An almost lost element in Tata’s new song, “Ndaleh”, amidst the lyrical expression, is the resonance of ‘Tata’, the musician’s name, and one of his lone lines in English, where he says he was next to the throne. Of course, the song is centered on Tata, the musician, and whether it is his hustle that he is emphasizing or his success, the video couldn’t have done more than what it did content wise. It is not a story that involves others, or a far-fetched story, so the video focusing on the artist doing his thing at the fireside is an adequate take on the song. The footage does not involve much action from the musician, who is the sole person in the video, but his facial expression does justice to the video.
One of February 16th’s strengths in this ‘one man show’ is the camera movement and positioning. The Camera’s focus moves through dry leaves to the burning flames, and finally settles on the lone person. The angles are well selected and the views of a human silhouette projected by the burning flame, the frolicking smoke, the back position view, slowly introducing Tata’s serious facial expression is really original. Furthermore, the spectacle he introduces with the musician’s face, which plays out like the bubble rings of standing water interrupted by an object, is simply delightful.
Singing in a local language always raises a barrier for those who don’t understand that language. Tata’s choice of language introduces this same constraint, which could perhaps be lifted in part by subtitling the video.