Review: Timi Dakolo sends down the rain but is it necessary?

by Wilfred Okiche


Majek Fashek’s ‘Send down the rain’ is one of those rare songs. Tunes that were earworms upon initial release but have evolved, transcended their time and adopted a much deeper purpose. ‘Send down the rain’ wasn’t just an earworm though. Released in 1987, legend is, it came right on time and not long after, brought with it a much-awaited rainstorm that ended one of the most severe droughts in Nigerian history.

Majek Fashek became a national hero, a prophet. The song, a national treasure and an untouchable proof that God answers prayers.

You would have to be bat-shit crazy to attempt a remake. Either that or you would have to be Timi Dakolo; gifted vocalist, exceptional performer and original West African Idol. Coming off his forth coming disc, ‘Songs I love to sing’, apart from a deep burning love for the song, it is not clear why he chose to lead with this song. For one the rains are falling and this year’s have been forecast to climb to a record high.

Dakolo’s version is an update of the 87 classic, with no attempt to approach or better Fashek. It is a re-imagining by a fan who just happens to be a great singer. It opens with piano strings and the sound of rain falling before Mr Dakolo’s broad baritone arrives and takes over. There has never been a beat or arrangement Timi’s voice couldn’t conquer and it is the case here. Mixed to a pulsating electro dance beat that is instantly uplifting, this version becomes not the everyman’s soulful cry of the original but the party people’s groovy, jumpy affirmation of life. It is undiluted fun today, disposable junk tomorrow.

Fashek’s version connected with the people because it was a reflection of the times, a song of hope for things to come. While the rainmaker is still on his road to perdition, this slick remake serves as a reminder of the stellar era of Nigerian music and will hopefully redirect a new generation to Majek Fashek’s music.

That is what the truly good remakes do.

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