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Ben Molatzi

No Way To Go

Review by Gary Hill

This is not the usual folk music collection. These songs were recorded in 1981. Ben Molatzi was a folk singer in Nambia, and his lyrics are all in his native language. With just Molatzi's voice, and sometimes his whistling, along with guitar, this is perhaps not the most obvious thing for track by track review. There are definitely elements of this that will feel familiar to fans of North American folk music, but there are also decidedly African concepts. It's an intriguing set of songs for sure.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Sida !hu (Our Land Damaraland)
There are some intriguing melodies here. This is folk music in every sense of the word. The thing is, while it isn't far removed from American folk music, this has a decidedly African angle to it.
Danisa Sam (Honey Harvest)
I love the vocal arrangement on this with the contrast between a falsetto and standard vocal. There is an intriguing rhythmic element to the piece. It's very short.
Tae e ta go di? (What Have I Done)
Whistling and guitar are on the menu here.
lAesa Khaure (Lit The Fire)
I like the cool folk music vibe of this cut. It has an intriguing rhythmic element and a lot of class.
lÛbare (Mother’s Daughter, Forgive)
This is an intriguing cut, but not a big change.
Matis kaikhoesa (Why Does The Woman)
I like the fun energy of this tune.
‡Nukhoe lgôase (Damara Girl)
This has a playful vibe to it, too. It's a solid tune that manages to standout from a lot of the rest.
D:R:M:D (D:R:M:D)
There is a bit of a reflective, but soaring kind of vibe to this piece.
Ben’s Fluit Liedjie (Ben’s Whistling Song)
As you might gather, this song features guitar and whistling.
Sada Hoada nî ?naxu !hub ge (All Of Us)
I dig this slower moving tune. It has a great vibe and some real charms.
Dama !hao (Damara People)
Another slab of African folk music, this isn't a standout, but works pretty well.
lNamtes kha a? (Do You Love Me?)
There is some good energy and groove to this number.
Ausi Nama (Sister Nama)
There seems to be a melancholy or at least reflective feeling to this tune.
Ukhâisen Dama lgôa (Rise Damara Child)
More energetic and playful in feel, this is another standout.
?Gamrona lom (Wipe Off Tears)
I like the rhythmic groove of this one quite a bit.
Bazumi Fluit Stuk (Bazumi Whistle Piece)
As you might imagine, this is another song based on whistling rather than singing.
Tita ge ‡nukhoe lgôata (I Am A Damara Child)
The first CD bonus track, I really like this a lot. It has some great vocal lines that seem to play counterpoint to themselves. I would consider this one of the highlights of the set.
Axagu ge lgôade ?nauga (Boys Call And Propose The Girls)
The rhythmic vibe of this is classy. I'd say that this is another standout. It has a really fun vibe to it.
Ta as lguise (Don’t Just Drink)
This is effective, and does have a cool section later. It's doesn't really work as well as the last couple did, though.
Nes ge (This Is)
Perhaps this track is the closest to North American folk music of anything here. It's a cheery feeling tune, and a great choice to close the set in style.
 
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