SAINTLY SATURDAYS : ‘PENDO LA AJABU’ BY JEMIMAH THIONG’O

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Jemimah Thiong’o always feels like a mother. The one who will clean you up when the bully leaves you with a bloodied mouth. She hugs you when your first crush writes a note to your deskmate. She guides you when you are not sure about that guy at work  who has been paying your fare and buys you lunch even during mid month. She will brew a nice cup of tea when you are pregnant to advise on what foods to give to your child. Because that is the vibe she gives. To those older than us she is a sister that we all wish we had , cool , calm and collected.

She ruled the airwaves with her songs that were guided by real life experiences. She gave hope and often confessed of God’s love in rain or shine. ‘Pendo La Ajabu’ which means ‘Amazing love’ depicts various situations that life throws at us. The setting is an all women Prison. The director used other inmates to lip sync the verses. Take notes all those who seek to tread on this bumpy road. The ladies do it so effortlessly that one would think they were the actual vocalists.

One of the actors speaks of how her friends walked out on her after a  lover  slandered her name. The other was sick in hospital and her people have lost hope and left her for dead. All these situations reflect the numerous times that we have been left in despair. When  there is no light at the end of the tunnel and your strength is literally gone.

‘Pendo La Ajabu’ is a song of redemption and hope. A reminder that God’s  love is sufficient to meet all our needs. That even when it is stone cold and you feel there is no where to run , remember that he is there for you. Those were the days eh? When you would look forward to Sundays because you know you will get some real gospel music. Thank God for Mr. Vee , Mercy Masika and the likes.

The video is shot in a correctional center where we see Jemimah in actual jail clothes. That helped with the props that set the mood for the video. It goes ahead to show the state of our prisons , though I feel like they cleaned up a bit. There was also a scene where the inmates did a choreographed dance which broke the cliche of dancers with a strip of red dyed hair. Plus the tattererd , sorry rugged , pants. I will reserve my feelings about that. You know what I won’t. Rugged pants that seem fashionable do not look good. The world assumes that artists are dirty and homeless and those tattered things affirm the assumption.

Moving on there were also dramatic pauses through out the video which look funny. Using other women to tell the story was genius . This gave the video a life of its own which is what every artist should set out achieve. At some point Jemimah’s wardrobe changed to an all white maxi dress which I believe was to show change after God begins to mould you. Brilliant!

The sound is done by R-Kay who was the go to producer at the time and he also produced her first album ‘ALINITUA’ in 2003. Anyone who knows R-Kay can almost predict the sound which is not a good thing. However, Jemimah’s vocals will have you listening to this song . One more thing, note  to self for all the gospel artists, will people find solace in your song ten years from now? If your answer is yes you are on the right track. If your hook is copy pasted from the Urban dictionary that is always evolving you have a bigger problem than you think.

Your Thoughts?

Nyambura.

Click on the video below.

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