HITORMISS: Elani – Kookoo - Daily Nation

HITORMISS: Elani – Kookoo

Saturday May 3 2014

PHOTO | COURTESY From left: Elani band members Muthoni Kunga, Brian Chweya and Wambui Ngige.

PHOTO | COURTESY From left: Elani band members Muthoni Kunga, Brian Chweya and Wambui Ngige.  


Earlier this week, my favourite Kenyan band Elani added a new instalment to their hit collection. Of course I knew it was a good track even before listening to it. Kookoo is Elani’s latest addition to their back catalogue of classic tunes barely one year since they came to the limelight.

From Jana Usiku to Milele and now Kookoo, Elani seems to be one group that is not out here to joke around. Almost all their songs seem to have endless permutation of arrangements; their music producer knows just what to do to bring out a beautiful track! Beautiful is what Elani’s songs are.

Instead of the usual set melodies and structures being rigid, all beats in Elani’s hands sound like living, breathing and growing entities. This band is that band that will give Sauti Sol a run for their money if they slack behind even for a second.

Kookoo begins with a soothing and slow pace, just the perfect sound track for a humid evening, before the instruments veer into a slower ‘emo’ beat. Brian jumps on the first verse finding him in a particularly robust form, far from the dreary reverie ‘behind the scenes’ he sometimes choses to employ on Milele or even Jana Usiku.

The production on Kookoo can be termed amazing, as the stop-start arrangement emphasises the radicalisation of its lyrics. Have I told you about the hook? Another reason Elani might be the leaders of the singing fraternity now is the hook, a combo of full-throated and articulate wording vocals, they sing their hearts out on that chorus.

And my favourite part of Elani, well that is apart from singing, is Wambui and Maureen, I know I’m not the only one always excited to ‘see’ these two sing, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Both their verses on Kookoo keeps in line what they are slowly becoming known for, which is the slow-burning, R-n-B-lite smoothie, what’s most amazing about their vocal abilities is how they can range from suggestive purrs to almost climatic whistles.

‘Vocals for days’ is what the listeners consume on Kookoo, Elani becomes the better Kenyan band because they have the full package, even what most Kenyan singer lack and that is song writing skills. This song is nice.