MENU Owiny Sigoma Band // Album Teaser // Released 02-05-11

Owiny Sigoma Band // Album Teaser // Released 02-05-11

March 9, 2011

In 2009 a close-knit London-based collective of musicians travelled to Kenya to collaborate with local musicians in Nairobi. There they met Joseph Nyamungu – a phenomenal nyatiti player/teacher whose scope of knowledge of traditional Luo music is unparalleled – and Charles Owoko, a drummer specialising in traditional Luo rhythms. A series of inspiring jam sessions concluded with time in a downtown Nairobi studio where the sound developed into something unique, fresh and full of verve.

The project – dubbed Owiny Sigoma Band – will finally be released on 2nd May 2011, preceded by a 12” boasting a monstrous Theo Parrish remix available exclusively via Record Store Dayon 16th April 2011. The Motor City legend stripped back the melodic content to the bare essentials and built one of his trademark twisted trips in a whirlwind session with Floating Points at Eglo Studios, London.

Africa is still largely untapped. The US has been dug to death, likewise most of South America and Brazil. Africa is the new Colombia in terms of uprooted treasures by the likes of Analog Africa and Soundway. Nigeria, Ghana and the French Colonies – Congo, Sierra Leone and maybe Ivory Coast – they’re the ones that have been tapped, but there’s so much more. I’ve started hearing stuff from Eritrea and Mozambique… funk bands… James Brown made an impact everywhere.

What I heard when I first played Owiny Sigoma Band on the radio was a phat, wayward dance record with African leanings and it just felt completely right. That’s why it was good to continue along the path that they’d followed, because they’ve got a different approach to how the drums should sound and the bass should sound – it’s like they’ve been listening to a bunch of Arthur Russell and Liquid Liquid records. These characteristics alongside the nyatiti, the vocals and the cow’s horn, lend it these unique properties that you don’t hear in any other African music and make it exciting. But, fundamentally, the reason that it works for me (and Brownswood) is that it’s drum and bass heavy… rhythmically heavy. And all those little disco tricks… the reverbs and the tape delays that they used are brilliant. It’s by no means a disco record, but it’s got enough of that in it to make it sound new and inventive. Plus of course there’s the whole thing with bands like Vampire Weekend, the Damon Albarn touch and World Circuit… all of that has been embedded in people’s heads. So basically you throw this project in the mix which has all of those elements and that’s why it’s fresh.

Gilles Peterson

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