Archive for March, 2010

PAUKWA; A STORY BY DELA

Posted in Hip Hop, Music, Music Reviews, Uncategorized, Women on March 1, 2010 by Saliva Vic

Adeline Maranga, better known on the stage as Dela has recently launched her album, Paukwa. Those familiar with Sauti Sol’s music will recognize Dela, a frequent stage collaborator with the group who was also featured on Sauti Sol’s album. Dela has a sweet voice that turns sultry when need be and here’s my experience of her first recorded album.

The album kicks off with “Every Season”. A sweet guitar backdrop sets the stage as Dela beautifully sings the lyrics that affirm the age old adage that there must be a reason for everything under the sun. This song prepares you for the musical adventure up ahead. It’s actually sad that this is the intro to the album because it leaves you wishing that it went on for longer if not forever.

With that out of the way, Dela immediately gets into what she is famous for, her beautiful love songs. The song is called “Kama”. Kama is Kiswahili for “If” and on this song Dela describes her need for her lover by singing, “Kama ningekuwa jua, wewe mwangaza wangu/ Kama ningekuwa sauti wewe kipaza changu”. I must mention the production on this album is stellar. Just two records deep and one will notice that the production complements the voice perfectly. The result is a beautiful sound that I call “Kenyan Soul Music”.

After that sonic masterpiece, Dela gets socially conscious on “War in My Heart”. I notice that his song is written by Bienaime who is a Sauti Sol member. The production on this one is reminiscent of the reggae sound employed by Anthony B and as a matter of fact makes me draw comparisons between Dela and Etana from this similarity. The lyrics speak on the breakdown of today’s society ethically and morally providing a moment of reflection early into the album.

The fourth tune on Paukwa features Bienaime of Sauti Sol. The chemistry between Bien and Dela is lovely and as such it’s rather disappointing that this song, “Adamu na Hawa” (Adam and Eve when translated to English), is so simple lyrically as well as in terms of production. What should have been the high point in the album as I read the credits provides the first disappointment of Dela’s Paukwa album.

Next is another socially conscious record titled, “Listen. Unlike “War in My Heart” this one is written by Dela. The production is better on this one vis-à-vis “War In My Heart” but they both share the reggae sound. It may be a calculated move by Dela or her producer Wawesh to have the reggae sound on the conscious records and it works. Looking at the credits I realize that the next record is sang in Dholuo.

I don’t know why it happens in Kenyan music but Dholuo sang by a modern artist always sounds so nice and “Weche tek” is no exception. However, I must say that just like the Just A Band & Liz Ogumbo collaborative effort on Scratch To Reveal, the pronunciation of some of the words confuse the meaning to the listener. “Weche Tek” which translates to “Things are Tough” is a wake up call to lazy Kenyans as life is hard and everybody must work hard to make it today.

Track number 7 is “Ulivyo” which has Blinky Bill (one of the members of Just a Band) as a co-producer with Wawesh and his influence is heavily felt. This song could pass for a Just a Band record any day. There should be more collaborations like this encouraged by these alternative artists to grow their fan bases. The video is so on point CHECK IT OUT!

In Dela’s own words, the next song is an ode to music called, “Yeye Ndiye”. Translating loosely to “The One” she expresses her love for music in her lyrics. The downside is that this song is a great drop in tempo from “Ulivyo” and were it not for her infectious voice; you would be tempted to skip it. “Yeye Ndiye” gives way to “Nairobi Love” that features Gaza. It has a reggae feel to it that comes as no surprise, but what does come as a surprise is that Gaza doesn’t unleash his characteristic shrill which I have become accustomed to. Nonetheless it doesn’t take away from this song and I’m sure residents of Nairobi will relate to the lyrics.

As the album comes to a close, Dela introduces us to the title track, “Paukwa Pakawa” which refers to a traditional chant used to bring attention to the beginning of a story. Dela’s story is a look at the every day life of an apathetic citizen/ leader as well as the lack of rights suffered by the poor and those discriminated against in everyday society. This record is so melodious on the hook that you’ll be singing it even after the song elapses. It’s a beautiful struggler’s anthem and we all know Africa is nothing without the story of a struggle.

Dela then ends the album with two love songs, track 11 being “Nakujali”, a smooth guitar backed rendition that will have you swooning at her lovely words. Then on track 12 is the bonus track that was originally on Sauti Sol’s album, Mama Papa, a song I would describe as the ultimate wedding record. I can see people having their fast dance to this one.

Dela has managed to record quite an impressive first album with only one sub par record in “Adama na Hawa”. All in all, this album is definitely worth buying and checking out Dela’s shows whenever you can, will not result in disappointment. Watch her perform War in my heart.

Pamoja!!!!