Zulu Poet Sabelo Soko returns with Umkhondo, his debut album after his EP in 2014.That the first album of 2017, reflecting the spread of the gloomy period in South Africa would come from a poet feels tremendously appropriate. This, as the public has waited close to 3 years to experience a full body of work from Soko, after his EP 2380 featuring prominent SA artists such as rapper Emtee, MarazA, and poet Vangi Gantsho amongst others.
It is no mistake that Soko conceptualised the album as music accompanying you on a journey, as the title Umkhondo loosely translates to trails or tracks. He takes you, methodically, on the journey and life of each poem and song.
After a succinct intro, the music of the first poem, Umkhondo initiates a spiritual calling of Soko to which he responds with a poem that mirrors his self-regard, his background and the significance of following the path laid out by ancestors. The following poems such as Eziko Lamaphupho and Amalunde continues the faultless sonic allegory for the album’s principal conviction, going deeper with the dominating melancholic poetry.
Soko also features singer MeropaSoul and poet Makhafula Vilakazi on, 30th September Peoples MVMNT which further expresses in a doleful tone the issues of the time i.e poverty, corruption and the black youth, together mentioning the names of former freedom fighters and recalling Marikana.
Elsewhere the album touches on love and responsibility with, Zithande and Ogwadule. Diverging from the theme of the album the last serving, Khuzani featuring rapper MarazA brings in a sound combination of kwaito and trap. This ending makes the record a strangely non-gloomy gloomy album.
The poems and songs reflect the now, demanding you look closely into the atrocities of the now. Soko delivering his work in isiZulu including African instruments such as uMakhweyane, iStorotoro and iKhehlekhehle make Umkhondo an essential record in your poetry and music collection.
The album can be purchased from iTunes: https://itun.es/za/hxUyjb