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Mwaba - Your Music Needs You (Shinesun Recs) Afro Soul-Afro House

Mwaba is releasing his first album since that SAMA award nomination for “One World” in 2010. "Your Music Needs You" is of course a pun on the World War 1 campaign widely used to recruit citizens to the British army. Colonies such as Zambia, then known as Northern Rhodesia carried now quite familiar posters requesting citizens to join the army over the caption “Your Country Needs You”. In this extrapolation Mwaba is addressing the African who nowadays wants to abandon his/her music for other popular genres.

Listening to "Your Music Needs You" one can’t help but observe how Mwaba is an artiste with a unique infusion. From the title song to its remix some 14 tracks later, Mwaba is different. He is actually unlike everyone you’ve heard from Algeria to Zambia.

This album is an enunciation of his own sporty brand of African contemporary rhythms. "Your Music Needs You" is driven by a familiar Southern-Central African rhythm. Heavy drums and a reticent bass lie beneath a jested rendering of inspired political rhetoric like ex South African President Thabo Mbeki’s reminder to everyone on what it is to be an African. Also ex Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda’s illumination on the power which establishes a state. The lyrics also contain punned speeches of assassinated US President John F Kennedy - “Ask not what your country can do for you….” The Zambian Playground sing along “Nsale Nsale chinkamba” lends the hook for Wewawama, a laid back riff driven serenade with lovely twists and turns. The beat will give you sweet ideas of the curvy woman Mwaba is singing for.

Kwacha Ngwee is a revival of a timeworn street song from the townships of Zambia’s copperbelt. Lending structure to the track is a community melody popularised when Kalindula’s influences had gripped the copperbelt of the 60s and 70s. Adding his own twist to the classical lyrics Mwaba makes himself the subject of the copperbelt most absent man whom the community wants to come back just so he can see Zambia’s rebased currency, the Kwacha.

The painter that is mad a philosophical look at our colour incensed World, has a haunting melody and an exasperating message. Mwaba says it was inspired by a racist comment early this century by the grand daughter of one of the colonisers of Africa. Don’t waste time looking for the picture. It’s a very familiar one. Don’t waste time looking for the painter. He is a very familiar one.

Is this love I’m receiving? is a duet with Bahatii that will rock the dancefloors and linger over the palate with its catchy non lexical vocable Lala lala la lalaaa lala lala la landa iwe Oooh. Not to mention that crispy engaging lead guitar solo done by DRC-born Nseka Bienvenue.

As you’re bound to have by now grasped, lyrics-wise Mwaba’s songs are full of socio-political commentary some of which you may not decipher unless you read between the lines. Where, for example, is this Graveyard Market of Lusaka and who operates therein? The marketeers don’t seem to be your usual merchants given what they are selling.

They have on offer: pigs that can fly, cheese out of the fancified moon and some even want to sell you ‘Tomorrow” Iye imwe! If you listen to the song over and over you’re bound to untangle it. The Dance induced Chalo cesu chaliwama is a celebration of Africa pegged onto a focus on Zambia’s role in liberating it. Piquant African guitar drives a catchy rhythm with the catchy hook “chalo cesu chaliwama Africa chaliwama sana” loosely translated as Our Africa is wonderful. A laid back rap intersperses the beat some two verses into the song.

It bids farewell with the black political slogans of the 60s that the youth, may want to know about

Whether you are a music fan looking for a break from monotonous melodies or you are one who likes to focus on the message "Your Music Needs You" is a must listen.

Remix. - Michael Khan: Re-mix Engineer in Los Angeles, USA

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