Once upon a time, the outside world was a thing. Folks could go out to movie houses, terrace restaurants, bae holidays, Unplugged, Cookouts, First Fridays, loud music gigs, discotheques and social gatherings.
Then 2020 came with the whirlwind that is “Rona and the world was abruptly interrupted. All the fun stuff we used to do, like travelling, is no more. Most people are stuck at their houses doing the same sh*t repeatedly. All we are left with are just memories of the good ole’ days.
Multi-disciplinary artist Ulenni Okandlovu aka Brother Matabele’s new single hedonistically and nostalgically reminds us of all that splendid stuff we cannot do now under the COVID-19 lockdown regulations: travel around Zimbabwe, go out partying and exploring our beautiful country.
Invitingly entitled “Can I Take You Out”, the song is all about adventures and it announces itself with punchy kick drums, shimmering synths, shuffling Kwaito groove, whispered vocals, and a deep, rumbling and hypnotic bass. Ulenni said the sound seeks to take the listeners’ imagination back to the old days and straight to the future, while its message takes them around Zimbabwe in a tourist spirit and vibe.
Though Brother Matabele is yet to get some love from mainstream media outlets, he’s been in the music game for a cool couple of years now, flying under the radar while popping up on collaborations and guest appearances.
He is the co-founder and lead vocalist for BANTU SPACESHIPS, an experimental music duo which has been slowly smouldering on Zimbabwe’s alternative music scene.
In his capacity as a solo artist, Ulenni has also collaborated on two alt-rap tracks CAVA & Lento ilit. In 2017, he collaborated on a project with a Polish DJ/Producer (DJ SICK) and dropped the soundtrack NkanyeziYami under Pierogi Records.
A potential saviour of the inconspicuous alternative music and the dying Kwaito music, it is exasperating that he’s making music in an era that doesn’t value that so much. And because he is a multidisciplinary creative who doesn’t necessarily comport or confine himself as a mere musician, he may never catch that mainstream breeze.
Thing is, if the aliens visited us today and an arbiter shared with them examples of every musical genre, chances are he wouldn’t be used as an example. The aliens would be introduced to the Jah Prayzahs or Winky Ds. The little green people would likely hear “Mukwasha,” which just hit 2 million views on YouTube.
Because popular music will always be just that, a little more work is required to find good, contemporary jams that emphasize authenticity, originality, and Afrofuturism — and that is the category that you will definitely find Ulenni Okandlovu.
The heads-down stomping song – Can Out Take You Out – was self-produced and it will surely leave listeners craving for his solo EP set to drop late August this year.
Now, you can go check out the new single on Audiomack and proceed to start a petition asking Mr President to open outside as we are ready to groove.