Music Seen! Muthoni Ndonga - Mambo Bado
Mambo Bado is the debut album from Kenyan singer Muthoni Ndonga. Released in 2008 this short afro-fusion album seems to be an introductory piece to what Muthoni has in store for us later. And a commendable effort it is, even if it only contains three original songs(the last one is a remix.)
Starting off with “Cool Waters’ Muthoni makes her introduction on a powerful, heartfelt and might I add very relevant note. “Cool Waters” is a song any Kenyan that survived through the 2008 post election violence can relate to. Kenya was once largely known as a bastion of relative peace amidst an unstable and war ravaged continent. But after 2008 that image was completely shattered when a side most Kenyans never knew existed was unleashed. This left many Kenyans questioning themselves, their countrymen and of course their leaders. “Cool Waters” speaks specifically about Nairobi, a place named by the Maasai and which used to be a place of calm, and tranquility. A place where Maasai livestock could eat and quench their thirst in the cool waters of the Nairobi River. Nowadays it is a city overrun by crime, bad leaders, gangs, corruption and countless other ills. With a clear guitar lead and gentle drums in the back playing Muthoni creates a song that seems to be speaking about and longing for a time long past; when Nairobi was a calm and decent place to live. Even though to anyone who has lived in Nairobi the image of a city run by law and order may seem a mirage, the songs powerful calmness gives one reason to hope and dream for a better day for our city, and indeed our country.
“Ni Wega” is the second song on the disc and is a song done in traditional style. “Ni Wega” is a Kikuyu term that means “it is well” and the song is basically one of inspiration and gratitude through everything one goes through in life, whether good or bad. “Mambo Bado” the title track takes the short disc into a really upbeat mode. It is a celebration of love and optimism of better things yet to come if two people in love persevere and stay together. In an age where many young people thing commitment is old-fashioned the song may have something to say about sticking with someone through the thick and thin, the ups and downs of life. The final track is a reggae remix of “Cool Waters” which while not bad, was I feel an unnecessary addition to the album. Surely getting four original songs would not be too much too ask for a debut album? But Muthoni would probably tell me “mambo bado.”
KC blog rating:: 3.5/5 stars
“Muthoni has a strong conscious voice that she can use to speak to the youth. A good start”