‘KAPITAL Ells’ drops and delights fans

Ask The Ells why ‘KAPITAL Ells’, their debut extended play (EP), has been almost a decade in the making and they’ll tell you that “good music takes time”.

On a frigid Wednesday evening, Artwell ‘Slickartie’ Neusu says as much to the crowd gathered for a pre-release listening session at The Wolfshack in Windhoek’s southern industrial area.

In the days before the session, cupcakes adorned with the ‘KAPITAL Ells’ cover art are hand-delivered to many of their long-time supporters. Despite the chill, fans show up in droves. Among them are some of the Namibian music scene’s finest.

Lioness, glamourous as ever, glides in with her husband, fashionably late. Roaring rockers Vaughn Ahrens and Riaan Smit are in the mix along with Smit’s adorable offspring. DJ Kiki sits behind me and requests that The Ells play a particular version of ‘Gingerman’, a crowd favourite. Vocal powerhouse Nasim hangs out near the courtyard and members of The Yesterdaye, The Ells’ musical brothers, sing along ardently in the front row.

On the agenda for the evening are five original tracks about love, reflection, friendship and life experience, each played twice for good measure. As the songs unfold in swells of intense emotion, epic harmonies and world class musicality, The Ells’ Emmanuel Ndifon offers a few explainers while listeners enjoy their fancy of Wolfshack’s generous cocktails and delicious eats.

The vibes, to quote the cool kids, are immaculate as is ‘Cool Kids’, the second song on The Ells’ EP.

Produced by Ndifon, written by The Ells and featuring the tracks ‘Guppie song’, ‘Cool Kids’, ‘Keeper’, ‘Gingerman’ and ‘Highway’ co-written with musician Sasha Dawe, ‘KAPITAL Ells’ is the beloved duo carving a space for themselves as singers, original songwriters and producers.

“With ‘KAPITAL Ells’, we aimed to showcase our musical and vocal talents beyond just being known as a cover band,” says Slickartie.

“We wanted to create original music that reflected our unique sound and artistic vision, allowing us to connect with our audience on a deeper level and establish our identity as original artists.”

Illuminating the name of the EP, as well as the graphics for the album, Slickartie credits the band’s enthusiasts.

“The name of the EP was inspired by our fans who always referred to us as “the boys from the city” whenever we played outside of Windhoek, especially in Swakop. So, we decided to name the EP ‘KAPITAL Ells’,” he says.

“The cover features a lovely drawing by a young girl who saw us perform at a Donkerhoek Desert Trails biking event. She drew the cat and wrote “with love, Dani” on the back. We always knew we wanted to use it. When we started this project, we thought it was the perfect time to do so.”

Describing the EP’s genre as ‘Frodie’, a portmanteau of afro and indie, Slickartie says the reaction to the drop has been great.

“To see such strong support and excitement for our music at the listening session was heartening. It meant a lot to us, as it validated our hard work and creativity and reinforced our connection with our fans.”

While listening session attendees were enthusiastic about all five tracks, ‘Gingerman’ and ‘Highway’ were the stars of the evening, though Slickartie is partial to ‘Guppie song’.

“We think people are loving ‘Gingerman’ and ‘Highway’ because of their catchy melodies, relatable lyrics and the energetic vibe that resonates well with our audience,” says Slickartie.

“These songs capture the essence of our style and the spirit of the EP.”
The Ells are currently distributing limited edition physical copies of ‘KAPITAL Ells’ while promoting the offering on Instagram, theellsgang.com and streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes.

In terms of what’s next, The Ells tease more live shows featuring music from the EP, at home, regionally and potentially abroad. The Ells will be performing at Goodfellas in Windhoek from 17h00 on Saturday.

“We’ve put so much time, effort and heart into creating this music, and seeing it come to life is incredibly exhilarating and fulfilling,” says Slickartie.

“The journey doesn’t stop here. We’re committed to continuing to evolve as artists and to connecting with our audience.”

– martha@namibian.com.na; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com

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