For years and years Botswana had no music industry to speak of, as we relied on beats coming out of South Africa and as far afield as the US/UK for entertainment. Over the years, we also developed an unquenchable taste for Francophone and West African music but never had any music of our own.
However, over the last decade, Botswana has shown itself to have great musical talent to rival artistes within the region and beyond. There’s so much gorgeous music coming out of Botswana right now, we couldn’t not share it with you all. One song that Batswana can’t get enough of, despite it being released early this year, is Amantle Brown’s Follo Ft Juju Boy. From the moment I heard this tune, I loved it AND it just doesn’t get old!
Follo is Amantle’s single released early this year. The song has such a strong Naija music funk that you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Nigerian tune. In fact, when I first heard it, I knew it must be a home brewed track from the lyrics, but then I thought in Juju Boy, Amantle must have duetted with a Nigerian singer!
While some Batswana have seen the Naija touch as a weak point, I strongly disagree. Like Juju Boy pointed out in their explanation of the Nigerian influence, creatives including singers the world over, seek and draw inspiration from everywhere. We’ve seen the likes of Beyoncé and Rihanna do it over and over again but nobody criticises them for it. I can only commend Amantle and Juju Boy for their collaboration on Follo because they do it so convincingly, the result of which is a stunningly gorgeous song. I personally HATE Setswana rap but LOVED every aspect of Follo, which includes Setswana rap and a heavy Naija influence. I’m ecstatic to see what else this pairing has got up their creative sleeves!
Amantle explained at the time of the release;
“Yes this is my new approach to music, I have to be diverse with the sound. As you can see, Naija music is currently trending, even Americans are now on the same tip; they are capitalising on the sound. This sound is the in thing at the moment,” Amantle Brown said.
The songstress admitted that having previously worked with Botswana based Nigerian artist, Naija Boy, she developed a taste for the Nigerian sound. Amantle and Naija Boy collaborated on a track titled Mukele. Amantle Brown made it clear that she would not be giving away Follo for free, and as such, it can be purchased via digital music stores and is not available for free download.
Amantle Brown- a little background
Amantle Brown, real name Amantle Ntshole rose to fame on the local talent show, My Star on which she dazzled Batswana up and down the country. Shockingly, Amantle came nowhere near the top three! I never saw the show and don’t know the level of competition she was up against. All I know is that having seen her perform live on more than one occasion, Amantle is truly a gifted and accomplished performer who always has her audience, including me, eating out of her palm!
Amantle is from Morwa, near Mochudi. Before she released her own music, she featured on other local artistes’ music as she initially struggled to establish herself on Botswana’s fledgeling but hard to break music industry. She was the first Motswana artiste to have two songs on the Botswana Air Play Music Chart in the same week. Amantle is multi-talented and is a performer, dancer, singer and songwriter. I see her going very, very far if she keeps on track and stays focused. In my honest opinion, she has true star quality, stage presence that I can see propelling her to dizzying heights of success. I can only wish the both of them the very best for the future.
References: MmegiOnline, Amantle Brown Facebook page
Images courtesy of Amantle Brown’s Facebook page