In an article I wrote on here last month, the boys had to cancel their YouTube live concert due to the pandemic. However, they did promise new music; not just music, but a whole full-length album come 5th June, 2020. Today, with all members aboard; the musical goodness, ‘Midnight Train’ the album has finally been outed by the group.
The album serves as the multi-award-winning group’s (5th) fifth studio album and has been released today under Universal Music Africa (UMA); their recent record deal signage. Prior the full-album release, the Kenyan band had released 4 critically acclaimed singles ahead of the album’s release; ‘Disco Matana’, ‘Insecure’, ‘Brighter Days’ and ‘Suzanna’.
Sauti Sol’s new musical offering comes with a pack load of a total of 13-tracks. It serves as a follow up to their 2015 “Live and Die in Afrika” album. Their previous studio releases include ‘Mwanzo’ (2008), ‘Sol Filosofia’ (2011), ‘Afrikan Sauce’, ‘Kenya Awake’, Sauti Sol (EP) and ‘Home sweet home’.
Sauti Sol continues to position itself as a serious player on the East African pop music scene. Its members Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano, Polycarp Otieno and Savara Mudigi continue to evolve and diversify their writing style while maintaining their raw musical identity.
Midnight Train is lined from start to finish with catchy songs and packs a serious punch of memorable hits.
The group prides themselves in storytelling as an East African tradition that permeates music from that region and this is what has kept them relevant with audiences across the world and earned them so many accolades along the way.
The album was sang in the languages; Swahili, Luhya, Luo and English and its recording was done in the cities of: Los Angeles, California, Johannesburg, South Africa and Sauti Sol’s hometown Nairobi, Kenya.
‘Midnight Drum’ was written and produced by Sauti Sol; with assistance from Andre Harris and Mboks on the Beat.
On the inspiration behind the album’s unique title; keytarist and Chimano (both members of the band) revealed some intel behind the album:
CHIMANO replied: In the past, it would take one about 10 hours to travel by train from Kenya’s capital Nairobi to its second-biggest city Mombasa. The symbolism here and on the album’s cover artwork is that our work and we are always steadily moving as we gain more territory and fans. This album is a representation of our hard work for the last 11 years, and we are grateful for this achievement and looking forward to the next stage of our career.
They further revealed that; almost half of the songs on the album were written about three years ago and even recorded for a different project. But I guess good things take time and we are happy they’re finally coming out on this project. We are also excited about our signing with Universal Music Africa, which came at the right time because the team has been so supportive.
Did you know that the album was to originally have 20 songs on it; however, the group had to bear with the challenge in choosing which to keep and which ones to drop. A decision was finally reached and they settled for 13 tracks.
Sauti Sol collaborated with a fantastic and incredible set of musical parties such as Sho Madjozi, to give it a 100% African feel.
The Phenomenal East African music band announced the ‘Midnight Train’ album’s track list in a tweet. When you listen in; the songs on there are as follows:
- Midnight Train
- Feel My Love
- Brighter Days (Feat. Soweto Gospel Choir)
- Nenda Lote
- Set Me Free (Interlude)
- My Everything (Feat. India.Arie)
- Wake Up (Feat. Mortimer)
- Rhumba Japani (Feat. Kaskazini, Bensoul, Xenia Manasseh, Nviiri the Storyteller, Okello Max)
- Disco Matanga [Yambakhana] (Feat. Sho Madjozi & Black Motion)
MIDNIGHT TRAIN the album further demonstrates the band’s songwriting and producing skills with electric energy and new rhythms as it themes around enjoying the journey of life but also embracing the hustles and the trials that come with it.
It takes you through the journey of life, embracing the trials and tribulations that come with it. A few singles that stand out are:
The title track ‘Midnight Train’ (02); which was produced by Andre Harris who has also worked with Global superstars like Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Jill Scott. It is a representation of their never -say-die attitude. The song is about their hustle and the effort they have put into their career, burning the midnight oil.
Sauti Sol’s rhythmic love jam “Suzanna” (07) set the stage for the album; since day of release. “Disco Matanga” (13) featuring Sho Madjozi and Black Motion enticed fans as the lead song and official soundtrack from Netflix’s first African Original series; Queen Sono and the uplifting “Brighter Days,” (05) featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir, gave hope at the beginning of the world pandemic. The recent release “Insecure” (03) explores the fear and insecurity that lies deep within.
Another notable feature on the album includes American singer and songwriter, India Arie on sensual track “My Everything,” (09).
Talking music videos (follow up visuals) for some of the songs on the album:
About their choice when it comes to the angle, they have chosen to make the visuals to the songs on this album; the group says that: Visuals will be and already are the cornerstone of this album and future albums. We are going with the ’70s and’ 80’s era, and the main reason has to do with our upbringing where our folks used to dress in the style of that era and listen to the music of that era.
With such an impressing profile in music, you cannot afford to miss out on listening to and sharing the “Midnight Train’ Album. Stream it here: 😊🤟🏿