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Lorraine Klaasen-Ukubonga Gratitude
Lorraine Klaasen-Ukubonga Gratitude
Lorraine Klaasen-Ukubonga Gratitude

Lorraine Klaasen, Mongezi Ntaka-Ukubonga Gratitude | When home calls

Lorraine Klaasen & Mongezi Ntaka are the pride of Africa, in this new wave of music. Their music embodies everything about their culture that they have absorbed, and wish to share with us. Their latest album Ukubonga Gratitude is them showing us the sensational music they have made since their 2016 album. Let’s get on a joyful swing here.

Sekusile(Kikirikiki) is their opening number. If you want a tester into the kind of joy that is effervescent on this album, the opening track should suffice. The vocals glide with harmonics, as the background holds a steady rhythm with guitar and congas, bongos creating a powerful percussion section. Fiela scraps the percussions for acoustic joy. Harmonica and commanding, powerful vocals make this track something worth listening to repeatedly. Something you can listen to while in the mood to forget your worries and dance your troubles away.

Ilanga Selishonile shows the instrumental prowess that Mongezi Ntaka controls. Lorraine Klaasen creates the mood and sends the message with her vocals, that perfectly complement the kind of sound that this song requires. S’ponono brings the salsa kind of vibe the album requires. It has an inherent rhythm that any listener can groove to. The harmonics getting involved make it much more elevated in terms of energy.

Through the beat in my heart

La Reine has the kind of instrumentals Al Di Meola would fall in love with. The involvement from every instrument is at max capacity, yet they never take away from Lorraine Klaasen and her exquisite vocals. There is a gravity and psychedelic aura to her vocals that keep you invested thoroughly.Insizwa brings that happy swing back to create a suave, yet joyful track. The fun ensues through the track, as strings get involved, creating a dramatic depth to the song.

Thanayi has the tenacity and complexity of a tango. It changes the temperature and quite frankly the weather of the album to this fresh new experience. Lorraine Klaasen and Mongezi Ntaka know how to keep changing the textural feel of the track to create a recherché experience. Though the lyrics evade us, the instrumentals are rich enough to tell us a tale just by the adaptation of the groove. Meet Me at the River creates the mystery and excitement of an initial rendezvous. It is also the first English lyric track, yet follows the streaks of the folk fever that captures this entire album.

Treating us with genre shuffling

While we talk about what this song is doing, you must realize you’re hearing an album that coalesces with so many styles and genres, while stays true to the core. Amampondo reiterates my point, where we go through different styles. This is one of my favourite tracks, the intensity and gentle nature is perfectly balanced. It is a look into the songwriting talent of this duo. Jikele Emaweni creates a rise and fall of tension and energy with the mid paced acoustic track that it is. The strings especially stand out here, manifesting imagery that is strong and compelling. Truly transformative a journey.

In the heart of change

Unamanga is the Disney travel track they’ll never show. It is like listening to a vocal harmonic like an orchestra, while creating enough episodic exhilaration to carry on. The compositions are simple, but the complexity lies in the execution. Kilimanjaro takes a completely different direction. The percussions return with a new agenda of creating a gentle yet texturally diverse track. Lorraine Klaasen and her efforts are truly highlighted in terms of vocal dynamism here. The album closes with Can’t Cross Over. The only other English lyric track, it shows the compositional genius of this duo and their talents. They are truly extraordinary in the ways they have brought about finesse to this album. They have aged like wine, creating music that imbibes the spirit of their home, and does it well. Listen to their album here:

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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.

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