It’s impossible to think about the history of Botswana’s music and entertainment industry without considering Eric Ramco’s contribution to it’s artistry and landscape. As the founder of Ramco Loco he created a home for Botswana’s biggest acts such as 3rd Mind, Eskimos, Matsieng, Machesa and Scar, and honed their skills to create a well oiled machine that thrived in collaborations as well as solo.
Under Ramco Loco artists crossed genres and boundaries - Hip Hop, Borankana and Kwaito merged to create classics. It was a time before artists began to distrust and distance themselves from record labels; a time when record execs were more interested in creating substantial, long lasting work instead of carelessly produced forgettable bops.
“Under Ramco Records, Batswana were sure of rich songs with a strong Setswana culture and language influence which included Tinto” wrote The Midweek Sun.
Tinto by Matsieng hit the airwaves unlike anything we’d ever seen and has probably only been rivalled by ATI’s Khiring Khorong on the scale of influence and reverence.
It balanced the tongue in cheek way of traditional Setswana poetry/Borankana with the very real concept of fuckboys and deadbeat dads.
There was cheating, a broke man and threats of violence - It was a well deserved drag and we all love a good scandal.
Tinto was the kind of guy whose own family would think twice about burying him.
Over the last decade Eric Ramco relocated to South Africa, apparently to seek greener pastures, and during that time the landscape of music in Botswana changed drastically. Hip Hop slowly but surely crept in and took over, traditional music artists, who he seemed to have a real knack for cultivating, more or less disappeared into the abyss, with only a few household names surviving the cultural changes, and artist sales more or less ceased to exist as many failed to balance exposure against exploitation. Nobody wanted to buy CDs when they could easily be Whatsapped music.
The strong catalogue Ramco Loco had built was pushed to oldies radio station RB1 and the world kept turning.
A 2016 article from Weekend Post stated that Ramco had returned to Botswana to join hands with entertainment heavyweight Seabelo Modibe in a bid to save traditional music, and perhaps that’s the reason behind the establishment of his YouTube page on which he’s taken it upon himself to archive Borankana hits and bodies of work.
It’s mainly Matsieng, Kganka and Machesa albums with a few 3rd Mind and Qani bops, as well as exclusive interviews and behind the scenes footage of times gone by. For those seeking to spark a bout of nostalgia or simply learn about the landscape and influences of Botswana’s traditional music, this would be a great introduction.