The effect of sampling on a piece of music can be profound. A carefully selected and well-executed sample can provide a relevant point of reference to something great, it brings us closer to the classics. It can also bring the ideas of artists past and present much closer and bring out the similarities between them that may be obscured by the passage of time. Victoria Kimani’s new single All The Way happens to achieve all of these awesome things.
The choice of sampling Angelique Kidjo’s Wombo Lombo on this track is not only relevant sonically, it also resonates quite well with the stage Victoria Kimani has reached in her musical career and draws some interesting parallels between the Nigerian-based Kenyan singer and the Beninese musical legend.
Riding on the success of her 1994 album Ayé and a Grammy nomination for Agolo to boot, Angelique Kidjo’s next album Fifa featured lyrics in English for the first time, giving her some much needed crossover appeal and airplay in radio and TV station in the US and Europe. In particular, Angelique sang in Yoruba and English in Wombo Lombo and it subsequently became a pan-African hit.
In similar fashion, Victoria Kimani is an artist who is constantly crafting music that is palatable across the continent. After all, she is a Kenyan-American with roots in Benin and Nigeria. Her multicultural approach to her music has led to a string of genre-defying collaborations from all over the continent. Just recently, she featured on DRC’s Fere Gola’s Tucheze.
Just as Angelique Kidjo sings about an encounter with a maginificent dancer in the course of her travels in Benin while recording Fifa, Victoria Kimani’s All The Way shares that same sentiment of singing praise to the one element of African music that shines through irrespective of genres and languages: the dancing. Victoria Kimani meets her match not in the remote countryside of Benin, but on the dancefloor of your typical modern African city. While paying homage to sound and energy of the original track, All The Way transforms Wombo Lombo into a groovy R&B track delivered in Yoruba and English. Now, that’s good sampling right there. The track features South African hip hop legend Khuli Chana. Interestingly, the flow and content of his verse pays homage to another classic track, Mystikal’s Danger.
While not as spectacular as Wombo Lombo‘s visuals, the music video stays relevant to the times. Victoria Kimani and her crew of really good looking dancers keep things sexy throughout the locations, finally ending up at a parking lot for Khuli Chana’s verse. Yet another reason to keep this song on replay.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a fitting tribute to a classic track by one of Africa’s greatest musical artists in recent times. Victoria Kimani does Wombo Lombo justice by staying true to the elements of the song that make it good while also letting her own personality and musical style shine through, coming up with something refreshing as a result.