Meet Emily Dangwa, the opera lover

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Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - The sound of Naija music, R’n’B, rock, dancehall, hip hop, pop, Afro pop, jazz and house music is enormously appreciated by the young people of this generation across the Southern African region.

The genres have become part of the arts culture in the region leaving no space for classic and opera music among other less common genres.

However, for Namibia-born Tanzanian songstress, Emily Dangwa (32), opera music is the one that gets her thrilled.

Her voice being an instrument in the genre, the 32-year old mother of three released her debut album in December dubbed Confession of A Woman.

“Opera music is slowly being appreciated in Namibia. The genre is not that popular compared to other genres. This is mainly because many people are not away of the genre. However, when they hear or watch opera live acts, they quickly fall in love with the genre. The same applies for other countries where I have performed across the Southern Africa region,” said Emily.

“Well, the album is basically that confession of a woman is the cycle of love. Starting from butterflies in your stomach when you see potential for the first time; falling in love with this special someone; perspective of where you are in life – not really for long term commitment; fighting your mind and heart to let it go; finally saying goodbye – after time reminiscing about the past; asking God for strength to move on; acceptance; forgiveness; ready to love again.  Then the cycle begins again,” said Emily.

She said the album is the first which has songs that she has composed on her on. Before the album, the songstress recorded several songs, including some that she did not compose.

The album carries eight songs namely,  Butterflies, Falling in Love, Fear of It All, Don’t Let Me Go, Saying Goodbye, Once Upon a Time, Give Me a Reason, Loving You Was Amazing, and a bonus trek called Lovers and Friends which features DJ Desertstorm.  

Emily’s passion for opera music developed when she was a teenager even though from a tender age she has always loved music in all genres.

“My love for opera music compelled me to study opera music at the University of Cape Town. It took me seven years to complete the course because opera music involves a lot of techniques, from voice development, coordination, control and blending with the orchestra and so on. My voice is soprano and such vocals need attention. I have a soprano voice and such vocals require a lot of effort,” said Emily.

“I love the genre so much that when I perform, I get lost in the moment to the extent that I might not hear people clapping after the act. Some of the audience reaction I will only see it when I play a recorded video.”

The 32-year old talent has performed in Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, France, the Philippines and eSwatini. This year she intends to do more shows across the African continent to make people familiarise with opera music.

Her passion for the genre saw her establish a music college where she teaches opera music and has piano classes.

Since opera music is not that popular in Namibia and across the region, it is a challenge for Emily to have a manager or agent who understands the genre. As a result, she operates without a manager.

“Balancing my music, teaching music, being a mum and a wife can only be done by God’s grace. Doing all these duties and responsibilities without a manager is even worse, it needs hard work and commitment to ensure all is done. I am a mother of three lovely boys; a nine-year-old and a pair of twins. I have to also make sure that they are well taken care of,” she said.

 

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