Review of Zoe Modiga’s Yellow the Novel

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Her soul is yellow and it has copiously poured on these songs─ this much is instantaneously apparent on a quick listen of Zoe Modiga’s debut album ‘Yellow the Novel’. Her vocal range is ─not necessarily exaggerated─ limitless, her voice smooth (for those who knew her from ‘The Voice’ South Africa, this perhaps isn’t a revelation) and her sound so soothing that it makes one’s worries fade into insignificance.

It matters not if you don’t understand IsiZulu, which she employs on some songs on the album, her melody is universal and they forge her emotions quite easily into the subconscious. This is the kind of music you want to walk in to at home after a long, hectic day on the job or whatever pursuit steals your day.

The instrumentals on the tracks would perhaps make for a climactic overkill on any other genre of music but conflated with her sensual voice, they produce a stunningly balanced impact. The Instrumentation on its own could be re-imagined to work out as a stand-alone Jazz album, likewise Madiga’s voice as an A cappella offering. Combined, they make for an irresistible marriage of Soul and Jazz.

Her lyrics are strong, deep, riveting and yes, delivered in that ultimately suave voice of hers. Listening to her is akin to finding pure gold; it can also be likened to the simple joy of basking in morning sun or watching ants at work.

Overall, the album comprises mostly feel-good music and has earned the tag of being a happiness pill─ one everybody needs in these crises-ridden times. Madiga herself doesn’t mask the fact that her message of joyfulness is intentional and premeditated. If nothing else, her choice of ‘yellow’ (which is coincidentally her favourite colour) as part of the album name reveals her mind-set.


Tomiwa Yussuf has a background in History/International studies. With a strong bias for fictional art of varying forms, he contributes to a couple of literary blogs and is an in-house editor at nantygreens.com. When he’s not writing, he pursues other interests like digital marketing, social work and sports.

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