Gilad has always been a favourite of mine. It’s not just how magical his songs are, or how strong and powerful his voice is, it’s also the way his songs make me feel. I mean, have you listened to Nakuahidi or Unajua? I mean, have you really listened to Gilad perform? Have you ever noticed how he manages to carry the crowd with him with his energy together with the Superband?
Gilad Millo is quickly becoming one of Kenya’s favourite performers. He was able to first woo us with his amazingly undying love for this country, then went off to steal our hearts with songs like ‘Sema Milele’. The former Israeli diplomat, TV Journalist and Corporate executive is a true performer who always leaves the crowd begging for more.
Now imagine my surprise when I sat down yesterday to hear his new song, ‘Say Nanana’ feat Grammy Award winner Miri Ben-Ari!
The song is a beautiful blend of English and Swahili that is backed up over a hauntingly beautiful violin, and serves as a well-produced love song by Miri Ben-Ari herself that surprisingly gave me a chill in the first few seconds. The song’s lyrics are laden with emotion and a striking harmony created by the violin which runs throughout the song.
‘Say Nanana’ tells a story of a man who is deeply in love with a woman who is unfortunately far away. The man thus writes this song for her in an attempt to capture her attention; just as he would whisper in her ear if she was near. The song declares the unending love, commitment and desire for them to keep falling in love forever and ever as they continue to love each other.
The song shares a special place in couples who are in long-distant relationships and Gilad brings out the ability of this song to capture the emotions of such couples, almost rekindling the fire in their relationship in those four minutes. I also particularly loved how he used the Swahili language to expose the beauty of love, our culture and how Swahili is just the language of love.
It was produced working online between New York and Nairobi over a period of six months since they were both not in the same country when recording. Miri Ben-Ari, who has never been to Africa, says she plans to visit Kenya in the near future for a special live performance and to shoot the music video for the song using the country as a backdrop.
Miri, who is an Israeli-American violinist, grew up playing classical music. From the tender age of 12, she was already familiarized with the violin and was presented with one by the late classical master Isaac Stern. She has since helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Akon, Patti Labelle, Brandy, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, John Legend and Armin Van Buuren.
She released her first solo CD Sahara in 1999 and so far has 5 albums to her name. In 2005, she won a Grammy Award for best rap song as one of the co-writers of Kanye west’s Jesus Walks. She also received the first martin Luther King, Jr. Israeli Award in 2008. Miri is also a humanitarian. She was appointed as the “UN Goodwill Ambassador of Music to the United Nations Associations of Brazil in 2013 and is the CEO of the not-for-profit organization GEDENK.
Gilad also carries his signature of ‘Music for the Soul’ in this track as he carves his way into our hearts once more with this smooth love song. I also love his authenticity in keeping it simple, and precise and aiming it straight at our hearts as he always does. I just can’t wait to see how the video will turn out!
To get to know more about Gilad and his upcoming projects – including the awaited release of the video of Say Nanana – follow him on Twitter at @giladmillo or on Instagram and Facebook. You can also follow Miri Ben-Ari on Twitter at @MiriBenAri or on Instagram and Facebook.