Henrie Mutuku - Tena

Published Thursday 31st December 2020
Henrie Mutuku - Tena
Henrie Mutuku - Tena

STYLE: World
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174091-27886
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Over a decade in the making, Kenyan singer/songwriter Henrie Mutuku's second album finally arrived in 2016 and it was worth the wait. This time opening herself up to other musical styles and influences, this 15 song collection finds the Nairobi-born songstress covering a relatively wide musical expanse ranging from the reggae of "Righteous" and retro electronica of "Njia" to some fine Pretenders-like balladry in "Gone" whilst still referencing her Swahili roots in the likes of the dance-tinged "Nyenyekea" and "Naomba". In fact, when she's singing in English, Mutuku sounds very much like Pretenders' lead singer Chrissie Hynde (with a hint of Cerys Matthews thrown in for good measure) and it's her characteristic and often kooky voice - especially striking when in the higher end of her register - which steals the show and makes each song come alive. In addition, Leicester-based producer David Higham offers up an inventive and chameleonlike musical backdrop so that proceedings never get boring and credit must go to him for giving his client's songs the lift they deserve. Praising God is central to everything Mutuku does musically but she is not afraid to tackle thorny subjects such as abstaining from sex before marriage in the punchy electric guitar-driven opener "Run" and jealousy in the self-explanatory "Green Eyed Monster" whilst the aforementioned "Njia" is a stark warning about regretting not telling a friend about Christ before that person dies. All in all, this is a triumphant second album from an artist with a lot to offer.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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