On a trip to the Sossusvlei area, where there are huge dunes, we saw Dead Vlei, an ancient river bed.
The interviews in this book tell the musician’s fascinating stories of growing up in rural and urban Namibia. They capture the extreme difficulties, and the rewards of carving out musical careers in a beautiful, desert-like country of immense diversity.
The musicians lived with the reality of apartheid and the intense struggle for Namibian independence. They pursued their passion for music through listening, performing, teaching and studying music.
The interviews included Jackson Kaujeua, “Namibian music legend,” and Minette Mans, internationally known music educator and researcher. The stories ranged from music’s role in the independence struggle, to village ritual music and dance, to international travel to perform and teach, to singing in church choirs. Preserving traditional Namibian music was a theme throughout the interviews.
MYRNA CAPP holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, and is Assistant Professor of music at Seattle Pacific University where she teaches piano and piano pedagogy. Active in presenting research on African music at national and international conferences, Dr. Capp has also lectured in music, performed and done research in Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. She is author of the book, “Keeping the Embers Alive: Musicians of Zimbabwe” (Africa World Press, 2008)
GRAYSON CAPP holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Oregon Health Science University in Portland, and has done post-doctoral research at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina. As a Professor of Biochemistry, he has lectured in the States, South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Grayson has a passion for photography and travel.
Myrna and Grayson were both volunteers for IFESH (The International Foundation for Education and Self-Help) at the University of Namibia in Windhoek. They are currently based in Seattle.
“During the last twenty years my office has viewed a constant stream of proposals from prospective volunteers, and as far as possible, we have tried to assist in making meaningful links. It is however not often that we encounter people of the Capp’s caliber, who have critical minds, are well informed, and are generous in imparting their knowledge. During her stay, Myrna interacted with a wide range of artists, transferred her skills and enriched many lives through her piano performances and uplifting encounters. This book, with its moving narratives on the lives and work of some of our most prominent artists, and apt images skillfully captured by Grayson, is tangible evidence of the effort they both made to make their stay in Namibia memorable not only for themselves, but also for others. We thank them for the valuable contribution made to the documentation of our cultural heritage.” - Retha-Louise Hofmeyr, Director of Arts: Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport & Culture
“Myrna Capp offers an inspirational insider’s view of the unique personal contexts and cultural dynamics shaping the diverse realities of contemporary Namibian music practitioners. She provides the direct perspective of a seasoned ethnomusicologist who genuinely appreciates the history behind the music of Namibia’s performers.” - Hercules Viljoen, Head of the Visual & Performing Arts Department (2002-2011), UNAM
“Dr. Capp once again opens our eyes and ears to the musical landscape of Namibia. Not only do you get a sense of the beauty of Namibia through photographs, but the context in which music thrives through succinct insightful interviews of important musicians.” - William Chapman-Nyaho, Ghanaian-American pianist and independent scholar