The past three weeks have witnessed Nazizi’s comeback single Wedding Ring with a visually stunning music video and a Nameless – Nyashinki collaboration, so one can be forgiven for feeling like it is 2008 all over again. The release of Bonbon by Amani over the weekend is much less of a surprise. The artist has more or less been in the picture ever since Ninanokidrove high school kids out of their minds in the late 2000s, her secret perhaps being a steady flow of hit and miss releases. Bonbon could be the next big hit after Kiboko Changu, her collaboration with Radio & Weasel a couple of years back.
Bonbon is your top-to-bottom textbook example of the sort of genre-blending, multi-lingual, collaboration-focused direction that African popular music is taking. Seasoned producer R Kay is responsible for the lingala-based afro-pop beats that form the perfect back-drop for Amani to subliminally re-affrim (in Swahili and French) her ability to remain evergreen musically as others wither away. “Sahau wengine wa kitambo / Hiki ndicho kituo chako cha mwisho” is her confident statement. Congolese artist Washington is at hand to provide the compulsory ad libs required for any good lingala or coupe decale song.
Apart from the East and Central African sounds of the production, the music video gets a West African touch. With Nigerian producer/director Microd behind the lens, the music video checks all the right boxes. It manages to capture Amani at her sensual best and some good choreography by the supporting dancers. It’s as standard as you would expect.
If there’s any Kenyan musician who has mastered the art of sticking around for decades without too much of an effort, it’s probably Amani. Her releases tend give just enough to remain in the airwaves and maintain her name recognition.