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Lawyer Chokhotho reviews Namadingo’s ‘Wazgolenge’: ‘It is a brilliant song’

BY TAMANDO CHOKHOTHO

I've listened to Wazgolenge more than 5 times already. First time 'twas on the phone and it didn't do the song much justice. But I could still tell that this was a brilliant song. Then I listened to it on a proper sound system.

I must confess I have a deep liking for Tumbuka songs. Tumbuka and Zulu gospel songs move me in a certain way that no other language can. This is probably the hangover effect of the Mhango Salvation Singers on me and what drove me to a deep love for Wambali Mkandawire's music.


The minor chords that dominate in most of the Tumbuka hymns and traditional songs together with the high pitch notes sang soulfully have a way of getting to my core.

Wazgolenge is a successful fusion of that mellow rock and a typical Tumbuka sound. The percussions have a funky touch punctuated by a reverbing clash cymbal that delivers an emphatic effect at the opening of the chorus. The little pauses in the rhythm of the percussions give the song somewhat a live effect. I bet a live performance of the song would be captivating.  It’s a song that can easily gain international appeal

One thing that [Patience] Namadingo seems to be mastering now is movement in his songs. In this one, he uses the heavy bass line to mark the various movements in the song as he moves between the verse and the chorus. The execution is almost flawless.

It is notable that the musician is changing his sound a bit. He's moving away from the sound that was dominated by the acoustic guitar and is now relying more on the electric guitar as the lead instrument. In the new productions the jazz organ and acoustic piano sounds seem not to be in use much and more synthetic sounds are being preferred. That is quite daring as the musician is pushing himself out of his comfort zone and proving his versatility.

I recall several years ago after he had released Msati mseke, Mozimira and a few other songs, I had commented that it was time for him to flirt with other sounds and he seems to be successfully doing that.

That said, Maury is also a good song. The dominant marimba sound kind of gives it an African feel and the melody is pretty catchy. It's a song that revellers would loudly sing along to and I have no doubt would do well in clubs and at concerts alike.

Sakaka on the other hand is a song that you probably wouldn't fall in love with on a first listen. However, it grows on you. You listen to it several times and you find yourself singing along or playing it over and over in your head.

In the past, I had tried to appreciate the pasada (sic) beat. The monotony used to bother me. The pauses and fill in drum rolls in Sakaka take away the monotony and the melody is lively. Just like Maury, it's a song that that would do well with revellers and at live concerts.

Of the three songs, I would score Wazgolenge highest. We will be lucky if he will be able to surpass this song by the end of this year.

 

 

 

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