Album Reviews

Album review: Owiny Sigoma Band – Owiny Sigoma Band (Brownswood Recordings)

By | Published on Tuesday 29 March 2011

Owiny Sigoma Band

Through voluntary organisation Art Of Protest, a team of London-based musicians – Jess and Louis Hackett, Sam Lewis, Chris Morphitis and Tom Skinner – found themselves in Kenya in 2009, with no set agenda other than to explore “the cross pollination of musical ideas”.

There they stumbled upon Joseph Nyamungu, a player and teacher of the nyatiti, and percussionists Joseph and Charles Owoko, all exponents of the traditional music of the Luo tribe, and their jamming sessions led to a Nairobi-meets-London sound clash.

The results are impressive and infectious: tribal African music with a shard of a European clubbing sentiment. Nyamungu does leads vocals on the traditional Luo folk songs, while J Hackett and Lewis take over on the London-leaning ‘Wires’ and the luscious sun kissed ‘Here On The Line’. Blur frontman Damon Albarn chips in for organ duties on the sprightly foot tapper ‘Odero Lwar’ and one of the better tracks ‘Margaret Okudo’, which is a bit akin to The Orb’s early forays into dub reggae.

All in all, a very decent project offering an accessible and catchy take on traditional world music. Gilles Peterson’s label Brownswood have signed up a gem. PV

Physical release: 18 Apr