Jackson Wahengo is a highly skilled Namibian guitarist and singer, currently based in Geneva, Switzerland. Which, we suppose, explains why all the musicians and dancers rocking out in the neon-lit warehouse that provides the backdrop for his new music video “Eeloli” seem so incredibly, well, Swiss.
Jackson has a border-crossing personal history, which seems to have had lasting effects on his musical choices: he was born in Zambia, raised in Angola and Congo Brazzaville, studied guitar in South Africa and Namibia before moving to Switzerland. While Jackson sings in his mother tongue, Oshiwambo, his music is inspired by West African highlife, Congolese soukous and Caribbean zouk. While the tune almost edges into the dreaded territory of “world-beat,” the music is saved from potential corniness by Jackson’s energetic, spit-fire vocals, which he doubles with rich harmonies and punctuates with joyful guitar licks. A clean horn section adds brightness to the song, while a pulsing low-end and punch-through snare riddim add enough electro-grit to link the music to the hipper sounds of today’s African popular music. The rest of the record is due out later this year, and we are all ears.