ALBUM REVIEW: Cee Jay Besa - Ndangariro (2010)

2 years after the surprisingly refreshing One Ariega and a year after One Ariega Reloaded, Cee Jay Besa is showing why he is one of the hardest Zimbabwean musicians right now with a brand new album entitled Ndangariro.

Munaye opens up this CD and Cee Jay picks up from where he left off last time with a newer and improved version of the short song dedicated to his son. Ndini Here left a lasting impression on me. This is a song where every reason to thank God is put forward and makes one realise that there is a lot we can be thankful for yet many a time we choose not to give Him thanks. The joys of divine favour are explored through music with a jazzy appeal. Mafaro left me feeling very nostalgic. Cee Jays makes reference to things we used to enjoy as family and friends back home in Zimbabwe pachiurawa mombe, nekubikwa sadza vana vasanotumwa kunotsvaka tsotso dzekuvesa moto nadzo. It then hit me in how he titled his album Ndangariro as a dedication to his late father but in actuality he covers a broader sense of it all without so knowing. The man has a way of expressing himself which makes his music heartfelt and honest. The title track justifies this and it is one of the most meaningful and heart stopping songs dedicated to a parent i have heard in a while. Chokwadi ngatikudze vabereki vachiri vapenyu. 

Vahombe is more mid tempo and faster than most cuts off this album. He traces back to days of tales and folklore to give a narration of how we embrace the beauty of success. I saw a live performance of Famba Zvakanaka and this song has become a favourite at Cee Jay's live shows. It is a mature take on relationships where he wishes a former love well as they part ways to focus on their individual lives. My favourite line is: 'Nyangwe taparadzana ndichafambisa zita rako mune zvakanaka.' For those old school music lovers, the song Chikoro will rate highly and is one that shall stand the test of time. You would mistake it for a song made in the early 90s and not taking anything away from it at all. Cee Jay is simply that good and his social commentary makes this song even better. I would recommend that any father who wants to encourage his son to do the best he can in life should play this song for him. I guess as a young guy my stand out track is undoubtedly the bonus tracks Mutare featuring talented brothers Bkay n Kazz and rapper Just Lyphe. This one is an up tempo track that drips of Zimbabweaness and Tony G did justice on the production. Cee Jay does his thing to perfection, the brothers from Masvingo prove why they are Zimbabwe's most talented duo, Just Lyphe gives us the best verse we have ever heard from him (ever!) and Tony G reminds us why he is one of the most sought after producers = A TIGHT TRACK. Period. 

Ndangariro is the best album from Cee Jay Besa. In writing this review i am thinking of sending a copy back home to my family (that's how good it is). This is a refreshing and improved Cee Jay who comes back stronger than before with a brilliant emphasis on pentatonic scales for the bass guitar. The backing vocalists were simply outstanding throughout the album, everything was well rehearsed. I think there was a lot of preparation into the making of this album. At this rate, i see this man becoming one of the biggest Zimbabwean acts in Africa and beyond. Highly recommended, get yourself a copy!

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8.5/10
Technical Sound - 8/10
'I Like' Factor - 9/10