HATIMAYE BY ATEMI OYUNGU
Atemi Oyungu is for me Africa’s finest neo-soul vocalists and on that day when I got a chance to sit next to her on the set of Africa rising breakfast show two years ago, which she had been hosting since 2009. On that day I lost all my manners and started into the beauty that is Atemi, her smile and energy got me ogling (hope she did not notice). When I got introduced to her vocal prowess there was no stopping a crush from forming. Most people got to know of her After her performance at Tusker project Fame 2
I had seen her perform as a back up vocalist for Eric Wainaina but never had I been this close to her. When the chance to take her out presented itself I could not waste that opportunity (By her I mean the album). I did my normal routine, fueled the car and took Atemi for a drive in the dark streets of Nairobi on a cold Saturday evening.
This album is called Hatimaye loosely translated as finally. It starts off with an interlude ‘He is here’ courtesy of the Mavuno worship project, a nice interplay of vocals and instrumentals that ushers you into a house of beautiful sounds that will leave you speechless if not with a sore throat for trying to maintain the keys.
‘Speechless’ is the second track that beacons you into a relaxed romantic tone of promises of what a lady wishes to say to his man. If this is said even once on a monthly basis, I promise infidelity will be a dinosaur in our society. Words like… ‘a simple melody/ a song written just for me/ … your voice makes my day when I am far far away/..” I am not even 5 minutes into my drive and I want to marry this album.
‘Someday’, the third track, is the beautiful creation of Chris Adwar vocalized by Atemi. It is till now the best song of love that I have ever heard. The voice balance between the two and the acoustic guitar in the background is orgasmic. The lyrics are deep and breath taking… “I am a simple man/ I dream about loving you/and you in return/ and my simple mind is filled with thoughts of you/and you will be mine/someday.”
The fifth track is a Swahili song explaining different stories in the bible which include the death of Jesus and the return of the prodigal son put so beautifully as she relates how the persecution and hard times as a part of life for every human.
‘Sokoni’ is a danceable piece of awesomeness slotted eight in the album describing a scenic romantic evening between a probable couple as they walk holding hands delving in each others’ world of heavenliness yet still a part of me thinks it can be a spiritual song with personification expressed in its fullness.
Dan ‘chizi’ Acheda , Kanji Mbugua and Aaron Rumbui come together in track nine ‘Domestics’ that is an expression of what happens in most households and relationships. The gents request for more time with their ladies and the ladies express their hurt when neglected for ‘things; such as football. Who is at fault?
‘Color’ expresses everything that I can want anyone to tell me before I can pop that awesome question, “will you spend eternity with me?” The lyrics say…. “Take me in your arms/ and never let me go/hold me close/ say the words I’m longing for….”
‘Simama’ is an anti corruption song written by Nina Ogot that still makes sense as many other of its kind die in the memories of failed projects. As the 12th track on the album, it gives a hyped feel and a feel of patriotism.
As the beats starts and I feel the drum roll, I clutch harder on the steering wheel as I accelerate and overtake a Subaru along Mombasa road ‘Imenibamba’ a track by Erick Wainaina and Atemi gives me goosebumps and I wish I could accelerate faster. This song is such a construction; I feel the volume has to be raised for me to appreciate this poetic mess.
“I don’t know what to do/ nimekuwa kama wazimu..” is the introduction to the bonus track on the album ‘Happy ’.it is a sweet laid back song with a retro feel to its flow putting into words an out pour of a ladies’ feeling of happiness for the man she adores.
The album is made up of 16 good well produced pieces of geniuses wrapped in one compact disc.
I see this as the best gift a lady can give to her man for the little things he does. It is worth every single cent you spend on it.
Pictures from http://kinandafestival.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html and Atemi’s page on http://www.reverbnation.com/atemi
Follow her on twitter on @Atemidiva
Reviewed by Robert Mahebo @mahebob