Harmonize balances global ambitions and feeding his local fans in 'Visit Bongo'
Unlike back in High School when it was pretty evident he was testing the waters in the West African market, or in Made For Us where his feelings and emotions were all over the place, in Visit Bongo Harmonize has finally nailed down the art of balancing his international dreams while still keeping his local East African audience content
At last, Harmonize has finally released his highly anticipated fourth album, Visit Bongo, featuring 14 tracks.
This album is a beautiful blend for those familiar with his last two projects, merging his ambitions in the High School era with the overly emotional Made For Us album.
Upon the release of High School on November 5, 2021, Harmonize faced criticism for adopting a Nigerian English pidgin accent, notably showcased in tracks such as Outside, Serious Love, and Mood featuring Naira Marley.
But Harmonize has always been a person who knows what he wants and that is to resonate with the West African audience and that's why even when critics, two years ago ridiculed him saying that he sounded like an East African version of Mayorkun the singer still injected the Nigerian vibe in Visit Bongo in 2023
Tanzanian artists kama wanaimba kingereza waache ku sound kama wanajikuta wamezaliwa Nigeria— BLIZ (@BLIZZSS) November 5, 2021
Waimbe kingereza straight kinachoeleweka mhona simple tu
Harmonize album kama airudie tu
This is evident right from the get-go with Personal Trainer, the opening track of Visit Bongo and goes on to Side Niggah, a slow Afrobeats love tune that echoes the message found in the Bongo Flava classic, Spair Tairi by Matonya
But Harmonize's quest to conquer the international market isn't pinned to a singular formula. Being a prominent Tanzanian musical export, Harmonize recognizes the impact of Amapiano in grabbing the interest of non-Swahili speakers abroad.
That's precisely why, in tracks like Single Again, the Single Again Remix featuring Nkosazana Daughter, Sijalewa, and the lively love anthem titled Wangu Mimi, the three-time Tanzania Music Awards winner skillfully incorporates the Amapiano sound.
In his quest for equilibrium within the album and to resonate with the local audience, Harmonize seamlessly integrates the familiar Made For Us. Through tracks like Zanzibar, Tena, Hawaniwezi, and Sijui there's a reminiscent nod to Harmonize's earlier hits like Niambie, Aiyola, and Nishachoka., he pays homage to the quintessential Bongo Flava sound, crafted specifically for his Tanzanian fans.
What elevates Visit Bongo to a higher level of solidity is the storytelling allure that Harmonize skillfully injects across the 14 tracks.
Throughout the album, Harmonize transitions between various roles and personas wearing the hat of a son, a simp, a lover boy, a leech, an employee, and a vengeful ex. In crafting this collection, Harmonize has shaped a body of work that resonates with a broad audience, appealing even to those who may not typically gravitate towards love songs.
In the 14-track album, It was truly remarkable to witness Harmonize express admiration for his mother in Best Woman, showcase the beauty of Zanzibar Island in Zanzibar, navigate the emotions of a bitter ex in Dear Ex, and wear shoes of a candid simp in Side Nigga.
Also, Harmonize ensures every ululation, background vocal, and instrument in the album is meticulously heard. It's no exaggeration to affirm that Harmonize and his producers not only comprehend but deliver top-tier sound production, deserving rof ecognition on prestigious stages like the Grammy Awards.
In essence, Visit Bongo serves as compelling proof that Harmonize has achieved equilibrium between his local and international appeal.
This album stands as a harmonious synthesis, summarizing and seamlessly blending elements from his preceding works – the ambitious High School album targeting West Africa and the introspective Made For Us, which marked Harmonize's return to his Bongo Flava roots.
Overall rating: 8.2