Music Review: Hayawani by Nyashinski

You want to dance ‘helicopter’. It just fits. You want to shake your shoulders, just a bit (not the way they do in ‘kutalang’i). A little shoulder-shaking-arms-apart kind of dance, with your legs doing whatever they want to do. The head can nod, mbele-nyuma, or left- right, like you just took a sniff (Haa!) Yes, it is Nyanshinski’s song.

The solo guitar that introduces the song and stays with you – disappearing to let Nyashinski relay his message and resuming as a signal that he’s done with his verse— is unforgettable. It reminded me of that guitar in ‘Kasuku’ by Maroon Commandos or the one in Sukuma bin Ongaro’s ‘Jirani Kuno’.
And the way the bass guitar checks in at 00.09, eish, that combined sound of “vroom and uuhhmm” boooosss! Where’s Clint the Drunk? The bass man doesn’t have to play anything! I’d heard something like the rhythm guitar earlier on, not intrusive, but it is there, pacing the song, (it’s perhaps somebody getting creative on the keyboard and it works.) And the drums and percussion…

Of course, all these could be the work of all the new toys in the recording studio, but, yes, it set the pace for the song. It actually invites you to increase the volume, from 12 to 18… and please, do not mess with the equalizer, especially if you had been listening to Bob Marley’s ‘Coming in from the cold’.

As for the lyrics, well, well, well… great theme – the capacity of humans to do evil, the greed, and the ‘money is the root of all evil’ kind of thing.
The fella sets you up and then hits you with it…
Kwanini hatuwezi sote kupenda, oi wenzangu wacha niwaambie
Labda sisi wote wenda wazimu, labda laana yetu pesa

Kesho ukipoteza kila kitu, dunia nzima itakucheka
Wanaomba nitiliwe chai yangu sumu, wabaki hao ndio kusema
Kesho wampigie dame wangu simu, asahau alivyonipenda’

It sounded at first like ‘anakariri shairi’ to the beat in the beginning. But when he sings, yes that part (0.40 -1.06) where he changes pace (and to me it sounded like the part where he ACTUALLY sings --you can hear his voice going up and down the tonic solfa) you appreciate the whole composition.
I actually hoped he had a second part where he does a similar thing with different words, but he just did as they teach in music school, he threw in the recap. The song is set up as a request for an intercessory prayer to ‘Mama’.

‘Mum, before you conclude your prayer’, Nyanshinski says, ‘please ask God that I should forever stay afloat; I should never sink.’

The video by Cedo, he he he, the police and demonstrators, shoving and pushing, in fact, there are burning tyres, and ha, someone running, with a smoking teargas canister—wueh! There’s this guy who is twerking just next to Nyashinski, wearing a jacket written ‘Peace’ ( haki, I am not making it up, check 0.22; 0.36; and 0.34) but then he’s the one fanning the flames, really. Haaa Peace ambassadors wamemulikwa mbayaaa! Yes, that looked like you my friend, yes, you the keyboard warrior, as Nyashinski says, 'labda laana yetu pesa'.

Whatever effect he does at 2.23 just before the choir checks in, is magical!

But Nyashinski could have given the choir a bit of lyrics, just something, so they don’t just chant “hayawa ee eh ee ehe, hayawaaa” so many times. He should have given them some words. It is a beautiful choir, fantastic voices, they could have done magic even if they were to sing just two lines: “Wengi huishi kutafuta kasoro kwako/ why man so money minded/ you wanna take from everyone”.
Eh, ha ha ha, he’s reminded me of Ecclesiastes, my favourite book with this line: “Tunaongezea nini bidii, na roho ya mwanadamu haitosheki haki”.


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