This is it! This is Lit!
By Plot Mhako
This was my immediate reaction after sampling the 11 track new album Uhuru/Independence from Willis “Afirika” Wataffi that dropped on Friday in Harare.
This is a stunning package, a bombshell that will shake the entire music space. If the album fails i will quit music reviews. Such is the power of the project that i can vouch my number one passion and put it on the line.
After nearly a decade of a frenzied and overhyped dancehall infused music scene signs of fatigue, growing disconnect and a craving for more soothing yet deeply moving music has been showing for a while now and i think this is it!
You remember in 2003 when the then Afrika Revenge dropped Afrika Revenge Presents Qaya Music album at a time Uran Grooves, Sungura and international Hip Hop and RnB were holding the Zimbabwe music scene to a stranglehold? The Jazz album did a shocker seizing the limelight with hits Wanga and scooped literary all the important awards at ZIMA 2004. Willis’s latest offering will most likely unsettle the scene.
The former Afrika Revenge band member who has been doing solo music for years now has been perfecting his art and refining his sound and has remained stuck to his roots as explained by his Qaya music brand.
The Qaya Rootz musik album comprises of well-crafted masterpieces well interwoven with seamless melody, accompaniment, and superb backing vocals. The choice of collaboratives speaks volumes on the effort put in the album. The song Tezvara features Tshaka, hip hop firebrand Ti Gonzi comes in hard on the love ballad Ring on a finger and iconic Willom Tight emerges from a long hiatus with a signature husky pulsating vocals on the song Udaliwe. The track Mashayamombe which features Mbuya Stella Chiweshe makes calls for the repatriation of Zimbabwean artifacts, remains of the heroes of the first Chimurenga and reincarnates the spirit of our ancestors.
My favorite on the album are Tezvara, Ring on a Finger, Jeka Zuva and Ndimi. Actually, the whole album is music to the ear. What i found compelling is how Willis glides in three-man languages with so much ease without shying away from his Kore-kore dialect which adds a lot of sauce and flavor to the songs reminiscent of the late legend Dr. Tuku.
The versatility in sounds was a work of creative genius. This might sound an exaggeration until you listen to the album which goes online in 24 hours.
What will most likely create talk and interest are the critical issues the album touches on, from love, social cohesion, the beauty of life, a celebration of the African heritage and the consciously charged Jeka Zuva, Humambo and Uhuru.
Earground caught up with Wataffi who shared his thoughts behind the album saying, “Africa is free but not yet free despite gaining independence. Let us own our own resources. We need to celebrate our Africanness daily and feel proud to be African”
“The need for young people and minds to take up the position and be involved in shaping the dreams and direction of where the country and our continent is heading”
This album is a must have. Look out for it in a day. The plot thickens.