The biggest musical collaboration project on the continent – Coke Studio Africa is a platform where artists from all over Africa come together to create incredible music. Generally, artists function within their primary ecosystems. The CSA project sets out to address that divide on the continent as it is not just a compilation of musical performances; it is an experience, a platform that gives us diversity, culture and great music. With 6 new countries participating, the 2017 season features artists from over 16 countries collaborating on over 100 tracks (comprising of covers as well as original songs). With an estimated audience of over 500,000,000 viewers spread across 30 countries, Coke Studio Africa continues to tell (in its own unique way), the African story. It definitely is a legacy project and a place where music meets.
Over the past month, a handful of exhilarating covers have been dropped on the official CSA Youtube channel. First of which (in no particular order) is Dremo’s Ojere featuring South-Africa’s Mafikizolo and Kenya’s Nyashinski. Your mind by now is anxiously calibrating, trying to imagine what that sounds like. Trust me when I say it can’t. The cover is one of those ones you just have to listen to for yourself as words fail at times such as this. All you will be left thinking about by the end of this is just how diverse the continent of Africa is. P.S. Look out for how ecstatic the drummer in this video is.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDjaRn1uUJA&w=640&h=360]
Now, Africa’s most distinctively sounding group – Sauti Sol with Chidinma and Masterkraft take you to the heart of high-life African party. It is a conglomeration of novel sounds, vocals and dance steps. As is often said, in expression of ones art form, ‘fun’ is the most important component, you get too see why in this video.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ixiZMzd18&w=640&h=360]
In this next one, 2 of Africa’s most formidable Hip Hop Kings are seen. One performing a cover, while the others nods away in approval. Olamide aka Baddo performs a cover to Aka’s Run Jozi. Confusing isn’t it? It might just be me, but Baddo seems to have delivered below his ability, which is exactly what makes this video intriguing. He is off-beat more times than one, regardless of the beats as close to home for him as humanly possible. Nonetheless, we see Aka and the crowd constantly bumping to the track.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zY7dgdVXU0&w=560&h=340]
Returning the favour, Aka had a shot at Olamide’s Lagos Boys, and even though it does not come through the same way the original song does, Aka holds water with this rendition. He visibly enjoys doing this, while delivering his what I can only imagine to be Jozi boys version of the song. On another note, the level to which Aka is being auto-tuned these days (even on stage), is another case entirely.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j4W1V-lWTE]
Hmm! The vocally delectable Simi and Fally Ipupa do something hard to put in words on this one. So if you are not sitting down, I advice you do so. The combination of both artists on her ‘Love don’t care’ song is as smooth as it is poignant. The uniqueness and diversity of their voices, yet unity in their unspoken message boasts of the essence of the Coke Studio platform. This emotional journey is even before any member of Sauti Sol uses their microphone. When they do, it all together is just – magic.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFv5CJYllhM&w=640&h=360]
See ladies and gentlemen, Coke Studio is much more than the Youtube ad you cannot wait to skip after 5 seconds. It is an African experience and a burst of unexpected awesomeness waiting for you to indulge.