Afro-pop band Sauti Sol has unleashed a brand new video, ‘Melanin‘, celebrating black beauties, and featuring Nigerian artiste Patoranking. It’s a significant stance taken by the trend-setting trio, furthering an increasingly prevalent undercurrent of discourse about skin colour and its societal perception.
Co-written by the talented Kenyan songwriter and singer, Nviiri The Storyteller and produced by Sauti Sol, ‘Melanin’ becomes the debut single off Sauti Sol’s upcoming music project ‘Afrikan Sauce’ – set for release some time in 2018.
The instrumental arrangement of this track is phenomenal – while the start is redolent of North African influence with chimes and male chants, we’re pacified with a more subtle array guitar strings and fluid lyrics.
The video begins with the artistes walking by the beach and under the hot African sun, with barebacked women staring into the ocean. What comes to mind is the heritage of the continent, with Sauti Sol clad in Nigerian brocade playing on their instruments by some wooden boats, and the women representing the turmoil of the slave trade, juxtaposing the memory with peace and beauty.
Patoranking’s ingredient is a West African and Caribbean vibe, as Bien Aime, Polycarp, Chimano and Mudigi bring it whole circle, encompassing the rest of the continent – and of course representing Kenya.
“We couldn’t be happier to share this news with our fans. Our aim with this LP is to connect Africa through music,” says Sauti Sol, revealing that for the better part of 2017 they had been silently working on the LP across the continent. “The LP’s body of work will be a continuation of our LIVE AND DIE IN AFRIKA theme.”
Repetitive lyrics of ‘I’ve never seen skin so dark, you’re the Queen of the dance floor’ can be heard through out the single. It’s the highest I’ve heard Chimano belch out, as we’re accustomed to his rich barritone adding the flavour to the sauce. In the case of ‘Melanin‘, Bien Aime, Mudigi and Patoranking are shining bright with interlaced vocals.
“I’ve known Sauti Sol personally for about three years, and I can truly say that we’ve been fans of each other as much as we’ve been friends. I am happy we finally release a track that represents us both in equal measure. We can only go higher! Africa to the World!” says Patoranking, speaking on the collabo.
The fact that the musicians have chosen to celebrate dark-skinned women, in a society that is coming to shun this sort of stigmatization that elevates fairer skin as a sign of beauty, is remarkable. It’s an empowering message, from males no less, that will become an anthem for females who feel dis-empowered physically.
Sauti Sol say that the AFRIKAN SAUCE LP is rich and diverse with an array of songs and experiences that will take die hard fans of the group back to the roots of Sauti Sol – that warm resonant pop sound fused with traditional Kenyan influences, creating a mélange of rhythms and melodies.
‘Melanin’ perfunctorily continues an underlying core of Sauti Sol, addressing touchy social topics in the only ingenious way they know how – through beautiful music.
Here’s the video…