Sauti Sol’s Savara on being his own man shadow


Savara Mudigi. NMG PHOTO


  • The music producer, singer and performer whose official name is Dalvin Mudigi, compares the release of “Savage Level” to the joy of a parent on the arrival of a newborn baby.
  • He describes the album as a reflection of his personality.

How do you carve your own identity as an artist after scaling global heights as a member of one of Africa’s most popular groups? That is a challenge that Savara of Sauti Sol has embraced during the year and a half that he spent working on his debut solo album “Savage Level” which was officially released last Friday.

The music producer, singer and performer whose official name is Dalvin Mudigi, compares the release of “Savage Level” to the joy of a parent on the arrival of a newborn baby.

“It is satisfying to see a piece of work that gives me sleepless nights, happiness, and anxiety, being received by people especially understanding the depth of the music, is encouraging,” says Savara.

He describes the album as a reflection of his personality.

“All through my life I have had to adapt to different environments to survive and so curating my first solo album is part of the process of connecting with my environment,” he says.

“Savage Level” is a play on his stage name but he explains that it also signifies his being “intellectually woke.”

“Being savage means to unlock your inner potential and there are different levels, from the economic to the spiritual, that contribute to the individual” he explains.

“Being my first solo album, it would only be fitting if I pay homage to my people, those who have inspired me through their efforts to work and determination to achieve their goals, despite all odds.”

This has been an opportunity to step out of the confines of Sauti Sol and the process was different from working within the group because he shoulders sole responsibility for the entire project. “This is not a shared vision, it is an individual vision,” he states.

The 14-track album has taken a year and a half to complete because he needed time to articulate his vision through the music.

“Right from the moment that I put down my intentions, it started as a six-song EP, but I had so much to say especially for my first project so I decided to do myself justice with an entire album,” he reveals.

As the lead producer working alongside young mentees from his Sol Kitchen stable, he enjoyed the challenge of meticulous production, and the power of collaboration, which he describes as expressing oneself through other people.

He approached the album with a purely artistic objective and some of the songs were a product of spontaneity.

“Nyashinski randomly pulled up at my house to show off his new car and I, in turn, showed off with a good track and he jumped on it,” says Savara.

The resulting song “More Than a Friend” featuring a rap verse by Nyashinski is already receiving rave reviews from fans who have been streaming it online.

The infectious “Vibration” with Karun, was recorded in less than 30 minutes when she showed up at the studio one night just as Savara was shutting down after a long recording session and dared him to a collaboration.

There are inspirational moments on the album, like the uplifting “Kill Them Every day” that salutes everyone who gets up every day with the determination to work and give their best and “Sababisha” a prayer and encouragement that after cloud there will be joy. “Hello” is a socially conscious commentary on the realities of surviving the hassles of life, while romance takes over on the acoustic violin flavoured “In My Heart.”

“I make aggressive beats because I like the dance culture and the album is a culmination of all the sounds that I have been exposed to as I toured the world,” says Savara.

That hard-edged urban contemporary style, is flavoured with rich instrumentation; percussions, guitar, and saxophone solos.

67 albums

“I embrace African rhythms because I am at a point in my life where I know through experience how precious our culture is as expressed in language, rhythm, and dance.”

It has been a busy period for Savara because along with work on his debut album he has produced several songs for the eagerly awaited new Sauti Sol album expected mid this year along with preparing for a major world tour with the group.

“This album is a blueprint of my journey as a global artist and producer, it’s just all about where we taking the music.”

Savara is using one of Africa’s most prolific artists as a yardstick of how far his career has to go.

“The journey has just started. Oliver Mtukudzi recorded 67 albums and this is just my first. I have 66 to go,” he says.