Jackson Wahengo – Namibia’s most celebrated guitarist – plays music heavily rooted in the African tradition, blended with contemporary urban sounds and strong influences of jazz, zouk and reggae – Afropop/folk in a new shape and form – a musical fusion that has proven attractive to the audiences.
Through his debute album in 2012 “Akutu Hewa“, Jackson Wahengo has placed Namibia on the world music map. His music has its very own sense of rhythm expressed in strong harmonies and skilful guitar riffs, typical for southern Africa and yet blended with ultra-contemporary sounds and flavour 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 come together as one, reflecting experience and depth. The result is an infectious and groovy mix of contemporary Afropop and folk that is yet genuinely universal.
The songs are performed in Oshiwambo, Jackson’s mother tongue, and the lyrics are poetically telling stories about contemporary and traditional Namibian society and politics, building on old Owambo proverbs.
Jackson Wahengo is Namibian and is based in Copenhagen, Denmark since 2015 and previously 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 bands in Namibia and South Africa and a at a number of prominent festivals, including the well-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.