The chant is asu ni ndoto ya uni
The chant is ndoto za kesho
The chant is Dreams of Tomorrow
The chant is Dreams za Tomorrow
The chant makes me Mandela my fist in the air.
The chant makes your eyes feast on the greenness and greatness that adorns my wrist.
The poetry and spoken word industry has been witnessing massive growth over the years. The youths have found an avenue to communicate their bottled-up issues and are using it to the fullest. The youth have used this art form to speak on mental health, politics, love and loss, just to mention a few.
There is no mention of youths without tagging the name Lexas Mshairi. For a name to qualify as a household name, it has to have been mentioned in many houses. Lexas Mshairi is one such name and Nzolo Muthama is another. And yet another is the speaKINGmachine. If you have not heard any of these names, it won’t take so long.
If wishes were horses, I would suggest you find a time machine, travel to the past and mark your calendars for 6th November 2021 to witness the unveiling of the album, Dreams za Tomorrow.
Hopefully by the end of this album review, you will be chanting with me. The chant is Dreams za Tomorrow.
Dreams za Tomorrow is a 15 track album. The album is Lexas Mshairi’s ( Nzolo Muthama) debut album that has been in the works for years. Safe to say that the work of art is the blueprint of the artist’s life journey.
“Dreams za Tomorrow is a blueprint of my journey. where I have been, where I am and where I am headed,” Mshairi said.
The album, Dreams Za Tomorrow, comes with an outlay of critical questions and possible angles of end approach forms, with each single track in it holding a significant value to the end expected goal. It stands as simple as in Swahili words can put it: “Kelele ya gari la moshi hufika kabla ya gari la moshi lenyewe.” (the sound of a train arrives before the train itself)
“Over the years, generations have been shaken by the test of balance. For instance, feeling like two different people living under one person’s skin. Being a young person aspiring to give back to the society but at the same time wanting to give back to self, all in the same measure. How does it work? Can it work? Has it worked?” Mshairi’s questioned.
The album features powerful names in the art scene. You have the saxophonist, Jesse David proving without much effort that he can also play his vocal chords well.
Last Things First has the two multidisciplinary artists take the airwaves. I particularly love how the track starts. It sets off like we are about to watch some scary Nollywood movie. It had my attention from the word go. The chemistry Lexas has with words in the track is definitely an A+. I am not born a spoiler so I’ll keep the lines to myself.
Porcupines of the East gives a feel of the struggles one has to go through to live a normal life which of course shouldn’t be the case. My ears liked the beats to this track.
“Ukishakuwa fond kutenda dhambi, scripture ni kitu hutapitia often…” u won’t go through scriptures as often (when you are fond of sinning, you won’t go through scripture as often)
It doesn’t go without saying that our relationship with God is dwindling.
The track Limbo reminds us of how close we kept God in the past and how we have drifted apart in the present. A track to make you sit under a mango tree and think about your life. Was that a horn used for the melody?
I have grown fond and fonder of Knowledge where Ansay (Kariuki Njoka) is featured. I am still snapping my fingers at how these two wind their words in description of Malkia who they never get to know fully. Might as well be my current favourite.
Take a listen to Hau’pay featuring Dm Poetry (Mark Odhiambo) and Gatheru Pau (Gatheru Paul) depicting how society still views pursuing art as a career not worth your time. The piece shines a light on these views that have over the years tried to dim the light of poetry, spoken-word among other works of art.
Savage me does not want the lover in Kipepeo to come back. Because that is some good singing from Mwikali Crown (Eunice Mwikali) and of course bars from Lexas Mshairi. The “we are done for the day!” at the end was a good insertion. Though, I disagreed with the voice and started the song again.
The DJ has to play Fala si and Nakudai at one point or another. Powerful link up between Lexas and the 97s band. Yes, the same band that appeared on the inaugural East Africa Got Talent. Their singing is pleasing to the ear that I am yet to listen to the lines. Don’t crucify me! The latter sounds like a good song to serenade your better half or better a third.
Lexas and Pau are at it again in Interlude. I was hooked from the start by the energy of these two. My mouth didn’t stay shut as they went for it. True to it – “Wife ni sanaa” ( a wife is art) Was that auto tune? Good work that one!
Kidato is the story of most of us in high school. You might be chuckling as you listen to this as you reminisce of the good old days.
Njia Panda takes my thoughts back to the album cover art. Poetic Will (William Ogutu) with his mastery of language teams up with Revolutionary Spitter (Norris Kabembe) and Lexas Mshairi to paint a picture of dreams not materializing as expected.
UHURU! Okay, the track name is Uhuru. The track emphasizes on the message relayed to the youths to use tools at their disposal such as spoken-word to voice out their concerns.
One line from Ku’become summarizes it for me. It goes something like “life can’t be defined; best to just express it.That to be there are some things you have to put on hold.” Ain’t this the manual to life?
Krezi Pato and Lexas Mshairi couldn’t have come at a better time. Vocals of Krezi and bars of Lexas in Dreams za Tomorrow gets you standing from your chair to vibrate to the rhythms. And another “we are gone for the day”.
The end is an Outro by pioneers in the industry. Kim Chokera and Dorphan (Dennis Mutuma Mutua) share some nuggets and their experiences. You won’t also miss “Roga nisiroge…” I have loved this poem since I first heard of Lexas.
From the album cover art to the closing credits of the album, it is clearly evident of the good work that has been put into the success of the masterpiece.
The album is a work to listen to time and again. It is a work that passes the test of time. I have loved the musicality infused into the album. All the artists that worked with Lexas knew they had to match his energy which they did. Lexas also mentions Rafinki as a big workforce that has allowed him such growth.
I hope you enjoyed my review!
By Omondi Were
Omondi Were is a poet and writer based in Kenya. He goes by the pen name mboga ya africa which he uses loosely to translate to African Spinach. He currently writes widely and wildly for fun.