MANY had labelled Ammara Brown the queen of collaborations as she had for many years failed to make an impact as a solo act.
However, she finally released her first solo runaway hit single “Akiliz”, in August this year and it did well on the charts. Building on the success of that project, she dropped her debut album “Ammartia”, after several failed attempts over her 10-year long career.
The Sunday Mail Society’s Takudzwa Chihambakwe unpacks the album.
“Ammartia” hangs in the balance. For starters, out of the 14 songs, four have already been released and these are “Mukoko”, “Ode to Mama”, “Wachu Want” and “Akiliz”.
Remove the intro and the outro, which are both running for approximately 90 seconds each and we are left with eight songs to talk about.
However, of the remaining eight, the other track is a remix of her 2015 single “Havarare”. Nothing too different from the original except for a few add-ons on the beat, which leaves us with seven tracks.
With Ammara slanting more towards an Afro-pop groove, there is a mixture of a number of genres in her songs in a bid to come up with a unique sound that appeals not only to the local but international market.
However, this idea might work adversely for her as the majority of the seven new tracks lack the magic of “Mukoko” or “Kure Kure”.
For instance, on the tracks “Tawina” and “Next Life Time” on which she features the legendary Hugh Masekela – the lyrics to the songs are pretty much easy sing along types, but the composition just lacks the extra touch – something that makes one say wow and causes them to put the track on repeat.
Many have criticised Ammara for running away from the traditional grooves, which her late father Andy Brown was popular for. Chief among the reasons she has evaded this path is to avoid being seen as a replica of Andy and a quest to appeal to the international audience.
On “Kure Kure”, the traditional groove worked wonders and the track scooped some awards. However, her deviation from the norm also paid off on “Mukoko”, which is a smooth afro-pop song – so to an extent she is justified.
And with this in mind, Ammara has a cool fusion of Afro beats and dancehall on the track, “Sey No” on which she features Nutty O.
The mid-tempo composition is one of the few that have potential to make it big out of the seven new tracks on the album. The combination of the artistes is seamless and no doubt this track will be a club banger.
Another track with potential to make it big is “Khammeel’s Kick”. The track which Ammara dedicated to her son sees the Mukoko queen fuse her mbira with a well woven Afro-pop beat that is refreshing to the ear.
The chorus to the song is where the magic lies. Sweet melodious Shona vocals are complemented by a simple yet infectious groove. This is the best arranged track on the album – kudos to Ammara and team.
Moving on, the track “Da Nile” is the most disappointing on the album. When you watch Ammara perform the track live, it is full of life and energy but the recording fails to deliver the same. This is because the live drum was replaced by a weak digital imitation. This killed the robust rhythm section the song carries when being played live.
The same mistake was done on the track “Akiliz”.
“Glow in the Dark”, the only a cappella track on the album, sees Ammara showing off her vocal prowess as she shifts from different vocal ranges and yet maintains top-notch musicality at each level.
Similar attributes go for the track “Crystal Blue Moon”, which is by far the best written song on the album. Overall, the album is palatable but lacks the killer punch to make an impression on the market.
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