Monday, 1 March 2010

GAL LEVEL BARES IT ALL...



Namibian girl duo Gal Level that is recorded by Kenyan record label Ogopa DJ's gave an interview recently. Daphne Willibard and Frieda Haindaka talked about the musical race and the awards that have won and been nominated to.
“We are making music for Africa,” Frieda who seems to be the outspoken of the two declared this week when they were going round media houses for interviews.
 “That’s why we get nominated for international awards,” she adds referring to the duo’s recent Kora Africa music award nomination. “Out there, it’s not a Gazza thing or Mshasho thing. It’s not about Lady May but Namibia.”
Daphne, the former banker, rolls off some of their nominations, “We were the first to be nominated for Channel O Video Awards, the first to be nominated for the MTV Base music awards and certainly the first female group to get a Kora nomination.”
It’s no mean task for any musician or artist for that matter to scale this high in just five years. In 2004, Daphne and Frieda teamed up a few years after their first group, the Dungeon Family, broke up and released their chartbuster single Shake It. With this song, they wormed their way into the murky musical waters.
But it was their second single Go Back to Her that introduced them to Africa when they were up for a Channel O award. At home, both Shake It and Go Back to Her dominated the Sanlam-NBC Music Awards in 2005.
“Gal Level are, right now, giving the guys a run for their money. We make our music differently,” laughed Daphne. “But for us it’s the image we have created that does it . . .”
“We have created a sexy, afro-chic, confident, modern yet not western image. The in-control type of thing,” explains Frieda.
“We believe women should not be too conservative or too western. They have to create a balance,” puts in Daphne.
This, the gals admit, is what has made Africa turn to look at Namibia as an emerging music powerhouse.
“It’s not only about good looks,” Frieda shoots again, “but it takes talent and we are talented. We make people remember us by our dance.”
Although they say their dance has no specific name, the gals believe it sets them apart from the rest of the brood. 
“Let’s just call it the Gal Level dance,” suggests Frieda.
And Daphne chips in, “The dance enhances the music. It makes the performance powerful. People remember us and relate to the song through the dances.”
It has worked for them because they now live off their music and they do not regret leaving their jobs.
“We always tell upcoming artists that education matters in music, that they have to create a fan base first before they opt for music full time. It’s important,” volunteers Daphne and adds that Frieda used to work in a clearing house.
Just how far true is it that they are boycotting the Sanlam-NBC Awards?
Frieda looks at Daphne and says, “It’s not like we are boycotting. The thing is our manager wanted the nomination process to be revised along international norms. But this was not heeded so we decided to wait a bit.”
“We have been nominated for several international awards now we know that artists should not fill in nomination forms and pay money. Rather the organisers nominate and inform artists,” adds Daphne.
While they have been nominated, the gals are dying to perform with the backing of a live band but only when the time is right.
“A band can break you up. Music is fragile. So we are looking for a band that understands our music . . .” that’s Daphne.
“Once we get it, then we can go live,” concludes Frieda.  
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