Buoyed by award-winning producer GuiltyBeatz, multi-talented instrumentalist NiiQuaye, a finessing touch of Kidi and DatBeatGod, the Kla Manye prescribes a 5-dosage EP to fix our withdrawal symptoms of her music, for times we lost.
After stealing our hearts for the first time in 2017 with her hit single– Julor(ft. Manifest) off her first studio album— “Metanoia,” Cina Soul has gone on to establish herself as one of the queens of the Afro-Rhythmic sound in the world. No one does it better than her in recent years.
Sticking to her ‘Ga Mashi’ roots with her music regardless of any genre she attempts to soar in, her latest EP is a sleek ode to in-between states when a woman is in love— the conundrum men continually seek answers to.
Falling, the first track off the EP and also a befitting start to the project illustrates perfectly when a woman is head over heels in love. Surely it is only when you are in love, you see no wrong. Even if the individual isn’t good for you and came from the loins of a mermaid, you will be willing to risk it all. “See as you fine, be like Maame water-born you..don’t wanna try…” the songstress admits with this lyric. “But you dey peak my interest oo, be like I win bet oo” immediately she adds. Cina Soul seems to have hit a jackpot with this one. She likens this feeling and the heights of her interest to wins in betting. Perhaps she has a thing or two going on with ‘Benjamin Whiteman?’
Like every other punter in the world, Cina knows what that feels like when you making winnings from your bet slips. “I think I am falling, falling for you all over again” is exactly what you will be singing repetitively, when ‘Benjamin Whiteman’ does your bidding.
‘Benjamin Whiteman’ is a collective name given to bookies/betting companies by Ghanaian punters.
The song which is 1:48mins long, however, stresses the ‘game’ of the Ghanaian woman. Because why so short? The songstress is losing appetite and losing sleep over a man she likes yet hasn’t told him. She reveals that the said man knows about it. These are obviously thoughts and conversations she is having with herself and probably expecting the said man to receive a notification to make the move. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, dear. Mario’s “Let me Love You” which this record is so reminiscent of in terms of production, strikes the perfect juxtaposition on how it is supposed to be if given the situation.
Clearly, a ‘Ga Mashi’ lady who is not a ‘hard girl’ enough to take what she wants.
Spattention (Space & Attention), a conjoined word probably taking the inspiration from the word ‘Situationship’ which is equally made up of two words situation and relationship musically describes the situation in most undefined relationships. The inconsistencies of actions and demands made from such relationships are illustrated perfectly in this song
The songstress lives this reality by seeking answers through this lyric— “All we do is fight, o hie tumɔ gbee, something you enjoy? All we do is fight, o hie tumɔ gbee, am I not enough?” as she subtly insults her partner, in Ga.
The threatenings that come with such eventualities either by arguments or lack of communication weren’t left out either. “You want this, you want that. Am I on your mind or I’m in the past?” expresses how the songstress is in a very frustrating position; a place most women are very familiar with. This Guilty Beatz-inspired production which follows right after Nii Quaye’s touch on ‘Falling,’ justifies why she shouldn’t have considered it in the first place.
The singer actually requests that the ‘Spattention’ is kept on a low as she offers it. She admits she needs the space for clarity but at the same time, she needs attention from the same. Laying her vocal prowess on the notable kicks of the beat and gently riding together with the saxophone on the hook, Cina Soul became a victim of her song. I feel like the production demand is a bit more. She allowed the beat to breathe at certain points of the song. Literally, catching our attention with her sweet voice, adlibs, and harmonisations but yet giving space to GuiltyBeatz to serenade us more with his masterpiece. A win-win situation regardless.
However, If there is a song that illustrates toxicity in relationships/situationships, this is the one.
OMG, the third track off the EP and produced by GuiltyBeatz, the songstress seems to be waking up from a gloomy reality. I feel like it is part two of the message the songstress tried to send in Falling where she says
Spend my life running from you
But the truth bi say
I just wanna visualize and fantasize inna your eyes Omg
Know say you bi pretty boy
Ouu but the truth bi say
I wanna get you out of my head like
But you got me like wow
Her laid-back vocals which sounded intoxicating was the perfect approach to the song.
The lyrics are accompanied by a vertigo-like production at the beginning and at some point of the song equally takes the listener between two emotions. A typical situation of ‘to be or not to be.’ Ever seen sin so good and well presented, you were ready to risk it all whatever the case maybe? “Omg see fine face looking in mi eyes all day Whatever di case my mind go dey” she retorts.
The song although maybe lyrically simple and repetitive in chorus, it will definitely get your head bopping. It has serious nostalgia value. Arguably a personal favourite on the EP in terms of production and the element of replay-value it possesses.
