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New Music: Rationale's 'Vessels EP' Seduces

The Zimbabwean-British singer Rationale, also known as Tinashe Fazakerley, has a beautiful new EP our that suggests great thing to come.

London—The Zimbabwe-born singer Tinashe Fazakerley, better known as Rationale, is a seductor—first as a crooner, yes, but also in the actual crooning.


“Tethered”, off his sophomore EP Vessels, starts at a very low ebb. You hear the first phrase “you should know better” but the next is curled into a sweet near-inaudible falsetto, and the one after is a poetic knot, “praying we don't make bridges, don't make waves”.

As the verse builds into the bridge, the language loosen up and the singing becomes more expansive so that when the big chorus drops, the explosion is that of a depth charge.

As a result, a chorus whose lead refrain is “nobody but you, nobody but you”—an otherwise rote lyric, is made much less so and even becomes cathartic. The same approach is brought to “Vessels”, “Prodigal Son” and to an extent on “Reciprocate” which makes up Vessels EP.

On each song, plain language is the fulcrum used to carry the complexities of poetic imagery and fine points of delivery, all of which are engined of course by the power in Rationale’s space shuttle of a voice.

This could only promise, at the very least, a satisfying debut, when it drops. Listen to the EP below.

Sabo Kpade is a regular OkayAfrica contributor. His short story Chibok was shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2015. His first play, Have Mercy on Liverpool Street was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. He lives in London. You can reach him at sabo.kpade@gmail.com

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Burna Boy performs at the Warner Music Group pre-Grammy party in Hollywood on January 2020. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Warner Music)

Burna Boy, Tinariwen, Michael Kiwanuka & More Nominated For 2021 Grammy Awards

The Nigerian star and Tuareg band are nominated in the newly named Best Global Music Album category.

The nominations for the 2021 Grammy Awards are in.

The awards show, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah, will see some of the world's biggest artists up for categories like Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

As we previously wrote about, the Grammys have renamed the international category of Best World Music Album to Best Global Music, in an effort to reportedly make it more modern and inclusive.

In that new Best Global Music Category, Nigerian afro-fusion star Burna Boy is nominated alongside Tuareg desert rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.

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