Artist: Tetu Shani
Year, Producer: 2017, Saint Evo
Nairobi’s urban music lovers have been grooving to Tetu Shani’s March 2017 release for a month now, and with good reason. This fast-moving fusion of deep house and African percussion captures the quintessential woes of a village boy who pays for his lover to pursue her dreams in the city, only for her to be beguiled by the bright lights. She returns full of secrets, having betrayed their love.
The lovelorn boy asks Samalina: “Who are these unfamiliar faces? We had love, we had laughter, now it's gone.”
Shani, who is also a guitarist and percussionist, continues to impress with his ability to keep reinventing his offerings. His songs defy category and his crystal-clear vocals and poetic lyrics imbue his songs with a sentimental quality. Perhaps his guitar-plucking style is the one thread that runs through his songs – from ‘Chemistry’ to ‘Jacaranda Tree’.
In this track, he explores storytelling in his songwriting:
Samalina ever since you came from the city
I've seen you don't call, you don't contact me
Yet by the sweat of my brow,
by my panga and my plow,
I bought you a ticket to Nairobi.
Shani collaborates with Kenyan Equatorial house music producer and DJ Saint Evo and says they arranged and produced the whole song in one studio session. In 2016, Shani featured in Evo’s debut album Jeru.
‘Samalina’ has won silver for outstanding achievement at the March 2017 Global Music Awards. Shani’s first single ‘Round and Round’ won bronze in July 2015.