Kato Change / Jaaz Odongo; 2014 Dir. Andrew Mageto
At the top of the best news this week is that we can now expect an album from maestro guitarist and performer Kato Change after what seems like an eternity of watching and listening to him working on other projects such as tracks with Karun and, more recently, the awesomeness that was the first season of Coke Studio Africa. The debut album is set to drop in the next few months or so. While we wait, Kato has teamed up with the folks at Magiq Lens for monthly video releases leading up to the launch of the album proper. Aparo is the first music video in the series and features Kato’s longtime collaborator Lisa Oduor-Noah.
Aparo, coming from the Luo word “paro” which means “to think”, is a thoughtful, inward-looking conversation with one’s self (and possibly a higher power) about how to deal with self-doubt in the face of so many things that could reinforce that doubt. For a song dealing with such moments which tend to last anything between mere seconds and entire lifetimes, and needing only a single verse followed by several variations of the chorus to make its point, it’s certainly not often that you come across song writing this good: “Forgiven, your word a promise to me despite my actions / Inconsistent / Arrested / Guilty, but you refresh my homepage / Connection, now I’ll never be the same / If freedom is my chance to live, freedom is my chance to forgive / I’m going to let it go…“
Production-wise, Kato teams up with Motion Image & Sound’s Jaaz Odongo and they come up with a groovy and eclectic sounding track that’s still minimalist enough to carry the very personal aura that the track intends to convey with the lyrics. Of course, Kato’s guitar skills, if you’ve ever heard them before, remain top-notch with some sweet riffs which are perfectly locked onto Lisa Oduor-Noah’s vocal performance.
Andrew Mageto directs the music video which was shot on location at The Elephant, an ideal location for the video’s concept, just a chilled out intimate affair by a bonfire featuring Kato and friends. Everything is very well done here, from the warm color grading to the wise choice to use mainly close up and candid shots to further enhance the intimate feel of the entire production.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This was a case of every part of this production executing well, not only individually but as a whole when Aparo finally comes together as a finished track and music video. If Kato’s next releases sound anything close to this, then that debut album is on its way to being a tour de force.