I bought his album, Insale on 23rd August 2017 and each time I listen to it I feel like I bought it yesterday. The sound and melody is reminiscent of music that I grew up listening to. I’m talking about music by the greats like PK Chishala, Paul Ngozi, Mulemena Boys and Ackim Simukonda to mention but a few. Now take your seats, take off your shows, pump up the volume and listen to the sounds of James Sakala.
I used to wonder how he has managed to touch the lives of many people and how quick music pundits started comparing his music to legends. Well the reason for me, is simple. James has remained true to the authentic Zambian sound and the inclusion of that infectious and powerful guitar in his music seals the deal.
Insale, the album, has 15 great songs, that will take you on a journey back to the days of great music.
Let me start with the song Kasongo. This song has a powerful message for the young generation; the youth who are out there trying to make it in life.
In the song a parent or guardian is heard imploring Kasongo to choose friends wisely because many where useless and up to no good. Kasongo is advised to be a shining example and never ever to give up in life. It’s a timely message coming straight from the James Sakala pot of wisdom.
The song could have been an ordinary song if not for the infusion of the sound of the guitar. The guitar injected life into the song to make it stand the test of time as a classic tune!
“Kasongo wakula, ukasale abanobe bamo ni fiposwa eh!!”
Tura Mtoro (feat. Oliver Mtukudzi) is my number one song on the album. It’s a proper kalindula song in the same category as PK Chishala hits like “Church Elder” and “Na Musonda”. The song has the lead guitar sound laced over the thumping beat of the drum sandwiched under the sound of the bass guitar! The sound of the cow bell is in there adding that flavour to this irresistible danceable tune. Whenever I listen to this song I imagine PK and Oliver Mtukudzi sharing the same stage live in concert. PK may not be alive today and the concert will never happen but James Sakala, in my view, is here not only resurrect that good old Kalindula sound but to keep it alive and take it to the rest of the world.
“We chikolwe mpako amano nebo/Nkaye nkembile ichalo/Nkaye Nkembile…”
Insale is truly an authentic sound that effortlessly stays true to original Zambian music genres – Kalindula and Zamrock and Afro Jazz. If you would like to sample some great Zambian music this is definitely an album that I would strongly recommend.
Kuma funde ne nsoke shakwa nakulu
Uku komaila pa munchinshi eh
Kwampa umutende nebo lelo
Ndi Nge chilola chenu mbuya
Lelo ndeimba ulwimbo nati…
We palo, we palo, weh, weh
Mu ka nongo ka mano wa nkusha….”