It’s a hot afternoon and you’re sitting on your bed, arms folded around your feet, head resting on your lap, eyes gazing out the window, trying to follow the trails left by your thoughts as they wander to the infinite. To the horizons, the unknown. The gentle yet regular flapping of the fan offers a breezy background sound for your thoughts. You have been thinking of him, so much that you actually smell the scent of cologne hanging around the room. As honest as his pleas are, you are still finding it hard to forthrightly believe him. He’s been up to a lot of stories lately. many a times he’s excused his lateness to see you, on grounds of the crazy traffic around Dar, especially the junction next to the Airtel offices. If he’s not stuck in traffic, he has something to do in Masaki or spending his entire day in Sinza, catching up with his Hommies as they throw it down at Mlimani City Mall. You haven’t seen him for a while since he told you that things became a bit demanding. School has been keeping him away of late, and whenever he’s back around town, he’s been preoccupied with dreams to catch as responsibilities too are rearing their ugly heads. The gifts he occasionally shows up at your door step with, can’t justify his intentions for you, so you think.
Yet deep down, you know his is a true love. You also believe you have found a ride or die, someone to treat you different. You are uptight about totally let him take control of your future, but is willing to try and give him a chance. Especially since he’s been pouring promises your way. Litany of them. The future is not that crystal. What if he travels one day, never to return? What if he finds another lover in the places he’s been spending lots of time lately? Maybe it will work, if the stars align. Plus, with the mwendo kasi, traffic excuses will be a thing of the past, we will probably spend more time together. I’ll see him often.
“we’ndo jibu yote heri, they say diamonds are forever, yote Zari…” – Mpenzi
Mpenzi is, the excellence of artists taking their love for their city to new levels of creative expression. The evidently clever choice of instrumentation allows for the story to build up on your head as the expertly composed lyrics settles on your subconscious. This music is for your soul.
Mpenzi introduces you to a greatly formidable music duo in East Africa, PaScal, as they welcome you to a journey through the different sounds on their debut 6 track EP, Safari.
PaScal is a duo floating on their own energy plane.
In a warm evening, you’re seated at a coffee shop in Stortorget square, surrounded by the ambiance of the gently glowing lamps, and equally warm smiles from the faces on the adjacent tables. Romance is in the air, you’re in high spirit. You look deep into his earlier on gleaming visage, the happiness thinning out as he straightens up to accentuate the message he’s just shared with you. A message so strong it has instantly turned the air thick, with flooding emotions. He is going back to Dar- Es Salaam, which of course you’ve been expecting all the while you’ve known him, because he was honest with you about returning home after getting his degree and graduating. What he’d not informed you, however, is that he is not planning to tag you along, as you’d both agreed to, since that time in his tiny college room, when he had you listening to his heart beats, while his fingers traced small hearts on each side of your chest. He’d promised to take you with him, back to the magnificence of Africa, and marry you in a traditional Maasai wedding. He’d even on several occasions, taught you how to do the jumping dance. You loved it and looked forward to wowing your in-laws-to-be. But now?
Now he’s thought about his stay-behind-girlfriend and the vows they made on their last evening of meeting, before he traveled. When they hurriedly met to say their last goodbyes and had one last stolen kiss. A moment of pleasure that they had discovered. He’d assured her they will no longer need to hide, just to share a passionate kiss, as they will be officially married upon his return. She video called him last night, on Imo, and they talked at length, laughed and reminisced about their love. So when she asked him if he’d been faithful, he bit his lower lip and confessed to her that he’s been holding on to their vows. Keeping the promise. They would get married immediately he landed at Julius Nyererere International airport.
In pictorial imaginations, Tutarudi transports you to a genial atmosphere, full of life and happy people. Think Sweden. The acoustic guitars make this song one of the strongest contender as a favorite in this EP. The Scaletta solely carries the audience along with him as he converses with the love of his life, in this dotting ballad. The Harmonies, vastly stretching in accordance with rhythm and groove, provides for the best listening experience. The lyrics, carefully selected and arranged, offers the basement for the theme that highlights the entire song, a story of hope and determination. A story of conquer-ship.
