2017) and the Cultural Calabash Fest in Durban (2015). The act has also played the International Jazz Day Concerts in Namibia (April 2019) and further embarked on a 10 date tour of South Africa in 2016.

In Botswana, Sereetsi & The Natives has headlined all the major live music festivals and continues to maintain a busy corporate gig schedule. The act headlined the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week in August 2016 with US/SA smooth jazz star, Jonathan Butler, and returned in 2018 alongside Musiq Soulchild. And is set to headline the 2020 edition on August 29, 2020. Sereetsi & the Natives has also played the Maitisong Arts Festival, Maun International Arts Festival, The Hamptons International Jazz Festival (and has been booked to headline the 2020 edition on March 28th), BNSC Awards, Mascom Live Sessions, Son of The Soil and the President’s Concert, the three-day Okavango Delta Music Festival. Sereetsi & The Natives has shared the stage with, among others, Anthony Hamilton, Zahara, Selaelo Selota, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Jonas Gwangwa, Stimela & Ray Phiri and Freshlyground, among many others. In 2017, Sereetsi collaborated with Zambian star Mumba Yachi and South African bassist and singer AusTebza in a project called Kgalagadi Soul that played festivals in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Gaborone, Mafikeng and Durban.

Sereetsi is also considered a pioneer on the cultural landscape in Botswana. His 83 page guitar instructional book/ CD on his native folk guitar tradition entitled The Solo Four String Guitar of Botswana is a ground breaking first.

 
 
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.