SaintFloew Unmasks Silas Mavende in Sauna Season EP: Our Review

These are the same words I would have used seasons ago. The passion and coffee were in abundance. Writing can get so petty and paradoxical. More like the way this 3-5 minute read grabs a handful bit of life from your span. Passion and coffee are what you find in Saint Floew's music before Silas Mavende. The lyrics, however, suggest that it is tea – ndenge ndamwa tea. All the same, the recently dropped Sauna Season is just a sip into this tea which Tawanda Mambo has described as not just a season but a lifestyle. 

SaintFloew Sauna Season EP
Image by Light Art

Whilst we also wonder what the ingredients of this tea could be, a surface investigation of ‘Sauna’ provides that the facility offers mainly health benefits of antiaging, improved immune function and increased blood circulation. Altogether makes Saint Floew a guy not to mess with when it comes to philosophic convictions canvassed in exceptional and witty parables. The discovery of his talent came at a great cost of self-doubt. His first experiment came to life in 2017 recording the track "How You Feel". He disliked the hoarseness of his voice before Eyetal Fire ‘bad genna’ convinced him otherwise as he articulates in the interview with Chamvary on Power FM. Sauna is definitely a thing you won’t find in the trenches of Zimbabwean societies and the high-density suburbs of Chitungwiza where he comes from. Finding it would mercilessly erase David Livingstone’s name from great discoveries. 

Chitungwiza brings in the functional distance and proximity to fellow youths in the same line of passion. His wanderings fell in the arms of Scrip Mula in 2018 whose record label Mula Nation must always be accredited for nurturing Zimbabwean hip hop’s finest talents. At this point, Saint Floew has come to terms with the sound of his voice and the daunting confidence that it won’t barricade his musical exploits. His debut album ‘Hip Hop Broke My Heart’ introduced him to a wider audience and what a privilege it is for fans of that time who now have in their eyes a manifestation of distant miracles. He followed up with the second edition of this album to cement the contradictions of his passion for hip-hop despite the shattered state of his heart. This brings the discussion to a broad consensus of our conquest for change in life. Do we ever transcend from wherever we are without bruising our delicate skin?  

Saint Floew’s music is covered by bruised skin which has dismally failed to hold custody of a burning passion. His mother attests to these claims because, like many others, she also didn’t believe in the commercial viability of music as a feasible livelihood. The aesthetics of showbiz are filled with glitz and glamour but that has robbed onlookers of a context of struggle. Santa proceeds to reveal that Soul Jah Love and Dobba Don were his musical idols which brings us to the conclusion that the ingredients of this famous tea are unquenchable desires of a community that accepts differences and our unique birthrights.  

For a severe lack of nuance in how the end product is judged in the public domain, the above background briefly sips into this cup of tea for context before we step into the Sauna. Music like any other faculty of Art brings a tangible feel of faith and prophecies. Before Saint Floew partnered with Holy Ten he rapped, “I swear real recognize real even from a distance” in Trap Addicts. The beauty in the struggle is that there is always a point where it pays off. Gundamwenda is a colloquial that was popularized by Soul Jah Love. Saint Floew explains it in religious undertones that it translates to procedural victory where you overcome and continue ‘kukunda nekuenda’. This becomes his modus operandi of knowing what is needed at a time without getting stuck.

Sauna Season drops at a time when the industry is already in a chokehold with Silas Mavende rocking the streets. Silas Mavende is a proverbial expression that protests against stereotypes and stigmatization of people considered to be deadbeats because of their anti-sober habits. He employs this modus operandi on a grand stage where he rubs shoulders with celebrities. He yearns for liberty to do his thing. Ending the partnership with Samanyanga Sounds is another vehement apt representation of his game. Record labels may as well not be his cup of tea.

He begins the EP with Musodzi where tears pour into the steaming Sauna. Santa can relate to the meditation that comes with barely washing our bodies. The imagery of water meandering down from the moment it touches the head to the toes comes with a saintly therapy that tears also flow in that dirt. Thereafter, more concrete reasoning emerges and in the second track, Ijipita writes the subject matter of his message. The biblical connotation of Egypt articulates the brutalities of exploitation. His pen game is rich with pristine rhetoric and it is this track which removes the curtain to allow listeners a peep into the Sauna.

Through the window, we see the darker side of our revered showbiz arena where humanity's flaws like hypocrisy are most vivid or else celebrated. Our souls are further ripped by how he reports ghetto experiences in the track Gomba. Another contradiction is a major highlight when he says ‘ndakutotya’ which allows us an appreciation that even the tea has failed to block all the fears. What is happening in the ghetto is unsightly as caused by inhumane disparity when it comes to wealth and resource distribution. 

The most striking thing in this EP is a Jnr Brown feature on the track Ndichikura. In hip-hop terms, it carries the weight of Winky D. Here we get a piece of the romantic expeditions of Santa. Jnr Brown perfectly fits this narrative. The song is a proposal to a crush we all heartily wish they blend and vibe to our style. We are further removed from the emotional juncture to the energy of success in Zita raJesu. The momentum dramatically gains what we have always thought Saint Floew to be. He is hammering that his eventual stardom is divine. To safeguard this territory he carefully picks Chelsea’s midfield maestro N’golo Kante whose endurance and artistry on the field have grown to global acclaim. He is basically swearing that this is not a game for those who tire and for an entire 90 minutes he is the action. Bagga and Xiba disrupt our romanticism by interjecting Santa’s private space in the Sauna. The flair brought in by Xiba is angelic as Saint rubbishes doubts ‘kujuma ndekwevanhu vachiri vazvere” whilst Bagga compliments the vibe of Jumanji – ukareapeter mistake haukete. 

The Sauna Season EP’s production was assisted by No Limits stable spearheaded by Jamal and GangsterMadeIt as copyrights are exclusively reserved for Saint Floew Music Ent.
In this concise extended play, we celebrate the second life of an artist whose prospects are deeply embedded in the passion which was moulded by spiritual reflections of struggle before success. He personifies the thin line separating love and hate by opening up on his relationship with his voice. This is a lifestyle of passionate endeavours which a cup of tea has to a reasonable extent managed to massage. In a replication of his words, this piece too is an introduction. 

Listen to the EP using this link and share with us your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Takudzwa Kadzura

I leave a piece of my heart in every writing, hope you find it.


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