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Eswatini's Rising Star Sarnilo Redefines Musical Storytelling with 'CHIFUNILO' E.P.

A Heartfelt Tribute to Family and Heritage

Sarnilo delves deep into the essence of her being in her latest E.P., captivating listeners and immersing them in her world. Entitled 'CHIFUNILO,' this E.P. draws its name from her name, CHIFUNILO, which means the will of God(Intandoyenkhosi in Siswati), shedding light on her exploration of family, life's journey, loss, and love within the project. 'CHIFUNILO' is an exquisite fusion of Afrosoul, R&B, and Hip-Hop.

Throughout the E.P., one can discern the neo-soul influences of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, underscoring Sarnilo's commitment to redefining Eswatini's music scene. She navigates seamlessly from neo-soul to Afro-soul to Hip-Hop, showcasing her impressive versatility. Through this project, Sarnilo employs her polished, smooth, and soothing voice and lyrical finesse to satiate the craving for authenticity and raw emotion in an era dominated by superficiality.

The E.P., masterfully crafted with a delicate touch, immerses us in the realm of family right from the opening track. It commences with heartwarming words from Sarnilo's maternal grandmother, offering a glimpse into the Chifunilo family roots. Their conversation is a poignant reminder to follow one's dreams and sing as if no one is watching – a theme that Sarnilo embraces beautifully throughout the E.P.'s 21-minute duration.

The opening track resonates with an unmistakable African spirit, featuring melodies and background sounds rooted in African traditions, including the ululation of women. However, its most African quality lies in the profound and unwavering love passed down through generations. This love is encapsulated in the line, "Behind my granddaughter Chifunilo, who believes in herself, there is a grandmother who believed in her first."

As a bi-cultural artist, hailing from both Swazi and Malawian heritage, Sarnilo remains faithful to her African roots in songs like "Sindikumva” and "Okondana," where she seamlessly incorporates Siswati and Chichewa. "Sindikumva" exudes Afro-soul nuances and narrates the story of two lovers grappling with ineffective communication. "Sindikumva" translates to "I can't hear you" in Chichewa. The song's warm and smooth soundscape paints a romantic picture of the challenges posed by miscommunication and misunderstanding in a relationship, leading to a yearning for one's partner: "What I see is your absence, you don't tell me what you need, you're just drifting far from me."

This theme continues into "Okondana," which means "lovers" in Chichewa. The song explores the intricacies of young love and relationships for a young African woman. It beautifully captures the essence of finding love even in the most hopeless places: "And we found each other in the darkest of nights; we became each other's eternal light." Sarnilo delves into the difficulty of showing vulnerability in a relationship: "My heart is exposed, this phase is unknown, the love isn't told, insecurities will show."

Watch “Okondana” Lyric Visualizer Here:

Sarnilo's lyrical prowess extends beyond love and family to address societal issues, particularly Toxic Masculinity, in the track "Conscious," featuring Eswatini Hip-Hop veteran Qibho Intalektual. The song portrays how toxic masculinity distorts the true meaning of love. Sarnilo expresses her liberation and honesty in the music, but her honesty remains unreciprocated by her partner.

Lines like "Maybe if I turned down the lights, I would catch myself from slipping out of your mind. Passion is hard to find in the way you're moving" illustrate the struggles of being with an indifferent lover. The chorus, "Why you all over my brain, I'm shooting my shot you're the aim, I know that I'm sounding insane," vividly depicts the one-sided nature of the relationship. Qibho, on the other hand, offers a counterpoint from the male perspective, delving into the flawed advice older peers impart about what it means to be a man: "All these things AmaGrootman taught are not helpful, makes one resentful, what's hurtful is when you find you're the one that hurts you." His insightful exploration sheds light on the need for personal growth and self-reflection.

The beautiful backing vocals of fellow Antidote Artist Mzwaa further enrich the song. Sarnilo exudes confidence and authenticity in "Hoodbrat," where she skillfully captures the challenges of growing up in a neighborhood plagued by crime: "We live like bait, every day a different day, you thank God you're safe, living in a place where thugs are your homies once they broke into my house and act like they don't know me." She boldly asserts her true self, emphasizing her depth beyond the superficiality of social media: "I don't think y'all get who I really am; I'm talking insight, not Instagram."

In this track, Sarnilo confronts the realities of the modern world with razor-sharp and witty lyrics that cut deep. Her confidence and liberation shine through as she asserts, "Chifunilo call me bad but not boujee, quick to judge so is calling you Judy." The title "HOODBRAT" aptly encapsulates her experience, as she contrasts her upbringing in Zone 6 with her exposure to suburban life through the use of an oxymoron, revealing the duality of her identity: "Flipside now they call me a brat cause I went to a private school where the kids are all that, and I twist up my tongue when I speak in vernac."

Sarnilo's love for family takes center stage in "Sharon" and "M.A.D.," dedicated to her mother and father, respectively. Her affection for her parents permeates the music, with lines like "She sees an angel even when I do her wrong," poignantly depicting a mother's unconditional love. On "Sharon," she boldly proclaims, "No, I'm not perfect, neither is she, but we add up to our sum equal to our symmetry," underscoring how their love transcends their individual imperfections, making them greater together than apart.

"M.A.D.," named after her father's initials, serves as a heartfelt tribute to her father, whose love shines through the song. This track masterfully showcases Sarnilo's storytelling prowess: "My daddy was my hero and my favorite artist; his heart is in the music, and that's where my heart is. He put the passion in me before he departed." Sarnilo reflects on how her life transformed after her father's loss, stating, "Daddy's little girl all grown up now, seen a couple things I could live without."

From this project, it is evident that Sarnilo stands on the precipice of international stardom. She has undeniably demonstrated her prowess as a complete artist, from her lyrical dexterity to her execution and the overall sonic landscape of the project. The song structures and the E.P.'s release strategy all signal that Sarnilo has achieved a world-class caliber of artistry.

In 'CHIFUNILO,' Sarnilo has taken us on a soulful journey through family, love, and loss, redefining music in Eswatini and on a global stage. With her rich blend of genres, lyrical finesse, and heartfelt storytelling, Sarnilo has firmly established herself as a rising star to watch in the music industry. Her ability to convey raw emotion and authenticity in an era dominated by superficiality is a testament to her artistry, and it's only a matter of time before the world recognizes her immense talent.

Stream/Download 'CHIFUNILO' Here:

Connect With Sarnilo

Twitter: @SarNilo

Instagram: @sar.nilo

Facebook: @SarNilo


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