The fourth and final album from the Owiny Sigoma Band comes six years after their last offering: the East African / London project again opening up cross-cultural tropes, flexing global musical muscles, marrying the old with the new, traditional Kenyan instrumentation augmented with subtle electronics.
It’s a wonderful pairing, intimately recorded, crackling with understated beauty on tracks such as Christine: quietly devastating, the lute-like Nyatiti underpinning a seriously soulful liquid groove. Nine minutes of mesmerising sound: this one has been on repeat in our household.
Ogito gets a neat little edit from Frankie Francis and Simbad: where tricked-out percussion perfectly compliments the bumpy goodness of the vocals. It`s another after hours banger, swaddled in deep feels and aimed at the feet and the heart – another highlight of a consistently strong set.
Owiny Space ups the electronics while maintaining the vibe: the whistled high melody line floating over the bowel-worrying bass, chittering percussion – deep house manouevers perfectly dovetailed into a dubbed out aesthetic. Detroit calling via Nairobi.
The voices and playing of Joseph Nyamungu and Charles Owoko resound throughout, a fitting final tribute following Charles’s death in 2015 – the music immortalising, preserving the spirit, reaching out beyond the grave.
A final curtain call then, for the band, but a joyous one that affirms the power of music to bring us together, across boundaries, uniting us all in the act of creation – the old, old imperative to dance, to smile, to link arms with one and another and celebrate while we can. Love love and hate hate: The Lost Tapes have been rediscovered and we can all be thankful for that.
Owiny Sigoma Band’s The Lost Tapes is out now, on Brownswood Recordings.