Chicito, One of the Greatest Musical Ensembles of All Times

Considered by many as one of the greatest musical pop ensemble in the unwritten history of local music, the now defunct pop musical band Chicito, has undoubtedly left a legacy in the historica annals of local music for generations to come.

Arriving in the then South West Africa in 1973, for several live gigs in the Namibian commercial capital, Windhoek, complimented by further live performances in Walvis Bay and Rehoboth, little did the 5-piece band know that they would eventually take permanent refuge in the land of the brave.

Although he only joined the band at a later stage, Namibia’s most adored musician, Whani Jansen, who hailed from Worcester, in the Cape Province, became an integral part of Chicito, forming a telepathic partnership with the band’s lead vocalist, Squad Louw, better known as “Squakes” in musical circles.

The band consisted of Squana Louw (lead vocalist) Kooper Klassen (Drums) Kapeiks Mouton (keyboards) Dougie Jansen (bass) Fanboy Panizza (lead guitar) Whani Jansen (vocals) and Wilfie Heufel (keyboards). Chicito’s favourite hunting ground used to be the Beer Garden, a section of Star Hotel in Khomasdal, and the Desert Inn Hotel (Narraville, Walvis Bay). In the absence of pubs and clubs – revelers would brave the cold nights to squeeze their bodies into the roofless dance floor at the popular Beer Garden, as Squakes and company let the opposite sex scream from the top of their lungs shouting ENCOR – ENCOR – ENCOR!.

“In those days, blacks had limited access to facilities such as recording studios. As a result, the band had to depend on cover versions mostly from established international bands like the Beatles, Ottis Redding, Barry White, Grand Funk, Richard Jon Smith, Deep Purple and the like,” recalls Whani with a twinkle in his eyes.

“As young and enthusiastic musicians, we were never really bothered by money because the mere fact of being a band member was enough to motivate us. Apart from Windhoek, we used to perform to big audiences in towns such as Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Rehoboth, Luderitz, Arandis and Walvis Bay.”

As has become customary practice with musical bands, Chicito underwent a facelift with the arrival of Oupa Gert van Schalkwyk (bass) Ivan “Pro” Henry (drums) and Cedric Julius (vocals). Chicito made several appearances at high profile live musical events, including the much sought after “Battle of the Bands” in Cape Town, where they finished third, and also performed to large crowds in places like Namkwaland, Upington and Kuruman. Whani and Kooper are the only surviving members of the now defunct Chicito band.

Source : New Era