Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
Tanga Wekwa Sando is a master of love lyrics.
On his latest album “Knock Knock” the experienced musician embeds the lyrics in a soothing jazz beat that alternates according to the mood his words seek to stimulate on each track.
Tanga has maintained his traditional beat that is mainly dictated by his acoustic chords and on this latest release, producer Munya Viya of Vialy lends his touch to add a few fusions.
“Knock Knock” has six tracks and two interludes that are meant to spice up the album, which can be aptly described as a cocktail of love themes that speak to the heart and mind.
Some of the tracks have an outstanding lead guitar that is an integral component of township jazz while on other tracks, Tanga favours laid back style that is meant to put emphasis on the lyrics.
The musician shows his mastery with the different facets of jazz and clearly exhibits his experience with the skills of this genre. Tanga is one musician who has been in the industry for a long time and “Knock Knock” is testament to his enduring expertise.
With vocals, lyrics and instruments blending well on each track, the album would entice any jazz lover to play it over and over again. It might not have amassed expected popularity because of diminishing activity in jazz circles, but ardent followers of the genre will consider it a rich item for their collections
To show his intention to play with love issues on the album, Tanga begins “Knock Knock” with a comic introduction that has a voice of a lady announcing vows of holy matrimony but is cut short by an inaudible interjection that seems to suggest that true love is a pipe dream for many despite of marriage vows.
Another interesting part of the short introduction is the use of the word ‘nhingirikini’ in place of names. The word would remind a listener of the line ‘Ane nhingirikini panhingirikini’ from Tanga’s old hit “Hapana Asina Wake”. It is a term the musician uses to refer to anyone, anything or any place.
After the introduction comes the track “Love PaNet” on which the musician explores the thorny issue of promiscuity. Tanga notes how social media has exacerbated the evil practice, which has led to breaking of many marriages. He also refers to a recent High Court ruling that criminalises prying into a spouse’s cellphone .
Using Shona and English on the song, Tanga calls the explored scenario ‘a new society’ and leaves the listener to ponder on the consequences of such a society. Although it is a sensitive issue, Tanga uses his talent with words to make it hilarious and also maintain his exciting love theme.
Tanga begins the track “Ndovimba” with a style that is similar to his other hit “Mahobho”. The track has consistent laid back drumming and this track begins with backing vocalists going ahead of Tanga.
When the lead singer ‘enters’ he shows prowess with his voice as he changes tones to emphasise on some words. Tanga’s love for street lingo is highly evident on this track when he sings about “spakito yakapenga” (outstanding excitement).
The song is about trust, faith and love. However, it can be interpreted to mean different kinds of love since the musician borrows some Biblical lines. “Ndovimba” can speak to couples in love in as much as it would be decoded to apply to Godly love.
“Unoziva Sei?” is a track that also addresses trust and love. The musician says he has heard many women questioning how to judge if their spouses’ love is authentic and his advice is ‘action speaks louder than words’ in the issue of love. He also uses Shona and English on the song.
There is a unique interlude from producer Viya in which he introduces himself with his totem. While some musicians choose to introduce their producers in their chants, Tanga did it in a different way through the interlude.
Then comes the title track. On “Knock Knock” the musician takes the role of someone looking for love. He impersonates a person knocking on someone’s heart looking for love.
On this track Tanga lets the lead guitar take an outstanding role and his acoustic goes subdued. The drums also come out louder while keyboards make supporting intervals with different beats including the horn sound, which is a signature jazz style.
“Maheu Nice” track explores love at a personal level. Tanga says love is what you make it and it is up to individual choice to make it work because the colour of love is dynamic.
The album closes with a song with an African feel titled “I will Always Love You”. It is about brotherly love between Africans. Tanga introduces the song with a spoken statement that announces his target listeners and the theme of the song.
He encourages Africans in general and Zimbabweans in particular to love one another even when they are in other continents. He uses metaphors of natural African places like Kalahari Desert, Mount Kilimanjaro as well as rivers like Nile, Zambezi and Limpopo to express his statements about love.
“Knock Knock” is indeed a cocktail of love.