OWINY SIGOMA BAND / THE LOST TAPES / BROWNSWOOD Recordings – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

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. 

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