- Christmas has music for all occasions: the carols for family get-togethers or dance anthems that you can play during parties.
- Thankfully in this digital age, music can be streamed, downloaded or even just played on smart speakers from YouTube.
The soundtrack to this year’s Christmas holidays is a mix of contemporary Afropop versions of traditional festive carols, Afrobeats dance hits and a rare collaboration between two global music stars. Christmas has music for all occasions: the carols for family get-togethers or dance anthems that you can play during parties.
Thankfully in this digital age, music can be streamed, downloaded or even just played on smart speakers from YouTube.
Here are some recommendations of new songs and albums that will lighten up your festive mood this year.
‘Tis the Season Ensemble Vol 1: “A Very Kenyan Christmas”
The release of the album which is the soundtrack to the annual musical produced by Eric Wainaina and Atemi Oyungu has been a bitter-sweet experience.
The fans who had hoped to watch the musical had to endure the cancellation of the performance of the show due to a “medical situation” but thankfully the entire album of 11 songs from the production has been released in time for Christmas.
The album brings together some of the biggest talents in contemporary music and there are some interesting renditions.
Kavutha Mwanzia Asiyo and Lisa Oduor-Noah join Eric Wainaina for an interpretation of “Silent Night” refreshed with additional lyrics in Dholuo “Otieno Mokwe”.
Atemi records her version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” featuring Wambura Mitaru with a gengetone spin on the classic Christmas carol with streetwise lyrics encouraging people to have fun but to take care against the coronavirus.
Covid-19 is such a reality of the Christmas festivities that it is no surprise to hear Chris Adwar sing that “Corona is there at the corner” in the benga-styled “Bus To Usagoo” which climaxes into a sweet sebene guaranteed to keep you dancing at any party during this season.
“Kenyans like the rest of the world enjoy Christmas music as long as it is music that they can relate to,” says Atemi.
The latest solo single from a member of Sauti Sol has been primed to coincide with the Christmas holidays and the song will be a perfect banger to the holiday parties because of its infectious, feel-good vibe.
Savara’s sing-along lyrics warn that “too much of anything is poisonous” the type of advice required during the revelry of the festivities.
“Balance” is the first single from Savara’s debut solo album ‘Savage Level” which is set for release early in 2022
“I like banging beats and just love how simple this sound is,” says Savara.
“I have spent quality time with myself working on striking a balance in all forms and this song is a reflection of that,” adds the artist who has the experience of writing and producing countless hit songs as a member of the famous quartet.
He cheekily describes his style as “Afro-Confusion” a global sound that taps into the best rhythms from across the continent, with the trademark sweet sound of the guitar as heard on this single
Ndlovu Youth Choir “Easy On Me”
It is not easy to go one better than the global pop star Adele but everyone’s favorite choral group from South Africa has succeeded in taking the British singer’s smash hit “Easy on Me” and transforming the song into a stunning a cappella version.
Last December, the group of youngsters from a small town in Limpopo who became global idols after making the finals of the 14th season of the TV show America’s Got Talent, gave their fans a festive surprise by covering Mariah’s Carey’s 1994 classic “All I Want for Christmas”
This month, the group has just released a brilliant arrangement of Adele’s ‘Easy on Me”, one of the biggest pop hits of 2021, which begins with a powerful solo in Zulu which grips your attention and then rises into an irresistible choral delivery in the typical style that has won this group admirers all over the world
The single is now available on streaming platforms
Ed Sheeran & Elton John “Happy Christmas”
Ed Sheeran has never hidden his debt of gratitude to Elton John as a mentor so when the legendary singer pitched the idea to record three songs last Christmas it was an offer that Sheeran found impossible to turn down.
This heartwarming duet between the two artists symbolizes the spirit of Christmas as a festival that bridges the generations; it is a passing of the baton from the 74-year-old veteran who has been having hits since 1967 to a fresh-faced 30-year-old Despite the upbeat mood this is a song that not just celebrates the Christmas cheer but also pays tribute to “the ones who have gone” during the pandemic.