It has been a very busy fortnight, or more for diva Ammara Brown.
In between welcoming new babies, bunking live shows, reimbursing one Thompson Dondo and stretching her leg like a flagpole, she has also had to contend with criticism of her track, the new song she dropped called “Svoto”.
It is a song she has recently had to ring one DJ Tamuka to rework after the original track attracted negative criticism from many music critics as well as fans who felt it was not a good song and definitely not fit for purpose.
The jury can still reserve judgment because one man’s meat is another’s poison.
What many should agree on rather is that there definitely is something good about the track “Svoto”, both the original one and the reworked track.
As a backstory, “Svoto” features Nigerian phenomenon Mr Eazi and has some rather beautiful riffs in rhythmic guitar drops that sound central African in palate and certainly conjure the audio beauty of days long gone when wizards on the guitar like Lokassa Ya Mbongo used to strum the guitar until is cried sweet tears of joyful sound.
The mature ear will pick that up and immediately warm up to that.
On the whole, there is a very acceptable beauty about Ammara Brown’s song that many people may have overlooked albeit to their peril.
It is related to technology and may seem like a digression. Yet for the purposes of understanding what is good about the song, this is a detour that is altogether necessary to take no less. It needs a bit of patience. If only just a bit.
Users of Samsung mobile phones, which now carry most of our music in this day of technological shift, will understand this dilemma more than anyone else.
That moment at a wedding when you want to take an all-important video clip or picture and just as you hit the snap button, your darn phone decides to tell you you are out of memory and you need to delete a file or two.
You are in a dilemma. Because everything in our phones today is important yet what you want to capture is equally important.
And Lord knows Samsung phones especially are tough to free space on.
That is when “Svoto” comes to play. It is useful as that particular track or file that you can delete and not feel any pain within your heart knowing you will absolutely not miss it nor shed a tear for it. Tracks like that, which free space in your phone (or IPod, if you still use that) are very much hard to find.
But Ammara has done it!
Truth is that was always going to be Ms Brown’s problem as she rose.
Initially doing cover songs of Amy Winehouse and nailing them when she sang alongside her now late father Andy, she took to her father’s discography, sexing up a dish of Andy Brown and Storm hits after he died.
The question was would she be able to become an artiste in her own right.
In came maverick and lyrical genius Tytan (born Njabulo Nkomo) with a serving of honey entitled “Mukoko” and he invited the songstress on board. The result was massive and nobody can ever forget the magic the two brought to the world of music.
But then again the first original competition hit was not hers nor was “Kure Kure” with Jah Prayzah, which counts as one of JP’s best collaborations today, years after the song was dropped.
She has managed to craft a solo discography with songs like “Akiliz” and . . . well, maybe just “Akiliz” to be honest!
“Wachu Want” was after all a collaboration with her sister Chengeto.
That probably remains the biggest challenge her majesty Ms Brown may have to face for a very long while. Will she ever truly be her own woman with a strong original discography or will she eternally only thrive with the hand of another person alongside her?
After “Akiliz”, the ship seemed to have left the port and the maiden was seen as charting uncharted waters successfully. Until like a heavy anchor “Svoto” dropped and caught onto rocks at the bottom of the ocean and got her stuck yet again.
There is a way out perhaps if she starts to engage song writers. Problem is, such creatures hardly abound here in Zimbabwe.
Perhaps her sojourn to South Africa will help her find her own away from her founding market of Zimbabwe.
Truth is, she has always been a genius that Zimbabwe did not deserve.
Her show of skin and flesh, her bravado with darkness and themes like serpents and sizzling black in a nation of “holier than thous” made her the type of breakthrough artiste that would be more suited to the region especially our back garden, South Africa and the rest of the brave world in Europe and the United States. Zimbabwe was never ready.
Like the Lady Gaga of Africa that worldwide breakthrough is coming.
Problem is it was never going to come on the back of painfully blood-curdling musical atrocities like “Svoto”.
Tamuka walked into the mortuary, identified the corpse of “Svoto” and tried to massage it back to life. The more he touched it the more it bled from every orifice on the human body. It is better left like that to die a painful yet deserved death. Certainly Ammara has so much more in her and soon we will forget “Svoto”. At least we pray so.
At least it is well named and actually pisses people off as the name suggests.
There is, however, one last lifeline for “Svoto”. It makes the eardrums bleed, but it has a groove to it. Certainly if Ammara wants to shame the critics, she can bravely unleash a video for the song. Given her bravery of themes and her dance mastery, she can make this a successful video pop phenomenon that will rescue the track
That’s a gamble well worth anticipating.
But without the touch of video magic, the epitaph can be written for “Svoto”.
And we can safely say of “Svoto” today if a video is not coming . . . ashes to ashes, dust to dust.