AAA Delivery: #AstaraVaste – Azma [Tanzania]

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courtesy: Elishas Brand

I have been sitting on this  post for a minute, contemplating the best way to not only start, but actually write an article worth of Azma’s hard work, determination and relentlessness with music. I couldn’t come up with any better way, so I said fuck it, let’s do it the Holly way. Ladies and gentlemen, mandugu na madada (ooh how I love my fake Tanzanian accent), welcome to the island of love, please leave hate at the shore. 

Everyone shares their success stories, rarely do you get to witness the journey to success; the struggles, the hardships, the betrayals, the backstabbing, the hopelessness, unending pursuits and the sheer will to rock on. Longer nights, shorter days. When darkness and lack of direction seems to be your destined companion, like all the stars just gave up on you and won’t shed even the tiniest of light your way. I have witnessed it all, in Azma Mponda. I have also spied on the power of will at work. I can give a testament, better than a devoted nun, on the importance of faith…. and persistence. I have eyeballed it all, on Azma – The African Ambassador, King of love stories. 

However, like the mindful idiot I am, I will leave all that for you to find out. Plus, we are all deeply fixated on worshiping those who’ve already made it, to not even care observing a brother on the verge of greatness, so that story might as well be told to pigeons. If they’ll even care. Jolly that Azma is about to be a household name, right around the same time that the Azam brand is heavily expanding in Kenya, look at God. 

a-2Azma has been making dope music ever since I chanced on his YouTube channel awhile back – circa 2010? I can’t remember, it’s been that long. Every single release serving as nothing short of approval that indeed, he is the African Ambassador. Not like he even needed it, the approvals. It was just a matter of time before he created something iconic. And he finally did, with Astara Vaste. I can’t remember if he was in Nairobi, or I was in Dar, the first time Azma played me this song, but I sure as hell remember my reaction. Awe. I was in awe, this was it. The fruition of a decade long struggle. Kids, dreams can and do come true, if you’re strong to hold on long enough. 

Uncountable are the number of times Azma commuted from Dar to Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi in the hope of somehow chancing on the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. God listens, kids. Given a chance, I’d write a whole book on Azma, create even a film and use it as a teaching guide to school all the upcoming artists on how to make it in the music industry. What most will fail to admit, is Azma’s love for unity and believing in others. More so, his openness and willingness to guide the people he sees potential in. For the time we spent with Azma, he never at any given time shied from sharing numerous business ideas and how to make millions (of Kenyan shillings Lol, Tanzanian ones are a bit easier, sorry Maghufuli, hapa ukweli tu). a-1

There is nothing to review on the video, it speaks for itself, honestly. Any attempt to break it down will be an insult to the artists ingenuity. From the aerial shots that remind me of great times in Masaki, the beautiful models that will probably get me divorced, the artists’ fashion choice, Azmas’ catchy rap and effortless deliveries, Belles’ magical vocals & harmony and an overall great production, this video has all the right elements of a continental appeal. Also, Tanzania is beautiful, very! While you might watch and marvel at the artistic masterpiece that is Astara Vaste, visualized by Kevin Bosco, I’d love to celebrate the persistence, patience, perseverance and perfection of not just Azma, but the whole team who came together to craft this magnificence. I shed a tear when I heard Kita’s name on the production credits. Tears of joy.

Kita is a good soul and the angels confirmed to me last night that good souls are rare.

a-6The  last and first time I met Kita, we talked at length, shared our dreams and nightmares and when I left him, I whispered a silent prayer to God to make the brothers dreams come true. Kita is a good soul and the angels confirmed to me last night that good souls are rare. So it’s only fair that they live happy. Nothing would have made Kita happier than being recognized as the talented artist he is. The journey just began Kita, go and be great brother. 

I know Alfizoh would admit that none has ever trusted him like Azma did

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Other than me (of course), Azma is the only person I know who wants the best for others, in this world of selfishness. For the longest time, Azma consistently told me that when he makes it, he would love to have his day one, producer Kita, by his side. He made that two by bringing along Alfizoh, a fellow brother all the way from Kenya. Honestly speaking, I know Alfizoh would admit that none has ever trusted him like Azma did. Fizzoh is arguably one of Kenya’s greatest producer. Likewise, the most overlooked and underrated. Deep down, I feel sad that it had to take someone all the way from Mbeya, to come hold his hands and walk with him to greatness. What did they say about African unity again? It’s happening my people. I can’t be any happier for these guys. These are the fruits of believing in each other. Y’all go and prosper, Kings. 

That thing you do with your vocals, B9!

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Please let me commend Belle9 for believing on a brothers dream. Not every so often do we see someone extending an olive branch, in this day of twerk and dab (sorry, I’m not judging your dabbing ass). This collaboration couldn’t come at any better time, neither couldn’t it be birthed off of a better team. I have always been a fun of B9, from the Sumu La Penzi first listen. That thing you do with your vocals, B9! I could see the myriad of joy covering your girls visage, that one time we were cooking and sharing stories in Mina’s kitchen lol. The joy of being with a wonderful fella, hahaa. Pass my regards to the Queen.  

Funnily, I never knew the meaning of Astara Vaste, but really, who cares about a meaning of some foreign language when you have an astounding music to relish? Not Holly, bruh! Yet, you wanna know what’s funnier? The fact that Africa is not even in any inch ready for it’s own ambassador. Judging from all the demos and already worked on music that Azma has in store, we’re in for a long stretch of nothing but wonderful music. 

Tell you something? You have no idea how hard I’d want to slap anyone who will finally refer to Azma as ‘that new Bongo rapper”, like man, do you really know how long the brother has been pushing this Hip Hop movement, across the border? Africa, here is the new wave, from the King of love stories. 

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