"Aurelia" album by Henry Olonga

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on February 09, 2008

In 1995 when he made his Test match debut for Zimbabwe, Henry Olonga had no idea that 8 years later he would be part of the history of Zimbabwe. Due to politics, the black arm band display with Andy Flower closed the doors on two first class careers and since the loss of Olonga and Flower, and a further dozen or so "rebels" Zimbabwe cricket has been weakened.

Forced into exile, Henry Olonga has tried his hand at commentating, but his true passion lies with music. As a tenor, he has performed at high profile events such as the Harare Festival of the Arts and Traquir Fair in Scotland. He won the UK talent show "The All Star Talent Show" with 50% of the total votes, and released a single, "Our Zimbabwe" which topped the Zimbabwean charts.

In 2006, the same year he won "The All Star Talent Show", Olonga released his first album; Aurelia. Latin for chrysalis, Aurelia is the "transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly". The sleeve notes symbolise this, showing caterpillars on the beginning pages and a colourful butterfly on the back page. Whether this is a representation of his cricket career, his blossoming music career or even his life is up for debate. Perhaps it is a little of each.

The album came together when Bruce Izzett, a friend of Henry Olonga's, contacted Aurelia's eventual producer, Robbie Bronnimann. While wanting to focus on Olonga's strengths as a vocalist and embracing his African heritage, many different styles were explored during the album's production. The result was a pleasant pop and African blend in each track, including traditional instruments. There are also traces of hip hop and rhythm and blues. Olonga's vocals sound very warm and natural and are a pleasure to listen to.

The two standouts on the album are the upbeat tracks My Heart and Together Forever, both of which I liked the first time I heard them. I'll Still Believe, co-written by Olonga and featuring Shaz Sparks, as well as One Is The Love are other songs which have seen considerable air time on my iPod.

Overall, Aurelia is a very solid debut album and sets a good foundation for future releases. What is most pleasing is that the songs are all original creations and over half of them were either written or co-written by Henry Olonga. His next album is expected to be released during 2008, and will feature a blend of classical and pop.

To purchase Aurelia or preview tracks, please go to Henry Olonga's website: henryolonga.net
Be quick, there are only a few hundred left in stock! His songs can also be previewed and purchased through iTunes.