Wande Coal ’s ‘So Mi So’ has been one of the regular songs on the playlist of radio stations and the video on repeat on every TV channel.
The song was produced by British born Ghanaian producer and DJ, Julian Nicco-Annan also known as Juls. It premiered on BBC 1Xtra radio while the video which came later on was a combined directorial work of Juls and Tobi.
‘So Mi So’ has since then gained massive airplays on Radio and TV. I have once listened to it before the video was released and simply discarded it as one of such off tracks of Wande Coal. I assume that it is the kind that will gain momentary attention and get absorbed in the creative frenzy of the industry.
How Wrong I Was!
However, I was wrong as the video of the song which was released over a month ago has generated over 1 million views. The video has over 11,000 viewers deeming it fit for thumbs up while about 330 viewers gave it thumbs down.
Few days ago, I was stunned as I navigate through the list of available channels on TV. I realized that three different TV channels on cable TV were playing the video of the song concurrently. While that could have been mere coincidence rather than the artistic prominence of the song, I became astonished when one particular channel kept playing the video repetitively (they did not pay for Advert, so I won’t mention the name).
Even when that conflicts with the stipulations guiding the broadcast industry, I was conversely moved to consciously digest the message of the song. I listened and watched. Of course, music videos are expected to proffer more credence to the message of the song. Yes, just like the video of ‘Child of the World’ did to Falz’s message in the song.
Yet, the video of ‘So Mi So’ did not tow that line.
Wande Coal – So Mi So
The acclaimed Black Diamond, Wande Coal aided by the combined directorial dexterity of Juls and Tobi attempted to give the song an Afrocentric theme. With the display of women clad in African attires – even when being almost naked negates the pristine idea of Africanism – and the use of African instruments.
The lightning of the video was perfect, the shot was awesome, the attires and artistic displays were on point which suggests the video shooting was brilliant. Perhaps if Juls had exerted more technical effort in the projection of Wande Coal’s voice, the song would have scored a bit higher on critique’s par. That will set aside the lyrics of the song as the only element to contend with.
The Voice of Wande Coal
Of all his endowments with which he has been trying to stay relevant in the industry, Wande Coal’s voice stands him out. And his past production attests to it. ‘So Mi So’ did not have the same Wande Coal’s voice with the intensity and vibrancy as featured in Patoranking’s ‘My Woman’.
It did not have the fine timber natural Wande Coal’s voice that sharply reflected despite having to contend with Wizkid’s finely textured voice laced with ad-libs and Maleek Berry’s singing pace in ‘Kpono’.
It wasn’t the same Wande Coal’s voice that damned near every bar, starting or ending with a falsetto flourish right up to the last bridge in his song ‘Taboo’ which has released in 2009 – a feat he performed again in ‘Banana’.
Even on ‘Ashimapeyin’, with Sarz’s beat which was packed with wild electronic flourishes. While many singers would struggle to tame such beat, Wande Coal smooths an impressive display over the disjoint with sustained notes.
Likewise, ‘So Mi So’ started with a faint rendition. This makes it sound like the volume of the player was reduced to the lowest. Anyone who listens to the song with rapt attention would also notice that it wasn’t a clean cut production. There is an uneven and jagged echo relaying beneath the voice. The echo was so prevalent, too much for a production effect.
Meanwhile, the song itself faltered to drive home its theme. Wande Coal seemed not to be over the waves of ‘Iskaba’ yet. He let some lyrics from the song flow into ‘So Mi So’. The song was laced with the highlights of ‘Iskaba’ right from the intro to the chorus.
Alikitu eee mama ee lemele
Because of you I sing this song for you
You make me go
Iskaba, Iskebe, Iskelebe, kaba, Ilebete
Iskaba, Iskebe, Iskelebe, kaba, Ilebete (chrrr)
As it have become the tradition of Nigerian singers to pseudo-creatively birth words or phrases which remain unintelligible to the regular music listeners. Wande Coal came up with ‘So Mi So’ just like Wizkid in ‘Soco’. In any case, the etymological value of the phrase/word remains unknown. And the phrase/word repetitively showed up in forms in the chorus either suffixed or prefixed by ‘ami’ or ‘oni’.
Ami so mi so
Ami so mi so
Ami so kin so
Oni so kin so…
He has a girl who has been troubling him, cool. She’s been bursting his brain, fine. He’s crazy for her, perfect. Then because he sang this song for her, the question of if she is the one for him pops up. And he went iskaba before she gave him astaka!
I mean what happened to being more realistic in your story telling with a relatable flow of lines. What if you try to sing without employing the use of slangs? What if there is no gibberish that the listener would, might and cannot understand?
Anyway, ‘So Mi So’ was just another depiction of the state of pop music in Nigeria. It will continue to amuse conscious music listeners how the song still plays on radio. Why it still maintains a place on the charts of TV stations. And why people still vibe to it. What is in there in the music beyond the vibes?