One of the big names in the naija (Nigerian) music scene, Flavour N’Abania, has recently released his 4th album, Thankful. After establishing his reputation with songs like Nwa Baby (Ashawo Remix) and Adamma, Flavour’s new cd definitely confirms his musical merit.
What is nice about Flavour is that he remains fairly faithful to the (Igbo) highlife genre. This is demonstrated by the first few songs of the album, such as the opening song Keneya (original three-four time), being one of my favorite songs along with the more up-tempo Ife Adigomma and Uru Dia (Shake 2).
Thankful contains different featured artists such as Wande Coal, who joins in the hit song Wake Up, as well as female singer Chidinma who adds a lot of harmony to the balad song Ololufe.
Altogether the album is one of Nigeria’s best releases this year. As with all African releases they can either be found in the music shops on the continent itself or via iTunes.
Following an extensive social media campaign Juan Luis Guerra has launched his twelfth studio album, Todo Tiene Su Hora. Together with his band 4.40 the 57-year-old Dominican superstar has recorded 10 songs with a total playing time of only 30 minutes. Nonetheless, the album is a rich supplement to his discography. Personally I find it better than his previous album Colección Cristiana that was released 2 years ago and was filled with a couple of old songs.
The opening song of the cd is Cookies & Cream, a little cheesy merengue. It is followed by Tus Besos, a more carefully composed bachata which is also the album’s lead single. Canto A Colombia praises the country and people of Colombia and is an original blend of salsa and cumbia. The title song Todo Tiene Su Hora is a merengue and did also appeare prior to the album. It is followed by Dime Nora Mia, a typical Juan Luis Guerra salsa composition and melody. Para Que Sepas sounds very much like a Cuban bolero, especially because the beautiful hobo lines. Another merengue, and probably the most annoying song of the album because of its silly melody is El Capitán. Muchachita Linda is a quiet and careful bachata and is followed by a fast salsa song, Todo Pasa. One can sense salsa is not Juan Luis Guerra’s domestic style, but there is no disputing about his songwriter qualities. The last song of the album is joined by fellow countryman Johnny Ventura and is a real merengue party!
The only song that has a videoclip is Tus Besos. The clip is in fact a little musical orchestrated by Juan Luis Guerra’s son who gave the clip a fifties theme.
Juan Luis Guerra has just completed a small Latin American tour together with Marc Anthony (Gigante2) and some shows also with Carlos Vives (Gigant3s). I don’t think he will build a tour around his new studio album (he hasn’t done so for his previous album either), but it would be exciting to hear some of his new material live on stage!
Many music collectors and enthusiasts like myself don’t easily get excited about a CD with various artists. Quite often those records are a compilation of two hit songs supplemented with disappointing songs that are literally cheap because little or no compensation is required by the original record labels. How different is the Mais Kozomba Hits 2 compilation, that was released last month. Almost all songs are outstanding, which makes it one of the best buys to introduce oneself in the kizomba genre.
It is obvious to point out the biggest kizomba hit on the album, the song Jajão by the Angolan artists Master Jake and Eddy Flow, an instant hit on the kizomba dance floors.
With the increasing significance of the music genre and expanding popularity of the dance style, it is interesting to see how the music adapts to a more urban character, while drawing inspiration from zouk, heavy (house) beats, R&B and indigenous (African) music. The two songs below are good examples of this phenomenom.
The CD offers a great section through kizomba in the Lusophone African countries, Brasil and Portugal. Only those who favor French kizomba should look for another compilation, for Mais Kizomba is focusing on Portuguese music.