“Changamoto ni kibao Ma’ na tutazishinda, tukiweka Mola mbele hakuna wa kupinga. Tutafanikiwa, tuwe na furaha tele. Na tuta songa mbele, pamoja milele…” – Tutarudi
On the last day you saw him – before he left for the airport, which you were not permitted to because his family is yet to approve of their favorite son dating a random city girl – you had promised to stay in touch as frequent as possible. Because you both knew how powerful to a relationship, communication is. He’d sworn on the last hurried kiss that he’ll always call you everyday. He will actually call twice, early in the mornings and late in the evenings. A tear had dropped from the left side of your right eye. A sign that no matter how much it killed you to say goodbye, you believed him. That he will keep his word, and actually call. As you let go of the last of his fingers, you tell yourself that even a single call will just be fine. It’s been weeks since the last conversation and though he sounded weary and rushed on the telephone, you were somehow convinced that it’s probably the hectic schedules at school and the challenges of settling in a new city, miles away from home. From you. So you lazily pick up the phone, and press dial, because his nuber has been dancing on your screen all day. Just above the silhouette of his picture, acting as your screen saver. Your favorite pic of him.
The call goes unanswered and you’re left there wondering, “why in the holy hell won’t he just pick my damn calls?” Maybe he is not yet home, or in a position to receive? No, he once picked my call while their whole family was seated at the dinner table, which he got a scorning for. Unethical, they had been aghast. You remember him murmuring something about table manners and family principles.
Call You Back sees PaScal voyage our imagination to a cold deserted street in London, with a somewhat cursed call booth – no one picks any calls made from it. With a dying to get hold of the one you miss, frantically, you try all possible antics hoping to hear their longing voice on the other side of this unending line. Unable to, you decide to leave a voice note as anger starts to boil down in the bottoms of your stomach. He’s forgotten about me, that ungrateful fool. I should have believed my cousins who warned me that men forget you as soon as they’re out of sight. The number one cause of break-ups for those in long distance relationships is lack of communication. The beginning of insecurities. The unanswered calls. The duo explore this theme in the third track on Safari, a track that shows their comfort in diversity as they both blend their rehearsed vocals with the RnB instrumental. If you thought Swahili was their forte, you need to rethink. PaScal is a duo floating on their own energy plane.
“We went from fifty-fifty to doing forty-sixty, and it’s dropping really quickly babe, do you even miss me? I have nightmares of you and him kiss at parties, you tipsy and them trynna get a quickie…” – Call You Back
At the early hours of the morning, you’re pushing your way through the thickness of fog, tightly holding on to the fluffy trench-coat that’s threatening to embrace and go with the strong winds, at times painfully slitting through your skin. A pain only subdued by the thoughts of the recent past sequence of events. A finality that had you lose sleep the previous night as you couldn’t stomach the possibility of a goodbye. A forever goodbye. So you’re here, struggling to go against the early morning winds, meandering your way to the port, with a hope of making it in time for the ship. You still can’t imagine that all the effort you’ve put in this, may really have been nothing but wasted. Gone memories, never to be repeated. But to this point right here, stepping into the uncertainty of a heaven in the next phase, seems like a way better option than staying in this hell whose furnace doesn’t look like cooling anytime soon. As you reach the port of Alicante just in time to find the captains signaling everyone to get on board, you get the realization that even the whiteness of the Costa Blanca beaches doesn’t tickle your fancy. You wanna get as far away from Spain as possible. Adios Mi A Mor. You can’t stand the thought of spending another twenty four anywhere close to his shadow.
How did what seemed so sweet, tender, caring and infinite turn into this wreck of a relationship? This undying hatred? Wait, when really did the love end? Ooh, was it even there in the first place? When did sorry stop being sorry no more? As much as you may not have the answers, one thing is clear for certain – it’s time to find a new true north.
Vamos A Ver, Spanish for We’ll See is a record that brings a listener to a chaotic life at the shores of the Mediterranean coastline, where estranged lovers are going their separate ways. Halima gathers herself and her huge suitcase, pieces of her broken heart carefully collected and locked in a black icebox. ready to rejoin her family in Iringa after a decade of eloping with Ramos. The soap operas, were after all, just that – soap operas – and Sergio turned out to be an annoying idiot who couldn’t treat Halima right. Her cousins had rightly warned her, but she was so in love. Can you blame her, really? That is the kind of vivid imagery that comes to mind when you listen to Vamos A Ver. This is PaScal’s classic record.