Feelings, the lead single of the project which was released prior, is already as good as it sounds. The ‘Cina Soul’ trademark— a cocktail of afro-rhythmic blues, dance, vocal dexterity, and a touch of culture gave this song the full identity it deserved. It was no surprise why it is the leading single. If the EP was a convoy of classic automobiles, this song is definitely the dispatch rider. A typical ‘allow me to re-introduce myself’ moment is felt after the songstress has gone quiet for a while. Giving old and new ‘Souldiers’ a nostalgic experience in every way, this is a song you want to learn every lyric to so you are not left out in sing-alongs.
Kidi who has become the ‘Yin’ to the ‘Yang’ of Cina Soul in music, demonstrates his growth in how he attacks a song of such calibre. Clearly, a song that displayed a friendly boxing game of the sweetest vocals, Kidi was the perfect fit. The only thing getting hit in this ring is a punching bag of notes.
The instrumental on this record is incredible. You can’t enjoy this song without the notable presence of the baseline that is arguably the bedrock of the whole song. Though the song starts with gentle keys/chords opening the curtains for the entrance of the repetitive snare hits(drums) and striking percussions, the introduction of the baseline commands a final blessing. You could easily tell the bassist had a lot of fun adding his quota to this record. Any music enthusiast or production expert will appreciate those smooth rhythmic slaps of the baseline. You will definitely catch a number of people mimicking the action of the bassist whiles dancing to this record.
Jamestown, the last song of the project skillfully produced and mastered by NiiQuaye Muses, becomes the perfect song to offer a benediction. Another timeless record that will live in the hearts of the people of ‘Ga Mashi.’ The title of the song which is also a fishing community in the heart of Accra is known for the most popular destinations for tourists looking to explore the colonial past of Ghana. This is the hometown of the songstress.
Over brooding melodies and groovy percussion, typical of a ‘jama’ sound, the ‘Kla Manye’ takes you on a tour by painting a number of notable fun activities, popular clans, and traditions associated with the Ga community. In one breath, she sings skilfully about getting served with hot Kenkey(kɔmi) and delicious oysters(adode) as well as experiencing the coastal life of Jamestown. In another, she hosts the listener to a virtual Homowo festival of a sort.
As she continues making honourable mentions of a number of ‘Ga Mashi’ towns/clans, you will hear her highlight ‘Akwele suma’— the twin ceremony— a crucial aspect of the cultural festivities exhibited during Homowo. Not forgetting ‘Gbonyo Party’— she also sings intimately and repetitively in the chorus of the song. ‘GBONYO’ is a Ga word that means ‘dead body.’ So basically, the party after the burial of the dead body. A popular practice among the Gas.
Party Ga's do for the dead ,block roads and disturb people's sleep two nights https://t.co/YsQdr18nRP
— Lady Jemima 🇬🇭❤ (@Naa_Akorfaaaaaa) March 27, 2021
Party after all funeral rites have been done from Sunday around 3- till mama calls😂😂 https://t.co/8M0sdcyEkZ
— Francisco Domingo (@KobbyMingz) March 27, 2021
The gathering of family, friends and sympathizers after the Sunday Thanksgiving service of a funeral.
Food, drinks, music and dance has no competitor on the day.
It's also the dead person will regret for dying. Thank you https://t.co/LjgXa6MUbi
— Kwadwo Frimpong Totti 🇬🇭 (@kfrimpong_totti) March 27, 2021
If you’re handsome or good looking, you’re not welcome 🤝 https://t.co/I4dIxYUe9K
— Kay.Boateng❤️🇬🇭 (@Scripp_T) March 27, 2021
By the time you are done listening to this song, you should have completed at least level one of ‘Ga Mashi’ lessons in Cina Soul’s history class.
The song is poised strategically to be of great use to the Ministry of Creative Arts, Tourism and Culture in its overall promotion of the country’s tourism.
For some, this may be a jama song. Probably a dance routine. But it is more. It is a clarion call. It is an invitation. The perfect full stop to a strong statement of a project, Cina Soul represents.
Cina Soul authored a book of five chapters in For Times We Lost. The arrangement and production of the songs were done excellently to give every listener the proper story-telling experience. From the sounds to the lyrics, you will have an all-around live experience of love, highlife music, culture, and Cina Soul displaying magnificent growth as an artiste.
As for me, in no particular order, OMG, Jamestown and Feelings are my favourites off the project.
In the meantime, listen to Cina Soul — ‘For Times We Lost’
By: Olele Salvador | GhanaWeekend