Sax’ appeal

Leungo Mokgwathi

Fabulous Fino and his super sax

Seven years ago, Kabelo Diphatsa, a music teacher at Donga JSS in Francistown, planted a seed in the heart of a 13-year-old Fino Dambe.

That seed has since blossomed into a flourishing talent.

Now 20, the youngster, known as Fino Dee in music circles, is fast making a name for himself for his show-stopping ability with the saxophone.

Already in his short career, the young saxophonist has worked with heavy-hitters such as Chef Gustos and Ozi F Teddy, impressing with his command of the ancient Belgian instrument.

“I do not think I would have fallen in love with music the way I did if I hadn’t met Mr Diphetsa, who was my music teacher then,” reflects Fino in an exclusive interview with Voice Entertainment this week.

Introduced to the soothing sounds of jazz by the school band, Fino eventually set his sights on the saxophone after seeing other students playing it.

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With zero skill but a heart on fire, he nagged his mother to get him his first saxophone; she eventually caved-in in 2019 – and the rest is history!

He is a proudly self-taught saxophonist, graduating from the University of YouTube.

“Everything I know, I learnt from watching videos and practicing different notes until I got them right.”

After two years of tireless practice, with countless hours spent in his bedroom honing his craft, by 2021, he dared to take his sound to the world, unaware but hopeful of the opportunities that awaited him.

“I slid into Chef Gustos’ Direct Messenger and sent him a few of my videos. He was impressed, so he sent me an e-wallet to come by his studio and we cooked up a Seherero song,” reveals Fino.

“Since then I have had the honour of working with DJ Da Vinci and Fella On the Beat who actually introduced me to Ozi F Teddy.”

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Fino features in the rapper’s highly anticipated ten-track ‘I am summer’ album, something he describes as his biggest achievement yet.

While his journey might appear to have been all rosy, he admits there have been some thorns that threatened his penetration into the industry.

“My biggest hurdle has definitely been the risk of exploitation. As an upcoming artist, many people want to use you without any pay simply because they can tell you are desperate.”

Another setback, which Fino believes stagnates Botswana’s creative industry, is a lack of support for the arts.

“I dream of a Botswana that fully recognizes and supports the arts and their potential for economic growth and development,” says Fino, echoing sentiments felt by many.

Besides the saxophone, he is a self-taught drummer, pianist and vocalist.

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“I am driven by passion and strongly believe that my dreams are valid; that inspires me to knock and kick down doors in search of ears that are willing to listen and give my craft a chance.”

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