The wait is finally over, Sereetsi & the Natives’ sophomore album Motoko is out!
Like their debut, Four String Confessions, the new album was produced by Swedish drummer, producer and engineer Mikael Rosen and band leader Tomeletso Sereetsi.
Listening to the songs, the four-string guitar remains the heart of the Sereetsi & The Natives sound as all the songs were written and arranged on the guitar. The lively sound is enhanced by the artists great voice and the clever word play and messages to share with listeners.
The best part about this album is that every song has its unique arrangements and message and does not give the listener a chance to skip tracks. The opening track, Sebodu is about a friend who wants to live on handouts despite being able-bodied and of the right productive age. Maobenka is another hilarious and predicted hit-song which talks about a man who is not in love with the city life but would die if he lived anywhere else because he is madly in love with a woman called Maobenka who lives in the city. Sereetsi has performed Maobenka before in some of his gigs much to the delight of revelers who particularly cheered when he sung part of the song, ‘Mmankudu o dikhularo dikhungwana, o lebatsa le pelo go ruthaka. Ga ke aya bokgwelwa ke ile lepai la mosadi, o ntshwere ka ditsebe, a ntshwaa poo’.
Kgatlha Thuu! is a song about a marriage apart, with a husband who has found a young mistress. The wife has a secret young lover too and the two illicit couples bump into each other. Mpompela is a familiar song that has been sung in the Setswana weddings and choral music classic. It tells the story of a farmer who needs help from someone with a tyre pump to as he needs to inflate the wheels of a tractor that he has bought. Another, Nthapelele chronicles a sinner’s testimony, a married man who mourns a dead mistress in secrecy and has no one to turn to for comfort while Botengtengteng is a song about a man so deeply in love.
The album also managed to feature the trending topic of sex dolls with a song titled Mpopi which is about a man who turns his back on a woman and focuses his affection on a doll. The album raises everyday issues around people, happy love, tragic love, disruptors of normalcy, of love relationships as we know them, like the dolls. Some songs call for a return to basics, the need to grow our own food, the need to ensure no one is left behind, socio-economically speaking, as we seek to advance our society. Others discourage laziness and encourage the able-bodied to stand up and win the future for themselves, their children and their communities.
With its infectious sound knitted together with novel harmonies, Tomeletso Sereetsi did not disappoint with Motoko and will surely win more Natives to the fold while retaining the ones who have been solidly behind the project throughout.
Sereetsi says the album is titled after his father who is called Motoko. In a previous interview with Time Out, the guitarist explained that the album was a celebration of his father who allowed him to own and bring home a guitar during a time when children were dissuaded from showing interest in music as a career because it was looked down up.