A programme by Performing Arts Fund NL to promote Dutch music, theatre and dance abroad.
2 Aug. '18

Recap of inJazz 2018: Shishani & Namibian Tales

Shishani Vranckx - Shishani & Namibian Tales at inJazz 2018
In June this year Dutch Performing Arts commissioned a special Dutch World Stage at networking and showcase festival inJazz, in collaboration with World Music Forum NL. Four Dutch acts presented themselves to an audience of Dutch and international music lovers and presenters. How do they look back on their performance? And what does the future hold for them?
Dutch Performing Arts caught up with Shishani & Namibian Tales. The cosmopolitan group is made up of vocalist/ songwriter/ guitarist Shishani Vranckx, percussionist Sjahin During, vocalist/ mbira and kora player Debby Korfmacher, and cellist Bence Huszar. The band combines the little-known but rich tradition of Shishani’s native land Namibia with Western influences as pop, soul and jazz. Last month the group released their second album Kalahari Encounters.

Sjahin, what did playing at inJazz mean to you?
Sjahin: ‘We really enjoyed the concert, we played well and the place was packed from the start. It was our last tryout before our Kalahari Encounters tour through Europe with four San nomadic women from the Kalahari desert, South Africa. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tour as the singers are literally only going to do this once in their lives. They arrived in the Netherlands a couple of days after inJazz and our first show was at the Amsterdam Roots Festival. We felt a lot of people at inJazz came to see us because they already knew about this project, so we were happy to give them a sneak preview. A real highlight was Aga Who, a song that is mainly driven by a pulsating dance.’

How has the support of Dutch Performing Arts been of help to you?
‘Being able to do a show on a stage powered by Dutch Performing Arts and showcasing songs from our new album at inJazz gave us the possibility to create extra exposure for our Kalahari Encounters tour and to put ourselves out there as much as possible.
We’re also very happy we got support from the Performing Arts Fund NL to make this tour possible.'

What happened after your show?
’We got nice feedback, especially from fellow musicians. It makes us even more excited to continue playing songs from our album. Our show at inJazz last year resulted in two bookings. We know how to make the most out of these showcases and also frequently do showcases abroad. It usually takes a bit more time to really see the opportunities that follow from our gigs.'

Shishani, what does the future hold for your music?
Shishani: ‘As a musician I really try to innovate and reinvent myself. When we started the band three years ago I wouldn’t have thought of making the music we’re making now. It’s like being on a spaceship and discovering another planet. It makes my life as a musician unpredictable and I like that. My goal is to keep on writing beautiful music and, like I said, you can’t predict how it will evolve. I like collaborations like Kalahari Encounters: You're introduced to other ideas, musical worlds and sounds.

To keep inspired I like to go to concerts a lot and pay attention to how other people are playing, like which pedals they use, and discover sounds I have never heard before. One of my recent moments of inspiration was at the concert of House of Waters at the International Music Meeting Festival in Nijmegen. As soon as my ears caught the sounds of this New York trio I ran to the front of the stage and was immediately hooked on their performance. It was completely mesmerizing. These kind of experiences keep me on my toes and encourage me to keep growing as a person and as a musician.’

Visuals and text: Robbie van Zoggel

We also met up with the group shortly before their performance at inJazz. Check out the video below for a heart-to-heart about how music connects people with different backgrounds and stories.

Also check out our interviews with Tabanka and Lingua Franca Ensemble
Sjahin During - Shishani & Namibian Tales at inJazz 2018
Shishani Vranckx - Shishani & Namibian Tales at inJazz 2018