By BRUCE DENNILL
New Day (Gotta Get Up) by Liebah Masango and Ayanda Yumba
Most matric projects have a limited impact on observers – there’s only so much entertainment value in a badly drawn horse or a volcano that spews green paint onto your dining room table. National School of the Arts (NSA) matriculants Liebah Masango and Ayanda Yumba have created something more appealing and edifying in their co-written song New Day (Gotta Get Up), sung by Masango and produced by Yumba.
The track is propelled by dance beats and synths, with a recurring descending bassline cementing a groove that continues throughout the song. Masango begins the lyric with a spoken word section that introduces the theme – the challenges 2020 has presented to school learners, particularly those trying to prepare to head out into the adult world. This was in keeping with the Old Mutual Foundation’s 21 Acts Of Goodness Campaign – the NSA was a partner in the programme, which aimed to address the impact the pandemic had on this year’s matrics.
Beyond those ideas, the message is not particularly sophisticated, with refrains including, “It’s a new day, sun is shining, people smiling” and “I need you to get up, get up, get up, get up now”. But refinement is not the goal here, with the energy of the piece matching its manifesto and its catchiness being a major plus in making it easy to remember (in terms of both its melody and the encouragement being offered to its intended audience).
During exams, New Day might be a distraction of the best kind – inspiration to get to the end and celebrate with a huge party. Or it could be the comfort a stressed-out student needs while cramming – as one of the other lines in the song puts it, “When in doubt, just breathe.”
The release of the single also helps to celebrate an important National School of the Arts milestone – the announcement of a partnership between the school and Universal Music South Africa, helping to dispel fears of the school closing because of COVID-19-related economic pressures. The partnership will include the newly renamed “Universal Music Department”.