I love the African woman.I love our bodies-breasts,hips,thighs.I love how our hair can take up any form or shape because of its kinky texture.Have you seen our fabrics and jewellery?The creations that we come up with are out of this world and nothing not even bottle tops are off bounds to create these masterpieces.
So I remember a few years ago I was going through Zuqka(Daily Nation Friday magazine),and there was this whole spread on a guy called Kato Change with his band.I remember not being able to finish the article because it was rather long but I do remember that this young man was very passionate about his craft.I recall wishing him all the best in his endeavours.
Fast forward a few years later and boom this guy is playing in world jazz festivals.Aaron Rimbui is praising Kato for being one of the youngest jazz composers in Kenya and he is sharing stages with renowned jazz greats such as Incognito,Aaron Colverson and has been in bands for shows such as Tusker Project Fame and Coke Studio Africa.
I must confess this song has given me a really hard time critiquing it because it’s predominantly jazz.I did not want to offend the small yet powerful jazz community with my scarce knowledge.Then a friend of mine just told me to write about it from the perspective of ‘how I felt when I listened to the song’.So here we go.
The acoustic introduction is so graceful and then it gets to a bit where it fastens and tickles your ears ,twirling you around the dance floor before gracefully drawing you back into its embrace.Kato’s guitar then takes you through a graceful sway and then just as you are settling into it,Kato quickens the pace.
Now the guitar takes you through a very slow 2 step and he introduces a new element of bass that has the two previous chords overlap producing a gentle calming soothing sound that washes over your parched soul.
Enter the beautiful vocalists who give life to this tune with the phrase’African woman,beautiful woman’.By now the music has taken over and your waist is swaying oblivious to all other parts of your body.It is almost like an out of body experience.
Now the video.First of all can we just appreciate the location?It’s got such a rustic feel to it such that you can’t help feeling like you are home listening to this.Kato looks so dapper in his 2 piece and his ‘old man’s hat’ but what takes the cake is the tie.Good job to Mosyke.The women though,damn!I love the feather bustier.If you observe carefully the women that have been cast you can see the diversity.The mother,the tomboy,the quirky gal,the edgy,the preppy,the Asian(interesting choice since some of us don’t consider Indians born on this continent African).These are all representations of the African woman.
The vocalists are Trina Mungai and Mayonde Masya familiar faces if you have been watching Coke Studio Africa.Infact all three of them were int he Coke Studio Band.They stand out without competing for the spotlight.Mayonde especially is so enchanting you forget that she has only 2 lines in the whole song.Note that the original vocalist is the soulful Lisa Oduor Noah but these two did a wonderful job all the same adding body to the song.
Kato and his guitar have a language that only the two of them understand and I feel so jealous watching them,like I want to know what it is they are saying to each other.
I cannot find fault with the video except that I realised later on that this was all done in playback as are some of your favourite acoustic sessions.Don’t take my word for it,just research.The song was mixed and mastered by the brilliant Jaaz Odongo and what I love about this video is that at the end you can see listed in the credits all the people it took to bring this together.That my friends is what it takes to bring this creation to life.
This song makes me feel loved, adored and adorned with praise as a child of Mama Africa.Well in Kato,I can’t wait to experience Change.