Mondo Music’s most ambitious release was a compilation album called The Rhythm Nation Project.
This album has been described as the most important thing to happen to Zambian music for a long time, and features 16 tracks by young upcoming artists who will be defining Zambia’s music in the New Millennium.
Listen to the Music
About the Music
This was the sixth release from Mondo Music Corporation in just over a year and underlined just how serious we are about Zambian music. It contains tracks from every genre of music popular in Zambia today, including R&B, ragga, kwaito, and rap and has songs to suit dance floors, cars, kitchens and even bedrooms.
The idea behind The Rhythm Nation Project came as natural progression from our previous album, Sounds Of Zambia Vol 1, which contained some of the work of Zambia’s greatest musicians. This time we decided to look forward to the future and present the young artists who will be setting standards in Zambian music over the years to come. Like their predecessors did in the 1970’s by adapting rock ‘n roll to a Zambian flavour and calling it Zamrock, our young artists and producers have interpreted the music they have grown up with (R&B, rap, kwaito, ragga, etc) and given it a local twist.
SHIBUKA – CHILU LEMBA
The album opens with a revamped version of Shibuka, featuring Radio Phoenix Super-DJ Chilu Lemba performing his own particular rap style. The song was first heard in it’s original form late last year, which many felt was rather limited. So we decided to rework it and added Joe Chibangu on backing vocals and a thumping afro-pop baseline, which gives the song enough substance to withstand even the most serious partygoers. The song talks about social consciousness amongst Zambians and makes clever use of a popular boy scout tune.
FINSHI ULEFWAYA? – MUNTANG’
This young lady is one of the greatest discoveries made since David Livingstone stumbled across the Victoria Falls. Her voice has always been there but we just didn’t know it. Muntang’ sounds as good (if not better) than most of the American R&B singers that our radio listeners are used to. With it’s catchy Bemba chorus and thumping baseline, the track will stand up to the scrutiny of even the toughest music buff. Serious dance music.
TWA MILUMBANYA – JUST CLOSE
This is the first gospel track on the album and is an offering from four of Zambia’s most talented vocal groups. Sung in Bemba and Nyanja, the song is made up of a sweet harmonies sung to a pulsating slow rhythm track. As the name suggests, ‘Twa Milumbanya’ urges the listener to join the Heavenly Host in praising and thanking God for his sovereignty.
GELO WANGA – KHUMAWA
Call it Zamhop, call it Zam-rap, this is a simple song about a young man who goes after and gets the girl of his dreams. Using Nyanja as his language of preference, Khumawa takes life from the streets and public transport and takes it into the dance floor. The rhythm track is very cleverly put together and hook invokes a call and response that will be a favourite chant in dancing circles for years to come.
IT’S O-RIGHT – BEIGE
The fusion of ragga and R&B has become widely accepted by dance audiences all over the world, and this is Zambia’s first contribution to this new genre. Beige has an attitude and confidence that say nothing about her age and sings in Nyanja to a deep and insistent baseline.
SANGALALA – BLACK MUNTU
We first heard these guys singing Jumpa-Jumpa on Yesu Culture’s Sikwendaba album last year, and anyone who has ever seen them perform live will testify how their stage antics really rock any house. They don’t sound too bad either and show some of their clever lyrical skills in this Nyanja and Bemba rap song. If this track doesn’t make the listener laugh, cry, or even just swing from side to side, then Paul Ngozi had a great dentist. With a full album due from Leo and Mwembe later this year, Kalifunku is here to stay.
NA BWALYA – MELTDOWN
Joe Chibangu and Mainza Chipenzi are often described as the black belt vocalists of Zambia. They have appeared on previous albums by Mondo Music (Joe on Black and Beautiful with Yesu Culture, and Mainza is well known for his collaboration with Daddy Zemus), and this is their first ever release a duo. The song has already become one of the most requested tracks on Zambian radio, and is a smooth and sedating ballad that will set the mood perfectly for any ‘Quiet Storm’ or slow jam session. Zambians can do it slow too.
SOKONEZA – BI-REQWEST
There are many things we could say about this track. First is Kapala Macalimba’s smooth delivery of excellent lyrics on lead vocals. There’s the opening segue way about an aborted phone call. Then of course there’s the funky afro-fusion baseline with a clever use of electric piano. Then there’s the Nyanja rap which isn’t really a rap. There’s even the catchy chorus with it’s repetitive sample that brings Zambian music right up to date with anything produced beyond our borders.
NISWALELE – SHATEL
Destined to become an anthem among Zambians, this track by two of Zambia’s leading female vocal talents (they also sing as part of Amashiwi) has a catchy Lozi chorus and that delivers it’s message even to those who don’t understand the language. Niswalele also features a guest appearance by Jones Kabanga who has been known for years as Zambia’s greatest ever guitarist.
WAMVELA BWANJI? – ZION DUB SQUAD
Recorded at Multimedia in Kabulonga last year, this track is an example of how good Zamragga can be. The lead vocals by Tamarin mesh perfectly with the funky reggae baseline. The song itself is a cheeky look at the ups and downs of life.
HATWENDE KULIMA – SERIOUS K
Years from now, this song will be remembered as the song that started a new musical style. Serious K does his thing by rapping without really rapping. Some might find it strange that a young man from Lusaka’s Matero township describes farm life so accurately and with so much conviction, but this track is really about working hard and enjoying one’s success. Hatwende Kulima is another example of mixing the old with the new, and features a lead guitar that is reminiscent of the old kalindula sound, and a catchy hook that reminds the listener of Africa’s best harmony arrangements. Afro-fusion at it’s bes.t
OVERCOMERS – THE CHERUBS
Listeners on the Copperbelt may already be familiar with this run-away Kwaito hit. The artists are from Chingola and traveled to Lusaka to record a revamped version of this hyped track. This is a perfect example of how Zambia’s youth interpret God’s message into a new type of gospel. Also featured is well known vocalist Mutamula Mwale from Northmead Assemblies Of God choir.
I NEEDED MORE – LINDI
Last year she won the Ngoma Award Winner for Best Female Performer. Later this year, we will be unleashing a debut solo album from a young lady who has been described as having Zambia’s sweetest voice. But right now, fans can hear her on this slow and heart-rending ballad which features smooth guitar strings by Jones Kabanga. Born and bred in Kitwe, Lindi writes her own songs and sings them to perfection. She is without a doubt one of Zambia’s greatest musical stars of the future.
DA CITY – C.R.I.S.I.S.
“I Tell it like it is!” says the man many consider to be Zambia’s leading rapper. He first came to light after doing a jingle for a certain Radio Phoenix DJ, and has been nurturing and developing his talents ever since. He is also a supreme musical producer, and shows it with the phat beats he put together on this track. The track has a catchy hook and a strong message celebrating life in Lusaka, one of Africa’s most metropolitan and happening cities.
CHIPOLOPOLO 2000 – TRIBAL COUSIN
Since being released as a single in February, this has now become Zambia’s soccer supporter anthem for the New Millennium. Opening with a harmonic intro comprising of Zambian keyboards, strings and singing, it then breaks into pounding drums and a reverberating bass. Vocals by Sidney and Raheem build the track up to it’s triumphant call and response climax. From beginning to end, Chipolopolo 2000 retains it’s melodic upbeat feel while staying true to it’s local base with a distinct Zambian flavour.
FOCUS MY EYES – K.C.C.K.
The album ends with a mid tempo gospel track that has set standards for Zambian vocal performance in recent times. The four gentlemen combine perfectly on sweet harmonies and the guest appearance by Lindi leads the song into a climatic finale. The track features the well-known talents of Sebastian Mutale on guitars and drum programming.