In the opening scene of Sondela Forever, it is hard to catch the walking man in the wide frame. Once-green grass, now the colour of hay although it is still growing, stretches out as far as the eye can see. Above it, the expansive cloudy sky, in its blueish-grey hues, adds an air that is both dramatic and sullen to the frame. The man approaches slowly. Suddenly, we can see his shoulders from the back thanks to a swift cut and a tighter frame that conveys the calm before the storm of him running towards us in apparent resolve. But even then, he seems buoyant.
Jovial souls, it is a common thought, struggle to accommodate more mellow states. Yet both of these belong to a single range, the same body is usually able to feel one as well as the other. Muzi, the man who is now oscillating between the grass and the clouds, can be frivolous. In another recent music video with Espacio Dios aptly titled Good Vibes Only, he and his accomplice outdo each other in their lack of any serious purpose. The goal, the video wastes no time in conveying it, is not to have fun but to embody it.
If the delicate airy mood of Sondela Forever struggles intermittently to contain Muzi, it is because the original Sondela, off Muzi’s second studio album Zeno, is a livelier track. The lyrics soon give that away: The English parts are modestly boasty, and slightly rambunctious for the keys that structure this rare offering by one of South Africa’s best DJs /Producers, one that while chronically underplayed on streaming platforms, has a well-deserved ardent following across the world.
A hallmark of Muzi’s offering is honesty (and beanies!). And as far as the former goes, Sondela Forever feels like his most honest yet. Even his announcement of the song on his socials is characteristically straightforward and unadorned: “Sondela is Chris Martin’s favourite song on ZENO. Mans loved it so much he sent me a piano rendition of him playing the song. We then decided to use that for a new, more relaxed version”. I remember that I completely forgot about Coldplay, then forget about that and rush to find the song, ready for the authenticity one has come to expect of “beanie” man.
As the camera hesitantly pans, we are greeted by an ethereal universe: not a beanie in sight, just Muzi in his sheer physicality of form, flanked by long grass, dramatic clouds, and an endless landscape. It feels true, and when we see the tribute to Makhoza at the end of the two and a half minute long video, we know it is.
Cover image | Photo by Camangu Studio
Tell us about a project or news you would like to read on GRIOT. Write to email@example.com
Latest posts by Eric Otieno (see all)
- Frankfurt photographer Ana Paula dos Santos deconstructs ‘A Place in the Sun’ in her eponymous series - November 23, 2020
- MAMA EP | Muzi talks stages of grief and making Pan-African electronica - October 2, 2020
- Monira Al Qadiri on the end of oil and documenting petro-culture for a post-oil world - September 2, 2020
- “As a country, we would like to thank you” | Why Elaine is transforming South Africa’s R&B landscape - August 12, 2020
- Silvia Rosi is inverting the classic West African studio portrait to retell her family’s history - July 7, 2020