CD REVIEW – . by Chris Spencer
Chris Gudu hails from Zimbabwe where he grew up not only playing musical instruments and singing with his family, but actually making the instruments.
Prior to moving to Australia, he has performed with Wells Fargo in Zimbabwe, Maluju and Thuza in South Africa and toured with Matonto in the UK.
Chris formed his own band Jive Kayana, playing what is often referred to as “Township Jive Music” and is better known in Southern Africa as Umbaqanga music which sometimes presents a touch of Afro jazz.
Most of the songs are sung in his native language, but on the slick the meaning of each song is explained.Gudu plays most of the instruments on the album while friends assisted with keyboards and guitars.
The first two songs “Bavimbeni” and “Pretty Baby” are sort of reggae shuffles, featuring a male chorus and chanting They are both catchy and happy songs.
In fact the whole album is typically uplifting and joyful.
I do not claim to be educated much about African rhythms, but this is an album that is good to dance to – whether I’m dancing in 4-4 time or 6-8, I don’t know!
“Jabula Time” is more upbeat, while “Before Sunset” is a ballad.
On this track at the start the melody seems forced, perhaps this is typical of the way this kind of music is sung, but the female chorus carries this song to make it one of the stronger tracks on the album.
“Hamba Lugege” is a social commentary song, on which Gudu raps over the African rhythms.
Keyboards are used in the arrangements of “Wairimo Wanga” and “Muhle Nje” while the closing track, “Kuhl’ukubambana” is more typical of the driving jungle drums with huge choirs of voices, and is arguably the best track of all.
If you appreciate your African music this album would fit into your collection quite well, and to those of you who may want to listen occasionally to something different from your normal fare, this might be of interest.