ALBUM REVIEW: Alexio Kawara - Kana (2008)

Alexio Kawara has been one of the most exciting artists of the urban generation and has continually transformed over the years with a string of hit songs and successful projects spanning over 8 years. Alexio rose to prominence at the turn of the millennium during the days of Delani Makhalima's Shamiso Entertainment alongside artists like the vivacious Plaxedes Wenyika, David Chifunyise, Major Playaz and Sanii Makhalima. His hit song Ndinomhanya was a smashing success on the then Radio 3 charts. Long gone are the days but Alexio is still doing what he does best: singing.

The appropriately titled, Kana, which means Fourth is Alexio's fourth offering after Usazondisiya (2001), Rwiyo Rwangu (2003) and Pfimbi Yangu (2006). On Kana, Alexio totally switched gears and went in a new direction given his earlier releases. This album saw the switch from computer generated music to a predominantly live sound which has a seductively jazzy twist to it. The album already boats of 3 hit songs receiving far more than generous airplay on radio only 3 months after release and by any level is doing very well. Nyaya Yerudo is one of the songs doing well and it is a love song where he promises the girl he loves everything he can give. Lyrically it sounds somewhat like a continuation of Chibvugubvugu.On the album, there are 2 versions of this song and both are equally brilliant with one more inclined to a smooth reggae vibe and the other more to jazz. Karwiyo Aka has been one of the most appreciated songs on the album in which he proclaims the song is for his loved one because the lyrics are all about her. It also has a wonderful video currently airing regularly.

I could not help but marvel at Alexio's poetic lyricism, surely he is a notch or two (maybe even three) above most Urban Grooves artists in the industry. His albums mostly touch on the same topics concerning Inspiration, love, music and parents but he still manages to skillfully present his music with a breath of fresh air. Umu is set to become one of the anthems of the 2009 and come next Valentine's Day im sure many will have this song dedicated to them. It is one of the most honest songs i have heard in a long time. I have to add that Alexio's backing vocalists were nothing short of brilliant throughout the album. Famba is an exciting track that encourages people to live life to the fullest and use their talents as best they can. It has that africaness that reminds me of the Mateo of old with his hit songs like As'hambe Africa and Pamuhacha. Undoubtedly the most talked about song on Kana is Shaina which features Andy Brown. What a song! If there was any song that should lead Zimbabwean in their quest to rise against the odds, this is the song. It is simply a masterpiece. Alexio sings about the will to go on each day when we see such wonderful blessings like the flowing rivers, the light the sun brings and so much more. I believe this songs is one that we will remember for years to come. It's a must hear and contender for song of the year.

All in all this has to be one of the most brilliant offerings by a young Zimbabwean after a massive year with some outstanding efforts from other artists. This album gives Alexio the all important edge because of its maturity and quality. I also understand that this is Alexio's first international release and it is more than deserving. The move to live instruments has worked well for Alexio and his versatility makes his music appealing to people of all walks of life and ages. It has seen him work with guitar guru Clive 'Mono' Mkundu among other greats. He still maintains that 'urban' feel in his music to a good extent. If you haven't gotten yourself a copy of this album you are missing out on some of Zimbabwe's finest music. Go and get one!

Cover Art - 3/10
Music - 8/10
Mixing & Mastering - 8/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10