Review Ayoub Ogada – Amira on Festivalinfo

Ayoub Ugada He is an artist who enjoys fame in an eclectic circle. The singer from western Kenya is famous for his unique voice that accompanies him with nyati, yoke a bowl of five to eight strings. This classic instrument is played almost exclusively by the descendants of the inhabitants of Lu. Some will know him as the actor Job Seda; Under this name he managed to star alongside Robert Redford in outside Africa (1985). His love for music was stronger; Soon he decided to seek asylum in the UK.

For three years he entertained London Underground passengers with his music. This led to him being asked to play for ten minutes at the WoMad Festival in 1998. Destiny gave him a full-time opportunity. Organizer Peter Gabriel was so excited that he had Ugada sing on his single “Digging In The Dirt.” [1992]. In 1993 he released Ugada’s first album Mana Koyo (Just Sand) and they went on tour.

Although he received credits from Kanye West for the song Yikes, his most popular song is Kothbiro. This came during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro [2016] used, but also in the films “Constant Gardener” [2005]samsara [2011]. When he passed away in 2019, he took this famous song with him to his grave. or not?

Musician Trevor Warren decided to record a double album in memory of his musician friend. first half of omera (“Brother” in Luo), he says, contains the best we have not heard from Ogada. They are mostly rediscovered recordings for their album kodi (“Germ” in Luo language) from 2015, like “It’s raining…”. Additionally, “We Are Just Waiting”, “Granary” and “Seed” are alternative clips for that session. There are also recordings from 2006, when Warren was still part of the Diva band. Ali Farka Toure and Amira grew up from that time. Not much has changed in nine years: the softly sung songs remain a melting pot of acoustic western guitar with African and nyatti rhythms.

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All in all, it’s the “45” that impresses. Thanks to some dubbing and the efforts of trumpeter Toby Shebi and Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, this demo turned out to be the best song of the first part. The second disc offers us fan interpretations of Western Kenyans. These include Irish musician Bernard O’Neill (John Tabor and Lorena McKinnett) and Peter Chilvers, who has worked extensively with Brian Eno. This is the “Ali” of Oren Kaplan, ex-guitarist of Gogol Bordello, who stands out: He knows how to find the perfect blend of African and Western music.

Whether the posthumous poem by Ugada would prevent him from being obscured is questionable. The names of the artists who contribute here are not big enough for that. He who listens attentively, hears a man who delights himself and others with a voice that puts many in a good mood. Isn’t that enough?

Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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