- function: artist
- eMail: Please log in to see the email address.
- WOMEX 2011
Jackson Wahengo's music is heavily rooted in the African tradition, blended with contemporary urban sounds and strong influences of jazz, rumba, zouk and reggae - Afropop/folk in a new shape and form - a musical fusion that has proven attractive to the audiences.
Jackson Wahengo's music has its very own sense of rhythm expressed in strong harmonies and skillful guitar riffs, typical for southern Africa. Strongly influenced by the musical traditions of the Southern region, it is still blended with ultra-contemporary sounds and influences of jazz, rumba, zouk, reggae and traditional rhythms and song. It's a horde of influences performed in compositions full of layers and detail that in a groovy way comes together as one, reflecting experience and depth. It is a vibrant and always-evolving sound and the result is an infectious and groovy mix of contemporary Afropop and Folk that is yet genuinely universal.
The songs are mainly performed in Oshikwanyama, Jackson's mother tongue, and the lyrics are poetically telling stories about contemporary and traditional Namibian society and politics building on old Oshikwanyama proverbs.
Jackson Wahengo is Namibian and based in Geneva, Switzerland since 2008. His story however begins in Ndola, Zambia where he was born as an exile-Namibian in 1978. He spent his childhood years in Angola and Congo (Brazzaville) until Namibia gained independence in 1990. He grew up in a musical family with an early passion for song and harmony, guided by the freedom songs he sung for his country in the refugee camps of Angola. He started strumming the guitar as a teenager and later schooled as a jazz guitarist, honing his skills at the University of Cape Town.
Jackson has played with numerous prominent bands in Namibia, South Africa and Switzerland and now performs his own compositions, most recently at the well-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland (2011). As a rights activist and former refugee he has performed under UNHCR's flagship campaign "1 refugee without hope is too many" advocating for the rights of refugees. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have also provided space for Jackson Wahengo to advocate for the rights of people living with HIV through his music on numerous occasions including World AIDS Day. Most recently he performed pro-bono at Stockholm Pride (2011) to support the LGBT movement.
Jackson Wahengo takes opportunity to use his music as a platform to influence positive changes to protect and promote human rights for all. This is particularly true for the three issues: refugees, people living with HIV and people with alternative gender and sexual identities as they are all very hot and contemporary human rights issues for people living in Namibia and the rest of southern Africa.