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muyiwaThe highly anticipated third offering from Muyiwa & Riversongz hit stores at the end of March.  In celebration of its release, we were invited to the album launch.  During a highly emotive, remarkably and incredibly gratifying night, was taken on a ride through the makings of the greatly energising album ‘Declaring his love’.  Afterwards, having a tete-a-tete with the man behind the music leaves us with a sensation close to a draining – drained yet uncontrollably empowered.  A few months into the chart-topping album release, we’re still gushing.  Here’s how it all played out.

Picture the scene: A cold night in West London.  Tens of people crowding the foyer of a well used movie theatre.  Anticipation and excitement pervades the air.  Colourfully clad individuals fill the theatre.  A diverse mix of people of different ages and backgrounds eagerly wait to be taken on a journey filled with music and theatrics.

What we were not prepared for however was the sincerity of emotions that played throughout the evening.  When invited to an artist’s album launch, you expect to be entertained.  What you do not expect is the tears, unhidden passion and the sense of uncertainty that saturates the atmosphere.

The night started off somewhat shakily when Muyiwa took to the stage and in his usual self-deprecating way announced that he was unaware he was supposed to perform at such an event.  An album launch with no performance to showcase the songs to the audience? Interesting.  This slight was quickly forgiven however as curiosity set in and an eagerness to experience what might lie in store took hold.

P1010018.JPGRoll the film (we are in a movie theatre after all!).  With no parental advisory at the start of the piece, we were not aware of the highly emotive nature of what we were about to witness.  Instead we are transported into a time zone that spans over 30 years.  The night turned out to be one of journeys.  Rollercoaster rides.  For every song showcased from the album, a feeling close to elation is unleashed.  You can’t help but crave more and with each helping, you sense that a lot of effort was put into its creation.

Displayed, scene after scene, were excursions starting from the personal tragedies endured to the simple joys that make up his person; in short Muyiwa was laid bare for the audience.  This proved to be an excellent framework for the album.  Every aspect of this album is raw and edgy and yet borders on the tender.  From the loss of his parents under tragic circumstances to the birth of his son, this album lays the groundwork that, regardless of your status, age or background, you are able to relate with.  If you are looking for a feel good album, this is it.  On the other hand, if what you need is a serene album designed to leave you feeling reflective and mellow, it also does not disappoint.

The significance of this album and the sense of community it seems to envelop is the bringing together of different cultures through its variation of beats and lyrics.  Muyiwa himself says that this album is “letting it all hang out and that invariably draws people together.”  Going further he focuses on the message it conveys stating “Real life, real worship, real openness and real people feel it.”  This shows the intensity it possesses.  There is a varied mix of songs on there from different cultures across the world but it’s its naked, unapologetic nature that stays with you.

Asked about the position of vulnerability this puts him in his response was simply “There’s no other way for me to live, especially on stage.  It’s an insult to God and the people watching for me to be faking the funk.”  This candidness is what has endeared thousands of listeners to Muyiwa during his weekly radio show.  His lists of achievements are long but there is a humility that can’t be ignored.  Asked about all he has accomplished so far his response centred on his feelings that there is so much still to be achieved.  His view is that “there is no time to waste getting happy about being a big fish in a small pond.  We’re striving on.”

There is a lot to be gleaned from an artist whose star seems to be shining as brightly as Muyiwa’s and who, yet, stays grounded in his faith and sense of family.  This is altogether more apparent when asked at the end of the interview if he could have an audience with just one person, who it would be.  His response was his father.  He says he wants to get to know him; wants him to get to know the man he’s become.  To learn from his mistakes.

A lot has been said about the man based on our encounter of him but his music is where you can truly experience not just the man, but the God in the man.  Our words can do no justice to why you should pick up a copy of ‘Declaring his love’ so we let Muyiwa do the job for us.  In his own words the album is “eclectic; high energy.  It’s raw.  It’s fun.  It would bring tears to your eyes.  It would make you laugh if you are down.  If you want to experience the American Indian culture it’s in there; if it’s the African culture you want, it’s there.  It’s an album that won’t be for everyone, I could say ‘Ha everyone would love it’ but the truth of the matter is it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you want real truth in music, real energy, real openness, then this is the album for you.”

You’ve heard the man! You can hear samples of his music via his myspace page.

Till next time folks…


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