Election season is in full swing with different political parties doing their best to outdo one another and further their causes in the upcoming elections next month. The ANC, EFF and DA have even recorded albums to coincide with their campaigns. Phumlani S Langa takes a listen
THE EFF: JAZZ HOUR VOLUME 3
The EFF’s spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, the so-called People’s Bae, was abrupt and rude on the phone.
“Ya, ask the question!’ he barked.
It was quite surprising, coming from a man with a doctorate, that this brother has very little interpersonal skills.
After these jarring few moments of being spoken to as if I was trying to sell an internet fibre connection, I asked why the album sounds as it does and Ndlozi responded very matter of factly.
“To campaign. We made it to campaign.
“The album consists of a few struggle songs compiled to communicate messages of African pride and ownership. Songs that speak to revolution and about being young and raging against the system,” he says.
The album consists of an eclectic sound brought to life by a few friends and long-time supporters of this party.
It starts with the haunting Thina Sizwe, an a cappella arrangement supported by Lwanda Gogwana on trumpet.
“The gqom track was an adaption of a speech given at mama Winnie Mandela’s funeral. We also have one of the leading tsonga artists on the album,” Ndlozi says.
There seems to be a bit of everything on this project.
“We have a jazz jam, I think it’s track two, done by MXO, Ringo, Fifi Cooper and kwaito legend Alaska and that’s about the elections and how we will follow Malema wherever he goes.” Zizojika Izinto is the main election song of the EFF, a famous folk struggle song, which draws on nuances of gospel.
Exceedingly in-depth insights given that the song in question is called Somlandela, a song that starts off with a crowd chanting EFF.
The chorus, “somlandela uJuju”, is painful to listen to.
The themes on this record are very on the nose with tracks like Vhotela EFF and EFF Inamandla that clearly convey what they would like you to take from this cheap-sounding album.
Should you give it a listen? If you’re a smooth propaganda fan then this is on song.
THE ANC: ANC ELECTIONS ALBUM 2019
An inspired name for an album, don’t you agree? The infamous Fikile Mbalula is listed as a producer on the album, with Chicco Twala.
This organisation wasn’t taking any chances when setting the ambience at their rallies. It has even pressed an EP which will be coming out soon.
Mbalula was more than ready to share some insights on the album on one day and the next, totally disinterested.
He did mention that the ANC will release an EP to follow the album, with people such as Oskido, Vetkuk vs Mahoota sitting behind the production desk.
The 15 track opus starts off rather timidly with U Do Vhusa. Something about the music on both these albums brings apartheid to mind and how pointless the idea of having an album for an election campaign is.
At least this one provides some hilarity in the form of a song called Bo Mafikizolo and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Afro House band by the same name.
It’s a message about how the ANC will hit the other parties because they are all new arrivals. That’s pretty much the only thing being said on a track longer than four minutes.
The album looks like it was made for you to collect and keep but the sleeve doesn’t show which artists contributed to a track.
The apparent things on this are obviously the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa and the pair of producers.
The album winds to an end that couldn’t have arrived soon enough with the song, ANC Izojik’Izinto ... sound familiar?
This rendition isn’t as emotionally stirring as the EFF one. It would’ve been nice to include a mix by DJ Gweezy (Gwede Mantashe) and, surprisingly, the ANC’s most gifted lyricist, Nelson Mandela, doesn’t make any posthumous appearances.
THE DA’S RALLY PLAYLIST
This article wouldn’t be politically correct or something along those lines if we didn’t mention the DA. Its manager Jonathan Moakes spoke about the music this party uses on the campaign trail as well as the plans for its upcoming election album.
So which artists feature on DA’s rally playlist?
“We use a range of music and artists that reflect the broad diversity of our support.
“Most recently, we have had Ricky Rick, c, KidX, Destruction Boyz, Kurt Darren, TDK Macassette, Moonchild and Early B. And Soweto’s finest perform at our rallies,” said Moakes.
This party even has a whole band to disseminate its intentions.
“Music is an incredibly effective method of communicating. We seek to convey our determination to build a better future for all – One South Africa For All. The songs also convey that only one man, Mmusi Maimane, and one party – The DA – can bring the change that South Africa needs.”
The album only came out on Tuesday and is available on the DA’s website.
What these albums fail to do is provide anything timeless beyond the elections.
Besides flipping emotionally charged struggle songs, the rest of the music will be relevant only for the next couple of weeks.
The idea of these campaign compilations could be viewed as politicians using art for their murky agendas.