LooseTalk: Understanding a song

Intro: This is where it all begins; the genesis. In the distant past of our forefathers, song intros used to be so long, verbose and tedious that what is today a full, 3-minute song would just constitute the intro to an old Igisope love ballad.

Intro: This is where it all begins; the genesis. In the distant past of our forefathers, song intros used to be so long, verbose and tedious that what is today a full, 3-minute song would just constitute the intro to an old Igisope love ballad.

Yes, if the truth be told, and boldly so, Igisope songs are long, and can mean to stretch on and on, like an Onatracom bus.

 

What I mean to say is that, on average, when veteran guitarist Makanyaga Abdul takes to the microphone, he is likely to take longer at executing his otherwise well crafted and thoughtful intros than Jay Polly or Riderman.

 

But the Makanyagas of this world started belting tunes way back in time, when long, full bodied intros were still fashionable. People did not just tolerate long intros to songs like is the case today, they accepted it as the norm.

 

But with the emergence of the private FM radio format that tries to cram as much music as ads in every single minute as is possible, long songs and long intros became a big risk to undertake by a musician.

From then on, musicians have struggled to align themselves with the KISS rule, and by kiss, I do not mean to say French kiss, bisou, but “Keep It Simple and Short”, which is some kind of golden rule of communication.

These days, a song intro has shrunk into a single word: Kigooo-maa …!!

These fast-paced days, your kids in school do not have the time to say “introduction” when they could KISS it and simply say “intro”.

So, if the intros to today’s songs seem to all measure up to the KISS rule, why then are we going on for so long about the intro?

So we now turn to the song chorus, which is the whole point of the song; a song chorus is what you would call the “general happiness” part of the song. General happiness in that any fool should be able to fairly grasp the message carried in a song chorus, let alone sing along to it, word for word.

A song chorus that works for me should be short and precise. It must not mince words and neither should it leave room for ambiguity. A good chorus doesn’t try to pack in so much: 

Let us be like a soldier …And defend our area …

Of course I made that one up!

After the chorus comes the verse, which is the full disclosure. It’s like adding coats of paint to the chorus, until the message contained in the chorus needs no further break down.

So assuming our chorus was, Let us be like a soldier …And defend our area …, what would come to mind for the verse?

Perhaps we would come up with something along these lines:

Our enemies are coming

With their guns and ammunition

Don’t fear them my brethrens

Because together we are strong

We don’t want paper soldiers

We want the real buffalo soldier.

After the verse, comes the conclusion, in which shout-outs are sent to fans in Kigali and Nyamirambo and Bujumbura and Kampala and Nairobi and Bongoland.

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