As Singing Wells progresses, we keep clarifying our mission and ways of working. We have spent a lot of time on this Field Visit reporting the first part of our mission, which is to recording the tribal music of East Africa – in the field and with extraordinary sound and video quality. Our second mission is then to use these visits as inspiration for new artists to write music inspired by their tribal heritage. We now have developed a pattern – each field visit involves about 9 days in the field recording new groups AND then we return to Nairobi to work in the studio with tribal musicians discovered previously.
Yesterday we worked with Mwenzele-Nyerere wa Konde Music Club on five studio songs. Today, we brought them back in to work with Stanley on his song Cheri, featuring Macadem. Here’s how the process worked today:
- Jaybee first worked with Stanley, Bishop and Johnnie to get the basic song structure down and put on a vocal ‘Chorus.’ Stanley wants the song to be a classic love song and the his vocals are really beautiful and sincere.
- We then asked Nyerere Wa Konde to come in and work on the verses. We asked them to find their best love song that fits the beat and recorded them. Their musicality is amazing and the lead was able to introduce a whole new melody over Stanley’s song and deliver it as Bishop reported with pitch/timing perfect.
- By this time Nyerere Wa Konde wrote a new part requiring a different bass and guitar for part of the song. They rushed into the control booth to offer something (remember, the leader is someone we discovered in the coast and recorded for the first time in March 2011 and now he is re-writing bass and guitar lines in Pro Tools). Their words are mainly about love so strong that they are willing to give her anything. They see her and want to give her the clothes offer her back.
- Macadem was then inspired. The song was so sweet and ernest we encouraged him to come and sing an ‘anti love’ verse over it. He sings ‘Love don’t love me’ and talks about a woman who he offers everything to and she gives him nothing but takes all. We’ve been told the Swahilli doesn’t fully translate. He’s roughly saying ‘you’re good for nothing’ but very street with a mixture of several dialects. Lots of word about being a cow getting milked dry by Cheri
- Then we brought back Johnnie to do some lead electric guitar and called it a wrap for the day.
This afternoon will be a new band and recording session. We’ll brief you later this afternoon.