Mayonde – Magic in the Air album review
Mayonde is a Kenyan born and Kenyan based singer who released her debut album on the 1 of December 2015 entitled Magic In The Air.
This is not the first we’re seeing or hearing from Mayonde who was previously in the ‘gospel’ collective Chit Chat with songs such as Buzzin’ featuring a few of our favourites like Rigga and A-Star. She then branched out as a solo artist and released a few singles such as Too Good whose feel good video aptly matched the song. She also went through a period in time where she blessed her fans with a song every week on her Soundcloud. It was a thrilling experience, she released songs such as Kamares and Heart and Soul. Mayonde has been on the scene for a bit of time, she has paid her dues and is finally gracing her fans with a complete body of work in this album.
The album entitled Magic In The Air consists of fourteen tracks and was released digitally for sale on waabeh.com and mymookh.com. These fourteen tracks take the listener on a journey that fills them with good vibes and outs them in a mellow mood.
The fourteen tracks on Magic In The Air are;
- Good Morning
- Isukuti Love
- Better than other lovers
- Isuni Yilu
- Closer to the sun
- Find us a way
- Magic in the air
- Ajabu ya Musa
- My insanity
The general theme for this body of work seems to be love, in all its different forms. Real love, love for one self, self-acceptance, love for those we have lost and just a general understanding and finding peace of one’s self.
Good Morning has a very catchy and funky beat, it is an introduction as to what listeners should expect in the album. It talks of good things to come and how she did not take getting in to the studio light heartedly. This song has an almost South American feel to it because of the drum effect in the background, it’s very danceable although it’s only just over a minute long.
Isukuti Love is the second single and video off Mayonde’s debut album. The video is a fun and interesting. It shows us a fun aspect of love, there’s is a lot of silly dancing and ogling at the love interest in the video (The love interest in the video is played by Kevin ‘K1’ Maina). This song represents the fun and silly side of love. The giddiness and the happy feeling that one experiences when one is in love, the butterflies in your stomach and the fluttering of your heart. This song speaks to the giddy romantic in you. She also samples a simple ad lib from Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata which fits quite nicely into the song.
“Aaah iya mama, iya mama…”
Mayonde – Isukuti Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH_ISNsMXN8
Better Than Other Lovers
Better than other lovers is a slightly more upbeat tempo song in the album. It’s a call to the one you love indicating than you think they are better than everyone out there. The backing vocals (I’m not sure who they are done by) give the sing an extra edge of smoothness in the sound. This song has the potential to be remixed by Electro House DJ’s to be more upbeat and perhaps even a club banger. The electro-dance feel to it is an interesting turn from the typical African beats she’s favoured so far in the album.
I’ll be the first admit I’m not particularly sure what Isuni Yuli means exactly, but from the lyrics of the song I can make an educated guess that is has to do with either the heart or a lover. This song has a mellow and chilled vibe to it, as is the general feel of the album. The almost spacey sound and effect in the background gives the song a kind of other-worldly feel to it.
This song on the album is a dedication to those we have loved and lost, it is the third single and video released from the album. It’s dedication to those we have lost and a siren to them that they must be in a better place and watching over their loved ones that they left behind. The video evokes quite a lot of emotions and the aesthetic that was chosen for this video (all white) was gorgeous and almost ethereal, it evoked the feeling of angels.
Mayonde – Angels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hePTMrIEVA
Closer to the Sun
Closer to the sun seems to be a continuation from Angels. The message is rooted in the meta-physical. It’s a plea for one to be taken higher by their love or their loved one. It’s a call to meet one that they loved again, up in the air, in the stars, closer to the sun.
Find Us A Way
This song seems to be a dedication to what one goes through in order to find love, the processes, struggles, the journey. It’s two lover finding a way together. It has the same feel of smoothness as Better Than Other Lovers. The background vocals on this song are quite enticing, they give a very airy feel. They make one feel like they are almost floating along with the song as it plays.
Similar to Isuni Yilu, Soundtrack has a futuristic and spacey sound to it. This song is about having a good time whenever you can and music is a big part of this. She sings “To the DJ playing the sing in my head…” this gives you the visual of someone having a good time by themselves, happy to be in their own skin, this song is about not caring about what others think of you and just being happy. The ad lib in this song is also quite catchy.
“Boom boom ba room boom …”
Magic in the air
Named after the album, this song really embodies the feel and the groove of the whole album. It is a laid back and relaxed. It talks of the feeling one gets when they love music, it talks of her love for music. She paraphrases a line from the famous Jennifer Lopez song Waiting for Tonight, “…Then I ever thought it could possibly be… It’s perfect, it’s passion, it’s setting me free…” in a quite clever way.
Ajabu Ya Musa
This song on the album has more prominent guitar features than the other tracks on the album. This song kind of has a Tracey Chapman feel to it. This song is an ode to the love of her life and her husband Mbithi Masya (who happens to be a member of the Kenyan Afro-electric band Just a Band) who she got married to in 2013. This song talks of their love and how happy she is with him and their life together.
Rise is the second single and video of this album. It is a self-affirming song that encourages one to pursue their dreams, it talks of believing in one’s self and choosing a path of conquering all that is before you in your life. Belief in one’s self and in one’s destiny is a very strong message in this song and the background guitar effects help the point and the feel of the song across.
Mayonde – Rise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLBXh0Sg1yk
This song is sweet and very aspirational, it’s called Garden but more specifically she talks of a Sukuma Wiki garden. This song is about a person envisioning their future and how they would like it to play out. It’s very aspirational because where is one having a garden in Nairobi City a sukuma wiki no less. It’s a fun song. It evokes good feelings, positive feelings.
*Sukumu Wiki- this is a leafy vegetable better known as Kale in English and features in most Kenyans diets on a daily basis. Sukumu Wiki loosely translates to push the week, it helps push the week for many Kenyans.
This song is about self-acceptance, it’s her welcoming you to her insanity so to speak. She talks of being with those who love and accept you and travelling far away with them where you all can just be together and not worry about what the world thinks of you. The piano in the background emphasizes this carefree loose feeling that she is trying to evoke in this song.
This being the last track on the album it sounds like an outro, she quotes a popular children’s song that many of us last heard in Sound of Music “… the sun has gone to bed and so must I…” indicating that this is the end, that the album is winding down. She also ad libs an old but popular Kenyan lyric from the group Swahili Nation and their hit song Hakuna Matata aka Mpenzi “…this is your night tonight, everything’s gonna be alright…” This song is an appropriate end to the soulful and smooth album.
This album is a good representation of Mayonde as an artist, I wish she had provided her fans with physical copies of it so that we could have had album art, correlating images with the music. If you have listened to any he music before this she has a proper vocal range but chose to be more subdued in this album as it correlates to the general feel of the album, there are no ballades which can showcase her vocal capabilities which would have been nice to hear.
Overall it is a good album and has a clear message and a connective story, it’s worth a listen.
To buy the album online go to waabeeh.com or mymokh.com
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