African Music: October 9, 2021 wasn’t only the day Uganda turned 59 but also a defining day for Swangz Avenue’s new kid, Azawi as she debuted her African Music album and Ian Ortega has listened to it and…
If Plato was alive today, he would be forced to rephrase his praises for Socrates. This time, it would be for Azawi. Plato would say; “I thank God that I was born in Naalya and not Najjera, free and not an Arsenal fan, but above all that I was born in the age of Azawi”. And there is only one thing that would make him arrive at this conclusion – Azawi’s African Music album.
Azawi takes us on a journey of love, of hustle, of gratitude. And what better way to start off this journey than with a longing for love. She wants no money, all she wants is this grant possibility of a fairytale love. She is on a quest as she cries out; Gimme. Her love is embedded in the acoustic ending; “me nuh want your money, but I want your body.”
She then brings a whole new meaning to the phrase; “I crave you”. You never realise the weight of these words until Azawi onboards you onto this journey that’s laden with love, a love so heavy, a love so crazy. Perhaps somewhere at 17:59, she picked up a pen over a stouty sip and let her heart talk in verse.
But what about Bamututte? Is she insecure about this new girl that got the body, the new girl that’s stealing her man? Does she have a plan to fight? There is a hesitancy. Her man is at stake, and this latino feel to the song is intentional to leave us in suspense.
“So many many things I am thankful. Grateful for loving, Grateful for living,” Azawi brings Benon back to studio. It is a foreshadowing of the My Year song. And what is there to be thankful for? Perhaps the fact that God is blessing Azawi’s hustle even in the middle of her struggle. It is that song you blast on a Monday morning for that motivation.
Again, it is a reminder of love, hustle and gratitude.
And hustle is something the Majje do so well, Azawi brings on another soldier on board, aka Fik Fameica. It is one of those collaborations that fails to tie-up to the prudence of this album. At some point, one suspects it is another filler. The duo fails to resonate. And the same can be said of the Tubatiisa song.
That is why soon it’s a Slow Dancing, we pair up even if it doesn’t make sense. Because soon, we face off with A Pass. It’s a stark reminder of the age-old question; “what are we now? Where do we see this going?” I have a special craving for this song, those lines; ‘Bwonogaana nze kindya”. I admire the vocal chemistry that’s flaunted by A Pass and Azawi.
The dominant lover comes alive in Fwa Fwa Fwa, but let’s agree we are also witnessing an experimental play, we are birthing a culture here. Ku Kiddo requires some Luganda familiarity to appreciate the lyrical prowess that is Azawi, it is a wild fire. If you find a girl that sings about love like Azawi, you want to have her for keeps.
Party Mood is Azawi’s hidden joker, and the percussion play in Nkuchekele with Eddy Kenzo is a reminder that someone has done her moments in that Kika troupe. There is that vocal brevity from Kenzo.
As the album gets to the evening of its time, we have Janzi and Azawi confirming that loving this guy is something easy. Perhaps it is an album that would make its mark in the Guinness records as the Ugandan album of the decade. The Kwaito blend in the African music, the independence undertones. And then, the Ache For You that closes out with the blend of the Amapiano vaults. If we are looking for a musical messiah, Azawi proves she’s heaven sent for this purpose. She’s come to rescue us, she’s Black excellence shining in our midst. We don’t deserve Azawi!
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