I don’t claim to be a seasoned connoisseur of such matters, but in my many years working in the creative industries I have come to learn and appreciate a thing or two about audio-visual production.
I speak here not as a professional music video critique but in my own personal capacity as a self appointed guardian of the arts and an appreciator and lover of good things: of the many great music videos to come out of the motherland in recent months, Patience Namadingo’s freshly released “Sin’njenjemera” has, raised the bar of music video production in Malawi to greater heights by far.
If you have not heard the song or seen the video yet, this piece of art is inspired by the many highly spirited and sometimes rather confrontational “critiquing” and/or attacks (insert trials and tribulations here) on the professional and personal character of the man of the hour, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, the Major 1 or Papa as he is fondly called by his followers.
The topic of the inspiration for the track is no doubt an interesting source of content for discussion, but for objectivity’s sake, let’s look at the video based purely on its own merit and not on the question of which side of the battle lines it may be coming from.
On the audio side, the fusion of ethno music with elements of Afro-soul Jazz creates a unique sound which places Namadingo in a league of his own.
The lyrical content and the competent use of an indeginous language in his delivery adds a distinct level of authenticity and maturity which is hard to come by in this copy- paste plagued industry.
The fact that this is all coming from from one as young as he is makes it all the more special.
His particular blend of contemporary youthful vocals and a story telling technique that reflects the wisdom of the old makes the track palatable to both young and old alike.
The visuals are nothing short of phenomenal! Not to throw shade on where we are coming from or anything like that, but I am happy to say good riddance to the days when “gospel” music videos were relegated to substandard productions shot against the backdrop of round abouts etc.
Sin’njenjemera has a creatively thought out plot which in my opinion resonates a great deal of thinking outside of the proverbial box. Four soldiers armed with nothing but their guitars and their faith are caught behind enemy lines but they manage to successfully complete a mission set out for them by their commanding officers.
One would expect more “angry” sounding music to accompany this sort of plot but this particular video challenges that perception. Where one would assume that a more confrontational retaliative approach to the forementioned “trials and tribulations” would be taken, Sin’njenjemera takes the high road.
Without particularly offending anybody, metaphors and innuendos are used on both the audio and visual delivery to get points across.
The individuals casted to portray the various characters in the story line are convincing. They do a great deal of justice to the roles that they play. I particularly like the fact that the viewers never really get to see the face of the highest ranking commanding .
The camera work is professional . The various shots are squeaky clean but at the same time they capture a great deal of detail which adds a different element of depth to the production in its entirety.
Before seeing the credits, one can easily recognise veteran videographer Peter Mazunda’s hand on this project. He deserves a great pat on the back and whatever accolades go with it for a job well done.
Credit must also go to whoever was the fixer/location scout for this project. The locations chosen for specific shots are out of this world! What I would like to know is was it all shot it the motherland?
Kudos must also go to the post production team for perfectly tying it all in delivering a finished product that makes me proud to be a product of the Malawi creative industries.
That said, respect to Namadingo for giving us a creative piece of art which not only transcends generations but can also be appreciated by lovers of gospel and circular music alike whatever the distinction between the two may be.
- The author is former Big Brother Africa housemate, a journalist and television personality currently studying in United States of America. This review is taken off her Facebook wall – Fatima WakuMalawi Uja – with her permission to post on Nyasa Times