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Stilted Songbird

by Zoe Henry / 03.06.2009

Artist: Zamajobe
Album: Ndoni Yamanzi

Zamajobe is lovely. She’s great looking, has a phenomenal sense of style, and a voice like a lark. Every musical aspect of this album is of a high quality. The musicians all play their instruments beautifully and the backing vocals are as pleasant as Zamajobe’s herself. But sadly all these factors culminate into something rather unexciting. We’ve heard this all before, over and over and over again.

Easy-listening afro infused jazz with some songstress of the moment showcasing her smooth singing styles is becoming something of a cliché in South African music. Zamajobe is really just a watered-down version of Judith Sephuma or Simphiwe Dana. But this is not to say that the album doesn’t make for pleasurable and unobtrusive listening. Zamajobe’s follow-up album is just about as inoffensive as it is unexciting.

Most of the songs are pretty much the same composition and tempo as each other, so naming the stand-out tracks is not an easy task. They sort of blend into one another and it’s not often clear when one track ends and the next begins. “Fly” does stand out, but only in the worst way. The inanity of the lyrics – “Gonna fly, fly high; Am gonna fly high” – induced an instant headache and forced my finger towards the skip button.

If you’re having a dinner party, Ndoni Yamanzi would make for a very warm and inviting backing track. Or it could be a great gift idea for your granny who lives in London and wants to connect with the Motherland, quietly.

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