Coke Studio Africa came back for this year’s edition last week.
Since the show debuted back in 2013, they’ve successfully established themselves as a performance arts junction of sorts – a connection that has resulted into meetings by artistes from different places that has even given birth not to only friendships but collaborations too.
For instance, before Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol did Africa, their first collaboration had been on an episode of the show, that time they did a mashup of Shake Yo Bum Bum with Temperature, on the other hand Jackie Chandiru may have worked with Shaa on the latter’s Champion but it’s on that season of the show that she met Nigerian artiste Waje to do Take Me Higher with Kenya’s Isis.
This year though, the producers seem to have switched things up by introducing a segmet for cover songs other than just mashups.
Here, two artistes that are going to collaborate get to sing each other’s songs.
The first episode has already given us Chameleone doing Neyma’s Poire and Neyma too doing Chameleone’s Milliano.
Neyma, made Chameleone’s Miliano sassy and easy for the ear, her interpretation was one that added joy and smiles to what chameleone may have been singing about (which many Ugandans have no idea of), the language may have been a challange, forcing some words to com,e off rather flat but she did a rather good job.
Chameleone on the other hand has his way around languages, even when he’s meeting it them for the first time, he’s effortless as he sings Poire that his Luganda adlibs at times come naturally. his interprettation and fixes he gives the song are all acceptable though above it all, it’s his energy while performing this song that stands out more.
The interesting thing about the segment is a fact that it has finally broken the circle that has probably been hindering acts from going on to work together after performing mashups on the show.
With this format, an artiste gets a colleague’s song and learn it as well as interpreting it the way they feel suitable, for instance it was nice watching Chameleone slot Luganda words in Neyma’s song or Fally Ipupa giving Sauti Sol’s Nishike a rather different artistic view.
The new format (which may not make it back in 2017) allows different artistes to appreciate the different acts style, genre and instrumentation than when they only collaborated with one of the parties literally bringing lyrics on table.
The cover part is more involving since it’s almost equivalent to owning one’s song and considering the fact that the owner of the song is always watching too, theirs always a certain amount of respect to it.
Coke Studio Africa premiered on Saturday on Urban TV in Uganda and Citizen TV in Kenya, while it’s also available on MTV Base and many other African TV stations across the continent.