Current conditions stunt local musicians from thriving internationally – Kearoma Rantao
- “Our musicians need to be paid well to do a good job.”
- Says the fact that rates for local artists are negotiated and not as fixed and guaranteed as those of foreign artists implies that local musicians are not good enough.
Current conditions in the local music industry like low booking rates by agents and organizations make it difficult for local artists to thrive and penetrate the international market.
This is according to Afro Jazz songbird Kearoma Rantao, currently touring America, who says poor booking rates in Botswana hinder the growth of local musicians and reflects poor appreciation of talent by both booking agents and organizations.
“International artists are doing well and are paid handsomely more especially in Botswana as far as I know. That helps them to grow bigger…as opposed to us…It’s a big challenge and I think it will take us a few more years to catch up with the world,” she said.
She says the fact that rates for local artists are negotiated and not as fixed and guaranteed as those of foreign artists implies that local musicians are not good enough. Live bands cost more than back track acts and most of our clients at times do not understand the difference, which makes it more difficult,” she told Time Out.
Rantao said while it may not be easy to penetrate the international market, it helps if one believes and has big dreams for their work, works hard and establishes contacts outside the country. In her trip in America, she performed at Embassy of Botswana in Washington D.C and in Huston two days ago. “Travel is important for an artist, you get inspired to make new materials as you interact with other artists and exposed to new environments,” she added.
As part of the inspiration and networking in the trip, Rantao said she was collaborating for a song with Italian guitarist Daniel Trucchio who helped her record at Barkely Music College, one of the top music schools in America. She also revealed that her CD was selling “like hot cakes” and that she was receiving positive feedback all round, including getting invitations to relocate and work in the country. “There are so many opportunities here for African artists, people just love our music and who knows, it might help to consider working for a few years from America, a lot of West African artists are based here by the way,” she said.