By Sharon Atieno Onyango
Published September 16, 2015
Gospel may be the most listened to genre of music in Kenya. This could be due to the fact that it inspires hope in an otherwise hopeless world. However, not all is well when it comes to packaging this hope-inspiring message in video form.
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As if relying on divine intervention to drive the message home, many artists do not seem to pay much attention to the visual format of their music. Their videos, in most instances, do not relate to their songs; others just tend to duplicate performance techniques from other countries.
That Solomon Mkubwa is a talented singer is not in doubt. Listening to him on audio confirms this till you purchase his video that then disappoints you as it lacks the choreography, graphics and most elements that enhance moving images. The video of Mkubwa’s well loved song, Mfalme wa Amani (King of Peace in Kiswahili), for instance, can easily put you off. The dancers simply lift their hands up and sway from side to side, albeit stiffly. Their costume (or is it dressing code?) is hardly anything to write home about. The song, in video form, could be said to be lifeless besides being monotonously repetitive.
Another talented musician whose artistry is vitiated by what could be described as poorly-made video is Doreen Otipo. He hope-inspiring Kesho Yangu ina Mungu (God holds my destiny in Kiswahili) does not match her prowess as it has failed to bring out the message clearly.
Kevin Kioko (aka Bahati)’s Barua (letter in Kiswahili) also fails to rise up to the occasion: The song, the message and the performance do not seem to blend. In fact, the viewer cannot connect ‘letter’ with the Indian Ocean beach vacation locations on which the action is set.
Hellena Kitheka Ken’s Imba Halleluyah (Sing halleluyah in Kiswahili) fails to deliver. The dancers make a poor attempt at imitating South African Zulu performers. Their costumes, chants and performance do not appear appealing mainly because they lack originality.
A music video, being a combination of seven art forms, is supposed to SHOW the action to enable any lover of movies enjoy the action regardless of the language employed in delivering it. The message should be self-evident from the action or performance. A music video is a mini film that should combine photography, colour, poetry, dance, script in a well designed package known as music video.