Unpacking Iyana’s latest offering

01 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Unpacking Iyana’s latest offering


Langalakhe Mabena
Nothing but the unimaginable comes out when two highly creative artistes join forces to become one, and the latest album by Iyana, a duet of award-winning Xhosa goddess Qeqeshiwe Mntambo and seasoned guitarist Trust Samende, is definitely incredible.

The duo released the album Iyana, which can be loosely translated to It Is Raining last month and if one listens to the 10-track album, goosebumps develop as the rhythm of the guitar on the entire project echoes the African music melody.

This is a masterpiece that has a potential to be a lucrative export to the entire world.

It brings out true African identity complemented by music sung in Xhosa and IsiNdebele.

Cattle are a symbol of wealth in the African culture. When one has a massive herd of cattle, he is considered a man among men, the strongest among his counterparts.

However, any form of wealth has the potential of destroying any family and this is the same issue that the song Xabana is addressing.

“Ziphi Inkomo zikaBaba? (Where Are My Father’s Cattle?),” sings a disappointed Qeqeshiwe questioning family elders as the family fights over the late father’s herd of cattle.

Qeqeshiwe has seen a lot in life and in music. She has been to Cape Town but did not find success there.

However, as imbokodo (strong woman), she picked herself up and tried new ways of reviving her career.

Joining forces with Trust Samende has restored her musical soul.

She sees light at the end of the tunnel and this is echoed on the second track of the album, the title-track Iyana.

“Imvula mayinethe, mayize (let the rains fall),” sings Iyana on the song, and just like rain, their melody on the piece brings happiness and life to the world.

Depression is real and many artistes have been through a lot in life.

To make matters worse, the media, the gossipers, the drama mill is always chasing “celebrities,” exposing their lifestyle and sorrow.

Umthwalo encourages artistes to be strong, it gives them hope and strength to overcome depression for things will be fine someday.

“This song speaks about depression and the pain people carry out each and every day. . . To my fellow artistes who are constantly surrounded by the media, and expected to live in a certain way. . . it’s time we speak out for you are not alone,” sings Iyana partly on the lines of Umthwalo.

What is an Afro-Soul album without a touch of love and its trials and tribulations?

Many relationships are collapsing because of long distance.

Lovers feel that it’s a waste of time to wait for someone, as time will be ticking while the lover is nowhere to be found.

Uhambile’s thematic concerns surround the disappointments that come with trusting a person with your heart, time, and long distance. It narrates the distress that comes with such relationships.

“Ngikuthumile wahamba wanga buyi, Litshonile ilanga wena uzofika nini (I sent you and you said you would come back, The sun has set, when will you return),” sings Iyana on the chorus of Uhambile with a hopeless voice.

The world is facing a lot of obstacles.

Recently it was the Covid-19 pandemic but there is always one problem that is faced in most parts of the world and it’s hunger.

The song Ngitsheleni questions the gods if they are aware of the hunger that people are facing in the world or they have a hand in such suffering?

Jobs are scarce in our time and age, many people are jobless.

Even if they try to live through other means, things seem to be becoming worse. Some even think they have bad luck as such situations unfold every time.

“Angazi kumbe ngile bhadi, kuyini nginga phumeleli (do i have bad luck, why am i not prospering?)” questions the song.

Some say money is the root of all evil, but for one to prosper, he or she needs money for their life to be flawless.

Imali sounds like a rendition of Bongo Maffin’s Mari Ye Bepa. However, Iyana does justice to their version of the song, which encourages people to hustle so as “to live a soft life”.

Most African patriarchal societies believe that if a man wants to get married, he must marry someone far from their society, someone perhaps from other clans or tribe.

Iganyulwa Ezizweni is the last track on the album and it talks about the beauty of marrying someone who is not from your tribe for he/she will bring love, harmony and peace to the family.

Other songs on the album are Nikhona Na, an appraisal interlude of appealing and appeasing to the ancestors to be around and protect their flock and pave way for them, and Wenzile an instrumental.

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