“the conversations between us lately is getting heated, just always know in heart and mind you are appreciated” – Vamos A Ver
“They say earth is getting hotter like ice cubes up in the freezer, relationships getting harder, ey, end of the day you either ride the wave or ride away and time will tel…” – Vamos A ver.
Or maybe leaving wasn’t such a great idea and you decided to stay and fight? Maybe you ought to stay and clarify things out with him? It’s just not yet time to close this chapter of your life’s story. So you decide to stay and find an opportunity to confront him. You will reverse things up this time round, make him live in the line, highly uncertain of whatever is your next card is. You’ve learnt to wise up and live like a jigsaw, no more open book. You will listen to his romantic serenades, slow wind to his heartbeats and blankly dazzle his eyes, making it hard for him to make out the real meaning of the signals.
You’ve learnt from past experiences and is not necessarily relaxed about allowing him closer to your heart, let him dance and marvel on the joy of togetherness, but at the periphery. You can choose to dance in the rain, or simply go shelter, it all depends on your preferences.
The rules have changed in Let Me Know. It’s back to guessing games. The high tempo beat serves as both a fun listen and a spirit booster as it’s dancehall elements makes for a good club/party kicker, taking us all the way to a Colombian-style dance carnival, say at Battery Park, New York. PaScal truly knows how to safiri.
“coz you’re heaven sent, so it makes sense no fifty, shades of whatever colour just give me the info, story of my life and I conclude with an intro” – Let Me Know
You’re just waking up from an involuntary afternoon nap, triggered by the scorching Middle eastern sun. There are still ricocheting sounds of gunshots from the battles going on in the valleys down below. Everyone has either been killed or vacated this hillside town in Syria. It’s a ghost town and you’ve just woken up with a renewed hope, that instantly turns to despair soon as you fully open your eyes and notice the night approaching, with all its dreads. Memories return to haunt you. Fresh memories of blood spills everywhere, as your cousins and neighbors got massacred the last 3 days. The infiltrators had advanced past your small town, maiming your people and leaving scattered limbs and households. You can even see the head of your favorite cousin dangling from a post it was erected on, after they chopped it off. You actually remember his last cries for forgiveness, before the bloodshot hooligan took the life out of his young soul. The dead are at peace, the remaining are left with the curse of terrible memories.
You have no idea where you’re supposed to go from here. Sure the sun has been rising every morning, but where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Is anyone walking with you on this dark path? How are you expected to rise past this? How unfair and cruel can this world be?
The most emotive single on this EP, Little Angel is a last minute grasp of hope in the midst of a turmoil. It’s a double edged sword serving as a consolatory ballad to those who are in the dark, left dejected and broken by the troubles of this world. On the other hand, it’s a wake up call, addressing all the unjustified inhumanity going on all around the world. How and when did we really get here? Where the life of a fellow human really means nothing, as long we scramble to satisfy our natural greed? On what moral grounds do we actually find it right to end another beings life? Thank you PaScal for providing hope to all the beautiful souls in the dark, they will find away, to the light shining in the East.
“In the end why we focus on the wrong things man, coz I really feel like I would rather kill hunger, I would rather kill starvation, heal plantations, heal the nation as I solve equations to kill inflations…” – Little Angel
When The Scalleta’s foxy voice embraces you 10 seconds right into Mpenzi, the first single off PaScal’s debut project, you are magnetized and entwined. Bewitched even. No, we’ve not known music to be this good. This satisfying. Not in Africa, leave alone Tanzania. And in all fairness, even worldwide, rarely do we get musicians invest so much in the arts, ensuring everything is superbly done. When the plucking guitar strings vibrate at the beginning of Tutarudi, you wait in anticipation, uncertain of what to expect. Such is the surreal experience that Pablo (Pa) and the Scaletta (Scal) teamed up to offer in their debut project as PaScal.
The EP vividly carries you to different points in life, different stops around the world, where different events are musically photographed in colorful melodies. Indeed, it is a journey one embarks on when you plug in the headphones, hit play and listen. With such an introduction, one can’t help but wait in excitement for a follow up full length Album by this dynamic Tanzanian duo.