In the first week of December Mojo Music released a house music CD. Naturally, because I’m Zambian and my cultural palate is not as refined as it should be I was sceptical. The idea of having a CD full of more foreign influenced music repulsed my lizard brain and all I could garner were accusations of cultural appropriation.
You see, I have been wrestling with the idea of originality for a while now and despite having stumbled upon some truth recently I quite often tend to forget my new position on the matter. However, because I have this platform to share my sincerest of thoughts the truth became apparent once more. Art is art! And art does not have a sole custodian. We all borrow from nature and even though inspiration hits certain individuals first what they produce does not belong to them. This also applies to language, dress sense and frankly all sorts of opinions. Learning and knowledge all thrive in the world and this regimentation of influences and products seems to me the shallowest of assumptions in this day and age. We as people need to awake from our delusion about being separate even if this realisation starts with a house CD.
Now that we have sieved the chaff with that condescending preamble we can get to the reasons I love this compilation.
1. It’s free!
That’s right! Without sounding like a cheapskate how many media houses are releasing free high quality music? Not many. Additionally, the artists featured on this compilation recorded for free, and everybody can access it on soundcloud for free. Most importantly, you can share this music with anyone, anywhere, anyhow and we all get a chance to enjoy it, For free! Given my new affinity for the democratising of content this idea really appealed to me although I was shocked considering the quality of the work. And this brings us to the second reason I cannot stop listening to this CD.
2. It sounds amazing!
Mojo has one of the best recording studios in the country. You can hear this on every single track you play. The vocals, the instrumentation are all crisp and performed to perfection. The amount of work put in to this CD would make a German sound engineer blush.
3. Did I say it sounds amazing!?
The songs on this CD are very musical! You will hear actual instruments in this compilation. The strong presence of guitars and drums is a common feature. Unlike most house music this fact is doubly impressive because it takes the music to a whole other realm which makes it even more enjoyable.
4. The artists brought their A game!
This CD boasts a wide variety of cross genre performers representing numerous influences which manifested into a melting pot of diversity. The emergent eclectic sound is beautiful to experience. From Mumba Yachi to Fjay, James Chamanyazi to Kanji the fact that a challenge to overcome unfamiliar territory with this uptempo music was presented to them brought out a side of these artists most people have not witnessed.
5. It is very Zambian!
I know this seems to run counter to my earlier sentiments but the music on here has a solid Zambian presence. The artists and producers set forth to own house like no other compilation ever has and I believe they were very successful. The lyrics, the instrumentation were all stamped with that all too familiar Zambian cadence we know too well.
6. It has this guy
Ladies and gentlemen meet Captain J. He probably only gets about 1 minute of play on this CD but he definitely left an impression on me. He has a voice that has so much character and potential I see him getting bigger than we can imagine. It’s always refreshing to listen to a new talent and in this case this guy might be part of the generation responsible for taking Zambian music further than its ever been.
7. Did I mention how good this compilation sounds?
It’s clear the vocals and sound engineering were tight, there’s no disputing that. But man, the beats though! I can’t even. Frank Zyambo and Joshua Chizuwa, these guys pushed the bar way high!
8. It’s good to run to
I like to run often and this is a time for me to think and sometimes sample new music. There are just some collections that urge you on especially when you’re climbing up hill and this is definitely one of those!
9. This is an uplifting CD
The underlying theme throughout this compilation was one of independence, experimentation and truth. Every song on this has the raw energy that makes it beautiful to be Zambian. There is vigour of purpose I sense when I listen to this. The effort put in to the production, the fact that artists worked pro bono and put in this much effort uplifts me. It gives me hope in the country I am from and alters my lizard brain impulse to be sceptical. I am proud of this compilation.
There is nothing much to say, download or stream the thing, enjoy!
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