Album review: Owiny Sigoma Band - Owiny Sigoma Band

Dusty, tribal Afro-folk gets some mild electro-tinkering in this collaboration between London and Kenyan musicians. And no, Damon Albarn can’t keep his nose out.

Recorded in downtown Nairobi by London and Kenyan musicians, OSB reinterprets the traditional folk music of the Luo tribe, resulting in percussion-centric songs written by Kenyan teacher Joseph Nyamungu, who also contributes on the nyatiti, an eight-string lyre.

Its melodies inform an energetic set, with the British contingent drawing on African legends including Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, plumping the sometimes dry Luo tradition.

The combination works best when, as with the breezy swing and intricate guitar lines of Wires, they hit a compelling synthesis of rhythm and percussion, melodic lines picked out and sparingly embellished.

Damon Albarn contributes sprightly organ on the electro-dusted percussionfest Odero Lwar.

Download too the catchy bass-and-bleep-lined Nabed Nade El Piny Ka (Rework) and eight-minute beat fest of closer Rapar Nyanza.

3 stars