I worry about a lot of things like money and the decreasing size of mandazis in restaurants but I never expected Sauti Sol to sneak into my list of migraine causing issues.
They had gone on a long spell without a decent song and I was afraid that in two years, I, or someone else, would be writing a listicle titled “10 Kenyan Artistes Who Faded Away Without a Trace”. At number one would be Sauti Sol followed by the likes of Flexx, Wakimbizi and Pili Pili, among many others.
Such a list won’t happen. Forget guns blazing, Sauti Sol has come out with grenade launchers this time.
In their latest song titled “Extravaganza” they have provided answers to two questions that a curious lover of music would ask.
Imagine a reporter interviewing them… … .
Me: Uuum… Excuse me Sauti Sol, why don’t you support upcoming artistes?
Bien: (Grabs the microphone from Chimano and scratches his head, pulling the last remaining strand of hair in the process. Come on Bien, you couldn’t let that one survive? Just that single one?)
Well, we do. Not just one but six. And we have them all in one track. Bensoul, who looks like a breed between a nerd and a rockstar; Nviiri who looks like… I’ll tell you later; Crystal Asige who sounds like a prime Saida Karoli mixed with Jolie Detta; and finally there are Kaskazini, who are going to fill the void left by Amos and Josh. Because nowadays Amos is just Amos and Josh is just Josh. I am not even sure if they call each other anymore.
Me: And why don’t you release good music anymore?
Bien: (Turns to Savara and chuckles) Cheki huyu mse? (Turns back to face reporter) I just told you we have the biggest song in the country at the moment. Go check it out. (Checks his phone to see a text from Chiki asking where he is.) I gotta go now.
“It’s Sauti Sol babbyyyyy,” Chimano shouts from the back.
TOPS THEM ALL
Indeed, Sauti Sol have had many good songs in their career but in my opinion, “Extravaganza” tops them all. It’s a thing of beauty, something like Ludwig Van Beethoven in his prime.
At this point, you are allowed to bang the table in opposition and shout “No! ‘Short N Sweet’ was their best song” or ‘What are you talking about? ‘Sura Yako’ is even better than the hymns of the angels.” And you right there, you who is about to bark, “Dude! You don’t remember ‘Melanin’?” Cheers!
I say it’s “Extravaganza.” Agree to disagree? Cool!
This time they didn’t do it alone. It wasn’t just three men singing and one of them playing a guitar. It was an organised army, packed with both cavalry and infantry, looking to conquer and annex our minds.
Sometimes the best work comes from team effort. In fact, Sauti Sol did very little singing. This reminds me of those Kofi Olomide songs where he just used to talk at intervals while one of his vocalists did all the singing. Then Koffi Olomide got all the credit and we never even got to know the name of the vocalist.
Everyone on the song delivered. Bensoul, the fast-rising star set the pace for finer things to come with marvellous lyrics such as “Wakaita polisi Kumbe polisi pia ni shabiki eeeh! Wakaficha msosi wakatupata na dishi mezani!”
Whoever wrote those lyrics deserves a Pulitzer Prize.
The second verse came from Nviiri The Storyteller. I can’t talk about the guy without talking about the outfits that were worn in the video. Only Sauti Sol and their Sol Generation gang can get away with wearing such outfits. Mwalimu Andrew and teachers, in general, can be included in that list too.
To me, the outfits bring back memories of abuse. They remind me of my high school chemistry teacher. He used to wear the same outfit Nviiri is wearing. After he marked the exam papers, he would arrange them from the lowest score to the highest. He would then issue them out in that order.
But issuing out wasn’t the only thing he did. On his other hand, he had a thick cane, sharpened from the branches of the oldest tree in the school.
As you picked your paper and turned to go sit, a stroke would land on your back. Then your body would curve forward in pain as you rushed to your desk.
In Mafioso movies, you always hear an iconic actor such as Joe Pesci saying “Only a coward shoots a man in the back.” Well, I’d say the same about my high school chemistry teacher. Not that I would have wanted to be caned from the front. There is no landing pat for a cane on the front of the human body. I just wished he would at least had the guts to face us and order us to lie down instead of just issuing an impromptu kiboko strike from the back.
Anyway… the award for best vocals in the song goes to Crystal Asige. Give the lady a Grammy! Where was this beautiful talent hiding all along?
Crystal is blind. As a person who has suffered from poor vision for most of my life, she is the one I strongly relate with. When you have a persistent or permanent health issue, other people never quite understand what you are going through.
On your journey to achieving your dreams, the road is usually rougher and patchy than it is for other people. But so long as you believe in yourself and keep it going, you eventually get there. Crystal is the true definition of this.
Go Crystal Wonder!
The next verse comes from the band Kaskazini. There are three earthlings in this band.
No other band in Kenya has managed to reach the heights of Sauti Sol. Hart The Band, Elani and Le Band all tried but they somehow ran out of steam. Kaskazini might just change all that.
Isn’t it amazing how Sauti Sol managed to fit all those people in one song?
If you count the total number of people in the song, it comes to 9. Shouldn’t this release get into the Guinness Book of Records for ‘The Most Crowded Song In History’?
It could even have been more people. I still feel that Sauti Sol need to add a few more people to their Sol Generation stable, people who fit automatically, people who actually have ‘soul’ in their name.
Guess who? Drum rolls… … …
Just imagine Sauti Sol, Bensoul, Anto Neosoul… It would be a rhyme fest.
Enjoy your day. And Karibu kwenye extravaganza.