No doubt Namibian born Elemotho, aka Gaalelewe Richardo Mosimane, meant well with the release of Beautiful World. Alas, sometimes the best of intentions, even when teamed with undeniable talent, are not enough to make an album that shines.
Even when mining his elders' rich traditions and stories of the Kalahari, no doubt once regaled around delicately spiced campfires, Elemotho still fails to ignite more than the occasional spark. The problem isn't a lack of enthusiasm or vocal flair, in fact those songs delivered in Bantu, the language of Setswana, possess the warmth and humanity I suspect the album was written to induce. The main issue lies in the approach of psychologist turned prosaist. Whilst world issues such as peace and love make worthy agendas, it is very rare that they are treated with anything beyond banality.
It isn't just world peace that slows things down. There is an inherent blandness in the lullaby to his baby son, complete with cute sampling of the boy's voice. If you have bought the album with a genuine sense of love and respect for African-inspired music, you might well be disappointed by this point.
It's not entirely Elemotho's fault that this doesn't work. It should work. It's just that the world movements of the 1960s have moved on and we no longer want a sermon, we want a storm. With his pedigree, it shouldn't be too hard for Elemotho to find his voice in a way that is more passionate than preaching. Do that, and indeed it will be a Beautiful World. - Leander Hobbs
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A live radio performance from Windhoek, Namibia