It is not every day that you come across a Kenyan music video that strikes you as one whose composers put effort in the pre-production stage. Indeed, a song that you listen to and feel that the artist actually put in effort to deliver something that will outlive them is not easy to find in this country. This is why the depth of composition in the music video: Nakuahidi by Gilad and Dela seems to jump to the faces of the audience.
Nakuahidi tells the story of a young couple who have to say goodbye to each other because the man, an army officer, has to leave for the camp to eke a living for his family as well as defend his country. He leaves promising to always be there for her and to be back home as soon as possible. But this is never to be because the man dies in battle.
This song which was created to pay tribute to fallen soldiers who died in war is not just one that honors our soldiers but more especially, invites us to think about those who have been left behind years on… you begin to think about that soldier’s child whose father died while he was still in its mother’s womb; what does it really mean for a child to be born and live with only memories of a father who died in war?
I think that one of the strengths of this song lies in its ability to capture the emotions of the audience with both the subject matter and the way this song and video delivers the message. The video also pays attention to the principles of good story telling and you can actually mute the song and still understand what is happening.
The video blends both English and Kiswahili, Kenya’s most widely spoken languages and this result to a natural flow in the song as well as aid in authenticity by contextualising as well as situating it right in the heart of the people for whom it is composed for. I think that this mix also aids with foreign listeners of either languages but I still think that with a video like this, the issue of language hardly arises; as should be the case for all good musical compositions.
There is symbolism going on… I see the colors of the Kenya national flag as well as the army officer in the story which also play a role in message delivery. Another good thing in this song is that the message is delivered gently and it does not feel as if the artists tried to beat you over the head with the message that they are trying to give. For example, the message that the woman is pregnant, or when she gets the message that her husband has died in war, we get this in a way that is creative.
I, however, wish that these artists explored the emotions of the woman who loses her husband over the years further in this song. I think this is the side of the narrative that is hardly remembered when we all run for the hard facts of how many soldiers died and how many retaliations have happened; what the government is doing to boost the performance of soldiers or how much the government is putting in place to ensure a befitting burial for the fallen soldiers. I wish that the song had explored further the emotions of those left behind – the children and the widows of these people because these things might look like non-essentials as long as monetary compensation has been done but in truth, the emotions the mental effects of these experiences lodge themselves very deeply in the soul. I think the song had a lot more potential.
At a glance, here is why I think this video is a must see:
- Serious composition skills went into the construction of this particular song to ensure that as the audience, you are drawn for both the entertainment and the strings it pulls in your heart.
- Once again, the video tells a good story. And I think that the story delivers and it is not just about men and women gyrating throughout the video. Well, these dance moves just confuse me but life is short, do your thing. Nonetheless if you are looking for something with less gyration, this is a video for you.
- The subject is also one that will invite introspection so you can get something to stimulate your brain and make you think. The song has a good balance of education and entertainment.
This video is a Harmony Africa production and was directed by Private 19. The video was officially launched on 15th September, 2016 in Nairobi.