Unathi - In Honour

2009-02-10 12:33
 
In Honour
 
In Honour arrives at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the young black songstress of traditional leaning to avoid being thrown under a volley of half-thought-out comparisons before her first lyric. Let’s play a game: "I can match your Thandiswa Mazwai with your Simphiwe Dana and just as easily as you can stand my Camagwini side-by-side with my Siphokazi." But that’s not to say that these ladies' voices bear a generic quality – quite the contrary – only that some of their unique idiosyncrasies get washed under a flood of by-now-all-too-familiar-and-comfortable-Afro-popish-smooth-jazz-sounds that unfortunately not only lead to neglect, but also rolled-eyes and crass misjudgments of subject matter.

There tends to be predictable quality in the sound. You can tell what’s 'deep', what’s meant to be about love, what reminds you of your ancestry – you can tell what’s so on, you can tell what’s so forth.
But. I would vouch for In Honour. It's different.

The album opens up with the screeching twang of an out-of-tune guitar playing to a rudimentary mbaqanga template – and then seconds later that's abandoned and we’re swirling around in a stream of gently nostalgic township jazz, wise above our years, meditating on love apart, tragedy, and the inherent tenacity of our spirits.

Unathi's silk-textured vocals have the quality to lull you into a forgiving stupor as the music defiantly throws you across a lush, hybridized Afro-urban-jazz soundscape which – though daring for her 'genre' and vocal range – remains just as accomplished.

In Honour succeeds in that it cheekily has a bit of everything for everyone. Unathi’s story is as much told through her lyrics as it is through the music – she aims to get us travelling. And her voice is our tour guide in a sprawling sonic landscape that takes us from sweaty dancehall clubs held under the booming tyranny of Jah Seed's fiery spins, to defiantly hip-breaking early 90's kwaito grooves that get you ready to kick away the crates and muddy up the linoleum. Add to that guest verses by rappers Amu and HHP, as well as the former’s foray into salsa-flavored hip-hop beat-making, and you have an album whose different sound keeps you ear-stuck from beginning to end – and a mature, sultry, confident voice that weaves it all together seamlessly.


Afro-pop meets hip-hop and kwaito does the salsa? Smooth jazz squeezes itself into the grooves of thumping deep house, while reggae furtively takes up a conversation with bouncy pop? Unathi’s second offering manages to stand apart by bringing with it a bit of everything.

Jackie 2009/02/11 11:45 AM
This album sucks big time, I'm really trying to understand what all this hype is about. Unathi can't sing, she sounds like she's crying or someone is choking her. As for the 1st single, We Thembisile, dj's should just stop playing it. Unathi has a long way to go compared to the likes of Zamajobe, Lira, Thandiswa, Thembisile, now these ladies are the true definition of divas.
Lebo 2009/02/11 4:46 PM
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Pay no attention girl. You got game.
David 2009/02/11 4:52 PM
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Jackie, you know your stuff - Simphiwe is class. Give Unathi a few years.
Zuuu 2009/03/02 11:38 AM
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I like the album, i like her lyrics and the first single "We Thembisile" is rockas, I don't care who says what and so is "nje nje nje"! My other favs are "Ilanga", "Gimme the music","ndathini na"! And yes Jackie, you cannot compare Unathi with the likes of Zamajobe, Thandiswa etc, because she is different from them in every way!
zethu 2009/03/06 2:20 PM
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very good , i like love the song we thembisile. keep it up irl u are a star.
thabani 2009/04/28 3:20 PM
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album is to overated she is just enjoying airplay.
kutoane 2009/05/03 10:13 AM
wow ur album sucks big tym u mst wrk hd,coz de r mny competitors hu r lkn at u...luv u slender
Sisanda 2009/05/29 9:49 AM
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Unathi your album rocks and people are jealous!!!
PHASWANE 2009/06/03 2:45 PM
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UNATHI GAL UR SONG THEMBISILE ROCKS
tidimalo 2009/06/07 9:16 AM
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i think it is overrated aswell. the first album was better than this one but all the songs are worth listening too i give it a 3
Florence 2009/06/17 4:37 PM
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yo this song is killing me softly.we hembisile
sunshine 2009/06/24 4:04 PM
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Nathi pay no attention to those who dont understand the music lingo @ all. U rock sana big time.
Nomfundo 2009/07/11 11:10 PM
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Yho sis I love your song 'A mother's love song.What an amazing song,brings me to tears.I really love your music its so calming and beautiful.Keep it up and may God keep inspiring you and don't forget to thank him for blessings.We are where we are because of Him not by our own strength.Love ya.
Tumi 2009/07/17 2:34 PM
I love the song ndathini na! Its super!!!
Tumi 2009/07/17 2:34 PM
I love the song ndathini na! Its super!!!
Tumi 2009/07/17 2:34 PM
I love the song ndathini na! Its super!!!
Felicia 2009/12/08 4:53 PM
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What a fantastic album, I bought the cd this weekend, and I cant get enough of it, especially the song: A mothers Love song. I dont understand Xhosa, but whatever those lyrics mean I love them
Joy 2010/01/02 10:36 PM
UNATHI cannot sing period. I don't know why people are fooling her. She has a choir voice. She just can't be compared to Lira or Thandiswa. She should stick to what she does best, presenting. Music is just not for her. I agree with you jackie big time.
Me 2014/07/15 2:15 PM
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I agree with Jacki and Joy. Nathi girl, your voice is great for voice overs of Doc Mc Stuffin (Zitha) and Metro/ presenting. Singing cc is not for you. You may know music like Randal but that doesnt mean you can sing. Just song sisterly advise. oooohhh the only song i like is Nolalimainly for the vibe and not the voice.
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