Re Batswana Music Ensemble hassle on amid funding struggles
- Ensemble set for a self funded European and China tour
- RBME will tour again next year, targeting England and USA
Re Batswana Music Ensemble (RBME)’s Managing Director of Street Horn, Soares Katumbela says the biggest challenge they faced while preparing for their upcoming September 20th to 5th October Europe/China tour was lack of funding.
He explained that because the trip is self sponsored, it was difficult for some artist’s to raise money for their flight tickets.
“When we started, the music ensemble was made up of 20 artists and now we are down to 10. Some of them dropped out because they could not afford to sponsor their own trips, a challenge we have been battling over the years,” he said.
Katumbela says they started the initiative five years ago and they wanted to have artists who were self dependent and funding from external bodies was never part of the plan. “I have since learnt that it is such a struggle for our artists to raise funds for themselves because our wish is to take everyone and expose Botswana music to the world,” he added.
In preparations for the tour, RBME had a number of performances to build momentum and raise funds for their mission. They performed at the Gaborone International Music and Cultural Week on the 27th August, they also took part at the Dr. Kim’s Memorial Charity golf tournament which was in Selebi Phikwe on the 30th July 2016. RBME facilitated donations to charitable organizations along with the Soprano Bikers and Letsatsi Renewable energy (Pty) Ltd. This past weekend RBME hosted a farewell concert that contributed to their fund raising initiative at Masa Square Hotel.
Last year, the band completed a successful tour of Sweden and Switzerland where they represented Batswana music and culture. The success of this tour has awarded Re Batswana Music Ensemble the upcoming opportunity in China, Sweden and Germany where they are booked to perform during the celebration of the Botswana’s 50th Independence day. Contrary to recent reports, Katumbela says they have not snubbed local celebrations. “We have always planned our tours in September in the past five years and our bookings have long been confirmed. We will be catering and celebrating with other Batswana outside the country,” he said.
The ensemble is collectively led by Lister Boleseng (Music director), song bird Nnunu Ramogotsi, legendary, Ndingo Johwa and the ever cheerful Lekofi Sejeso, backed by Chedza Majwabe as the backing Singer, Sakkie Nonong as the bassist, Andrew Chinganga on saxophone, Kopano Mantswe on percussions and Leroy Nyoni on drums.