The Best Songs of 2020: “Mwikali” by Chovu

Mwikali is a blend of grunge leads, with a touch of the inevitability of gothic doom. Chovu then finishes this mix with outpourings of blackened death metal.

Released on 6th August 2020, this song borrows its narrative from an old Kamba myth; “The tale of the sorceress Mwikali“. It is a story of love, witchcraft, banishment & death – a heavy price to pay.

“Mwikali” revels in folkloric storytelling split into two scenes. In this respect, the song mimics the traditional style of the sang poem as is evident in works like “Song of Lawino” by Okot P.Bitek followed by a resounding chorus that employs the more sinister descendants of heavy metal.

This five-piece band has undboubtedly stumbled upon something special in their quest to dig up Kenya’s lost civilisations. They describe variously this cultural treasure trove as bottomless and they seek to add this into the anals of heavy metal and with good reason.

While the western mystic has been analyzed to a thread, the African shaman is still the quintessence of all that is dark and frightening in the world. This in itself makes Chovu’s music a thoroughly refreshing take on heavy metal.

African music is essentially a sweetened summation of the rhythms of African life. Dropped into the crucible of heavy metal, it draws away all the initial dogmatic principles and returns us to its groove-filled heydays where terror can still have moments to be catchy.

Africa is indeed where the wild things lie.

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Listen to “Mwikali” here:

Chovu’s Mwikali was composed and written by Chovu and recorded at A4 Studios – mixed & mastered by Wilson Muia and Harvy Herr. Copyright 2019