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Awillo Mike’s new song hammers home the message that Europe is not paradise and reveals how difficult it is for African immigrants to survive here.
A new song by Awillo Mike and his Ja’mnazi Ornament Band dismantles the myth of Europe as a paradise-like place and reveals how difficult it is for African immigrants to survive here.
Titled “Shamba La Mawe”, a Swahili phrase literally meaning “Stony Farm”, the song stresses the message that Europe is not paradise. Life in this “Stony Farm” is not an easy experience as many people back in Africa wrongly think, says the Kenyan born musician based in Germany.
Most people in Africa have a false image of abroad, especially of Europe and USA, thinking that these are places where money grows on trees, or places where money flows out of taps. That’s not the case.
As Awillo Mike sings, life in Europe is like ploughing a stony farm.
“Seduced by myths of paradise-like “abroad” numerous Africans leave their countries for Europe and America every year. A majority discover that “abroad” is a mirage,” Awillo Mike says. In order to survive in Europe, many Africans “end up doing things they would have disdained doing back home,” he says.
“Shamba La Mawe” has a powerful message for young Africans dreaming of travelling abroad. It warns them to discard all those false images of abroad and only decide to come here if they are ready to work hard in order to earn their living.
Awillo Mike further appeals to Africans already living “in the stony, thus largely unproductive farm that is Europe to adopt a culture of love and care for one another to better their chances of achieving their dreams.”
Every year several hundreds of Africans drown and die in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe.
“The story of Africans who embark on dangerous boat journeys to Europe pains me so much,” says Awillo Mike.
He recalls coming to Germany for the first time in 1991 when he was only 15 years old. After staying in Germany for three months, Awillo Mike decided to return to Kenya to finish O-levels.
“You should have heard the comments, everybody thought I was a fool to have gone back home when Europe was supposed to be like heaven,” he says.
“Shamba La Mawe”, done in Swahili and Lingala, is a subtle fusion of Zouk and Rumba.
Awillo Mike, who has for many years played Rumba, says he likes to experiment with different sounds as he acquires a broader audience. In “Shamba La Mawe”, Awillo Mike says, he used Zouk beat because it is very popular with many of his listeners. “I also want to expand my audience to have a better market for my music,” he says.
“Shamba La Mawe” is the title track of Awillo Mike’s forthcoming album containing nine songs. The album will be released in October.
Awillo Mike composed and recorded several songs with Orchestre Ja-mnazi Afrika while in Kenya. In 2011 he featured as a guest vocalist on Samba Mapangala’s “Maisha Ni Matamu” (Life Is Sweet) song.
– By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a