First things first, how on earth did we come so close to facing the extinction of so many species? Time can be a cruel thief; yet, through inaction, we let it steal from us time and again. I journeyed to Ol Pejeta Conservancy earlier this morning to witness a procedure that will likely save a species. Hopefully, this artificial reproduction technique will be successful in the near future.

If a picture paints a thousand words, that there are TWO Northern White Rhinos left worldwide should paint our predicament. The two are Najin, born on 11th July 1989 and her daughter Fatu, born on 29th June 2000. [Un]naturally, they are in captivity under the close surveillance of Ol Pejeta. Granted, the species had a range spanning parts of Uganda, Chad, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Kenya etc. Sad, isn’t it?

Lest I get too emotional about our precious wildlife, which I should, I’ll get into the subject of today’s Five on Friday inspired by a declaration of love; a love of life, self, others, nature, animals and greatest of all, this universe we live in.

A greatly evolving singer from Zimbabwe who, like Chiwoniso Maraire, plays the historically male-dominated mbira. Idenga features on her album, The Exorcism Of A Spinster.
Listening to Cameroon artist has been a such a joy this August. Whether there is something off or on about Moken Nunga, he has been such a vibe! Can you feel it too?
Influenced by Ethiopian musical greats such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Tilahun Gessesse, Mulatu Astatqe, Dereb gives a tasteful repast of their soulful 60s and 70s music.
I am yet to fully immerse myself into this daughter of Tunisia but the fact that she draws inspiration from Oum Khalthoum is sufficient. A breath of fresh air, innit?
Thanks to my Burkinabae 😉 I was introduced to the music of kamale n’goni player Massa Adama Dembele. If the music appeals to you in any way, buy/listen to his music here.

Last night, I was watching Fanna-Fi-Allah’s Qawwali rendition of Amir Khusro’s poem when a sentiment from the comments section struck me. What I would like to say, in-fact, is that it didn’t come as a shocker; moreso when I learnt that the woman on the tabla was a westerner. In truth, the role of women in music posits a substantial history of prejudice and hence the attitude. But I digress.

Today, I woke up with an extra-ordinary gusto and liveliness! On most occasions, I would proceed to put on a milonga, swing or bebop playlist but today has more promise for drawing me to sufi influences; notably gnaoua and hassanya from Morocco. Needless to say, Eid-al-Adha is upon us and what better way to celebrate it than with some music and chants from the Western and Southern Sahara!

I hope you enjoy today’s #FiveOnFriday and have yourselves a blessed Eid!

Contrary to my year’s plans, chiefly due to a busy work schedule, I am having a half-arsed attempt at catching up with events. Nonetheless, I have tried to attend those that have so far been of key interest to me; in one of those, an opportunity presented itself to make a friend who’d later drop-box me some 75 GB of jazz. The result was that my next few weeks were spent scouring through the folders and making some amazing finds about women in jazz!

My new-found friend thinks it is a crime to keep music from anyone under the pretext that they might find it boring and uninteresting. I agree as much! Following his recommendations, I have already researched, listened to and read through a number of proposed artists with a splendid enthusiasm.

It’s International Women’s Day so why not celebrate the women in Jazz?

All along, I have classified him a Bongo flava artist but this week, I finally learned that Otile Brown hails from this my land! Honestly, I couldn’t contain my excitement on the discovery. Why? Great and consistent mainstream {contemporary} music is as scarce as a hen’s teeth here and thus, I am happy with the progress he’s been making since 2016. His popularity is substantial and is evidenced by the series of unhurried but timely hits.

His is a rather glassy sound. The general love-inspired motif is accurate for his vocals that are not loud. Most importantly, it is, in my opinion, music without an overblown extravaganza. The tonal beauty is, overall, very well-blended. I must admit that I find his placid approach quite appealing. Top #FiveOnFriday today features Otile Brown

Filled with incidents and details , this is a story that moves with great assurance towards a story of marital bliss. A song that embraces the tradition of changing to accommodate a partner, a happily ever after and raising a family with utter conviction. The video staging is smartly devised to bring the song to life; however, about the radiance? Not so much on my part. Nonetheless, the duet quite yielded a texture in the moments.
Part of my joy in this production, is that it is the song that introduced me to Otile Brown. It created quite an impression that led me to want about his music. The lyrics, echoing a certain regret, are particularly stirring and evoking perhaps the importance of having good value judgement in relationships. Besides having a good and catchy sense of flow, the rap by King Kaka adds to it a beautiful detail.
I love the accents and momentum in this song which predisposes listeners to a critical message committed to his babe. Inevitably, the lyrics “Achana nao, hao wenye roho mbaya, wanatusema vibaya”, deservedly draw attention and are, perhaps, a bridge of two disparate hearts in transit together. Additionally, I also like that throughout the song, both sentimentality and imagery was respected.
In the wake of writing this post, this was released. Ernest, perhaps, and with a private tenderness set out on limpid tone.

I think Otile is a pleasant artist that though caught up in celebrity drama, would amount to something good, if but for himself.

It’s a beautiful hot and sunny day in Nairobi and I’m hoping for a chill weekend because it has been a pretty tiring week. In other news, I have been reflecting on my feels about having a partner and I have further, further narrowed it down to a partner who can dance. Yesterday, I created my first ‘waltzy’ tanda with a nice cortina to boot! But that’s for another day. Love and life are beautiful as are this week’s best of five!

I discovered Tom Baxter as I was reading up on Charles Winston; to learn that they are brothers, wow! Tom was such a pleasant surprise for me as was this his song that is so well poised. I do also think his voice does justice to the delivery of both the message and the feels! The kind of song that kinda prompts you to want to start something wholesome – “So if u think you love someone/try, try, try/because that one maybe your only one” – A fine canzone from a fine man indeed.
When I first chanced on this last to last week, I thought it a song from ages ago. I’m still under the spell that it is despite having looked Stoneking up. The hoodoo magic spell is apparently intended for someone you want to love you but oh! What a tragic end to this one! – “I studied evil, I can’t deny/ Was a hoodoo charm called a Love Me or Die….Matilda’s waiting in Hell for me too/All cause she died from a bad hoodoo.”
I’mcLovin’ his style.
And so, at long last, Face Your Fear was released this October. First of all, all the music that Curtis makes is incredible and he has come to mean a great deal to lovers of soul. Second, I love the bass and how it builds the song in here. I kinda keep getting back to the chorus – “Though I try, I can’t deny/ You know why/ I need your love baby/I need your love” – A perfect bittersweet encapsulation of what it feels to love and be loved!
Tiffany has been releasing some dreamy and enchanting music for a while now and this fantastic tune is about as dreamy and enchanting as it gets. The impressionistic effects of the keyboard and her vocals are washing me over and bringing up fragments of sentimental feelings that almost force me to tell some black king to give himself to me already. Anyway, it’s exciting to listen to her music and to know that she is one of the few whose music I’ll readily listen to.
I cannot confirm that I am a believer when I have so much I don’t understand; and unlike him when he says that that’s why he trusts in God, I do not. Still, when moments of quiet and calm come in, and when I feel tired of the events happening world over, I have found that this is one song I go to on many such occasions. Maybe it is that he speaks a truth I share or that he captures the madness of the world so beautifully. I don’t know. Either way, Mali Music is truly gifted.