Sho Madjozi – Huku
I think, by now, everyone and their hip grandmother knows what gqom is, especially after Babes Wodumo’s Wololo graced the soundtrack to Black Panther. I have been digging that sound for quite a while now and have been half-praying that it sweeps into the Kenyan scene with something localized. Sure, I have sampled one half-hearted attempt at Swahili gqom on my Soundcloud stream recently ( I forget by whom), but it seems we have already been beaten to it by the owners down south. Gathering momentum from her feature in Omalumkoolkat’s Gqi and Dumi Hi Phone, Sho Madjozi has blessed us with Huku. I can’t even complain.
JHMJams – Slow Down (Lights Follow Cover)
Now, I’m not big on reality shows, the (scripted to death) American ones at least. I think I die a little inside when I have to look at a screen showing something from E! or Bravo. This SNL sketch summarizes them so well. That being said, the one reality show I’m REALLY into lately is Netflix/Fuji TV’s Terrace House.
The format is simple enough – six strangers move into a house and start living together. It can seem mundane at first but you’ll hardly notice how and when it becomes addictive. Watch this show, seriously!!
I was stoked to get wind of this orchestral version of the most popular opening theme song from the series by the talented folks at JHMJams. The original version is below.
My advice on the best order of consuming the 4 separate series so far:
- Start with Boys x Girls Next Door Week 1 – 44
- Boys x Girls in the City
- Aloha State
- Continue Boys x Girls Next Door at will
- Opening New Doors
Pompi – Kapena
I think gospel/gospel-leaning music is at its best when it is grounded in reality. It becomes much more relatable when it does not divorce itself from the flaws of its creator (ie. a human being, for the time being). In these conditions, there is less need to pegionhole such music as either secular or gospel. In this grey zone, some hella great love songs can be made.
Zambia’s Pompi checks into this zone with Kapena, about letting go of one’s fears and allowing themselves to experience the vulnerability that comes with falling in love. Malawi’s Suffix also comes through with Mkazi wa Kumwamba, about defying society’s expectations about marriage and tribe for a relationship that’s worth it.
Suffix – Mkazi wa Kumwamba ft. Faith Mussa
Phum Viphurit – Long Gone
These two songs are kindred spirits of sorts, each taking on the subject of transitioning from childhood to adulthood in their own way. Phum Viphruit’s Long Gone centers on the uncertainity and confusion of the process. Poor Dettol mums and dads. Before you know it, those cute and adorable toddlers are hit by adolescence like a two ton truck. Slowly but surely, they slip away from your grasp and become their own person. Viphruit’s verses cater for both the letting go and the holding on, with an adorable pubescent music video to boot.
Canadian indie band Men I Trust prefer the nostalgic route on Tailwhip. The carefree fumbling and even the cringeworthy moments of childhood is finally adding up to something. “We’ll be alright / This country dog won’t die in the city.”
For my niece, on her very first day of boarding school.
Men I Trust – Tailwhip
Ryo Fukui – Early Summer
I chanced upon this last year after giving in to YouTube’s determined suggestion that I play it for weeks on end. Epic does not even come close to describing Ryo Fukui’s Early Summer, off his 1976 masterpiece debut Scenery. The album as a whole gets even more astonishing in its awesomeness once you learn that this was the product of someone who had only began teaching himself to play the piano six years earlier at the age of 22.
In the first half, Fukui plays with the joyfully frenetic energy and urgency of one experiencing his first proper artistic summer. The drum break in the middle acts as the bridge to a more laid back second half which puts the finishing touches to the scenery Fukui paints with his keys. RIP.
Walanguzi x Nonini x Lord Shiree – Bunge
I understand why many folks are still stuck on early 2000s Kenyan hip hop. Things were much more raw, creative and, honestly, much less industrial that the stuff dominating media today. Take this track by Lord Shiree, Nonini and Walanguzi for example. Just a bunch of guys taking it outside and rapping. No more, no less.
Wakimbizi – Hallo Hallo
Wakimbizi had a knack for out-of-the-box guerilla-style music videos, which was probably the only thing that could work for their equally zany lyrics. On Hallo Hallo, a forced blind date turns out to a sort of catfish situation, or something… What the devil was this song really about?