I have always thought Benta was a name given to a specific kind of girl.It’s not a name in my opinion you give to a city girl.Benta in my mind has been that girl from the village who is insanely pretty everywhere she goes.She is the village girl who learns fast the ways of the cruel city…sounds like the plot to a movie.
Anyway let’s talk about the song Benta.This is another one from Chris Adwar and the Villagers Band.The single dropped on my birthday(yes,find out the release date,and guess what I am still accepting gifts) and in true Villagers’ style got everyone up on their feet.The song is about a man looking for a girl Benta and telling her that he loves her,he misses her and that he wants to be with her all the days of his life.The song plays around with girls names from different communities to make it inclusive of everyone.
I decided to listen to the song again this week and I could not help but smile.My Kamba brothers and sisters, thank you for creating such music and allowing the rest of us to enjoy it!There is that distinct guitar,the bass the drums and my favourite part the high hat.I love the cultural influences that are present in this song.
The arrangement does not sound that difficult but trust me you need skills to play the guitar that fast.Infact this set is so energy packed that you need to have eaten well to keep the tempo going.The Villagers Band has no doubt cemented their place as a music machine that has always played live and most of them can sing and perform giving them a rich unique sound.
The band has come a long way since their first album Nofork Hotel with them being among the pioneers of Afro fusion on the Kenyan music scene.That being said here is what I really think.The song is nothing special.It’s fine,it feels good but it’s nothing spectacular.It sounds the way their songs usually do,the ones you have heard at their concerts.
Looking at the profile of the band,all I see is Chris Adwar.Lead singer,songwriter,producer.That can be a good thing and a bad thing.
A distinct sound should be unique not monotonous. Chris and the band sound a certain way.A way that points to the fact that they have plateaud.You want to listen to a seasoned band suprise you.You want to hear different collaborations.We want our favourite band to go outside their comfort zones.That being said I realise it’s hard to separate Chris as a solo artist and him as part of the Villagers Band.Their songs obviously have Chris written all over them and I am curious about their creative process.Is there a song not done by Chris?
Chris as a solo artist has a type.Atemi,Chizi,Kanjii,Aaron Rimbui which is not a bad thing.He makes magic with a specific kind of artist but in my opinion plays it safe.All the above mentioned do a style of music that he is familiar with and as such ends up not really stretching himself.I know he has tried experimenting with EDM(electronic dance music) but sir, auto tune is not your friend…don’t overdo it .
From the Bengenge album,which is the Villagers Band sophomore album two songs that show how versatile Chris can be are Mr.Blindman and Look in my Direction.Push the boundaries,work with other people,let others write and arrange the music,Chris.That should catapult you and the band to higher levels.
All in all,ukimwona Benta mwambie namtafuta.
Listen to the song on Soundcloud.Look for Chris Adwar-BENTA.