Review: Zonke’s INA ETHE
Before I get into the nitty-gritty’s, I would like to say, I was a little bit resistant and anti listening to this album, purely because I knew it was another “Afro-Jazz” album from a talented South African vocalist. I am honestly so over that, hey!
Why is every single talented solo female out there on the Afro-Jazz tip? Where is the VARIETY within the South African music landscape? I swear ever since Lebo Mathosa died all the lady singers in S.A out there are not willing to be brave, strong and form their own identities and create their own unique paths.
I supported Sindi Nene during her time on “Idols. I and many billed her the next Brenda Fassie or Lebo Mathosa. I voted for her every week when she was on “Idols’, I even downloaded MXit just so that I could vote for her, I befriended her on Facebook. I became a real nine-nine groupie because I saw this individuality, creativity and uniqueness in her.
When her album came out, I was one of the first few people, if not the only person, who went out and bought it but LAAWWWWD was I disappointed She was also on that Afro-Jazz tip, whatever had made me love her during her time on ‘Idols” flew out the window.
I totally despised Sindi’s album, it had no originality, no sing-along melodies etc. It was just not infectious; it was just a BAD album and so my fandom and Stan-ship towards Sindi met its untimely death… I think after I listened to her album, I unfollowed her on twitter but this is not about Sindi… I was trying to paint a picture on how the last Afro-Jazz album from a talented female vocalist left me traumatized. So understand my Un-willingness to give Zonke a chance.
Oh but… Can I say!!!! Zonke is the real deal! I love! Love! Zonke’s album.
It is total musicality, It takes you through journeys, she plays with different types of sounds, and she plays with her vocals and gives you stories in her songs.
There’s voice, there’s melody, there’s musicality, there’s instrumentation in this album. Yes! Yes! It’s another Afro-Jazz album by a South African female vocalist, what can she possibly gives us that Zama Jobe or even Judith Sephume has not already given us?
I will say, Zonke gives us all of that with a little bit of experimentation from other genres and this is what I LOVE about this album. It’s ‘MUSICALITY”.
1. Ina Ethe
The album opens up with the title track; “INA ETHE”. Truth be told, since this is the opening track, it’s the song that made me not want to listen to the rest of the album. It’s your typical Afro-Jazz song, nothing new but still a song you can listen to. However, it sounds like any other song you’ve heard from all who’ve delved into this genre.
The second track; “Uzohamb’Ubuye”, I love! Love! This song. It’s nothing new, but its melody, the lyrics, I love it. This is one of my album picks.
3. Viva The Legend
The third track on the album; “Viva The Legend”, kind of gave me a little bit of an awkward moment, because the melody is a similar to the previous song but it just takes a bit of a slower tempo. I really hate it when producers recycle themselves, or recycle an artist’s previous song on the same album. So this is a nice song, but I vote to skip it.
The next track; “Ngomso”, what a beautiful track about the one who promised to come back tomorrow, but just did not keep to their promise.
This is also one of my album picks; The song is melodically beautiful; Zonke’s vocals are on point, it’s one of those songs that are an emotional journey.
The next track; “Feelings”, the leading single, the one that is most played on radio and my ultimate favorite song on this album. This song is the one! Lyrically, melody… Everything! If you’ve ever been in a troubled relationship that you still want to save, this is the song to relate to.
The next song; “Jik’izinto” I can’t put my hand on exactly what it is about this song, but it has a very feel-good feeling. It’s the kind of song I see me and my drunken uncle dancing to at a family gathering, It’s a song that brings people together.
“Nameless’ is the next cut on the album, I don’t feel this song much. I’ts one of those songs that sound similar to a song you heard from some other artist, and even that version sounded similar to another artist’s song.
8. Thank You For Loving Me
“Thank You For Loving Me” is the eighth track on the album, and whatever I said about the last track applies to this one, this one for me kind of reminds me of some SADE meets South Africa, but it still sounds like I’ve heard it before.
9. I Know A Place
I Know A Place is such a beautiful track, It’s R&B meets Afro Jazz, I can actually hear the late ‘TK” being a feature on this track.
10. Mzi kaPhalo
The next track is; ‘MziKaphalo” it’s also one of those songs that you feel like you have heard before, but it has a nice, sing-along and dance-along vibe to it. So it’s not a loss on the album, at all.
11. When All Is Said And Done
What I love about the next song; “When All Is Said And Done” is its mild experimentation with the ruggah-tempo and this is what we need! If you are going to go into a genre that every one is doing, at least play around with different sounds, at least bring something new to it. Be innovative, WITH WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE (*side-eyes Sindi Nene)*.
“Sobabini is one of the song which features Zonke at her vocal best. It also has a very nice sing-along melody to it, another feel-good song.
13. Chivalry Is Dead
“Chivalry Is Dead” caught my attention immediately for its eastern influences; the intro is very eastern/ Indian and I will repeat! If you are going to delve into a genre that every Tom, Dick and Sally has jumped on, at least bring something different to it, at least bring other influence, make it your own, separate yourself from the rest and that’s why I like this song.
14. My Song
The closing track; “My Song” is a bit of an anti-climax, one of those songs that I feel I have heard before and is a little bit all over place. It’s not a bad track but I personally would have not chosen it as a last track. It’s like after travelling this long beautiful journey you find that you actually “Aint Going Nowhere” <<<< (Actual lyrics from the song.
Overall this is a beautiful album and it deserves its place in your music collection. It’s very rare that we get solid music from South African artists, so when we do. Let’s support, Go Buy! Buy! Buy!
I rate this album 8/10
By Zamani Khethelo