In 2009, a handful of London-based musicians travelled to Nairobi in Kenya to collaborate with two local musicians: Joseph Nyamungo and Charles Okoko, who hail from a village up country called Owiny Sigoma. The workshop/rehearsals were a lot of fun and pretty fruitful so they set about finding a studio that could accomodate a 7-piece live band. The resulting four tracks made their way to Gilles Peterson who promptly signed the band to his Brownswood imprint and sent the boys back to Nairobi for another week-long recording session with Joseph, Charles and their extended musical family.
The traditional folkloric music of Kenya has not received the same global exposure as that of Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa or North Africa for example and one of the objectives of this project was to try and build on this. The band draw on a broad spectrum of African influences, from Fela Kuti and Tony Allen to the likes of Thomas Mapfumo and Oumou Sangare, but bar Jesseâ€™s participation with Damon Albarnâ€™s Africa Express, this was the first opportunity for Jesse Hackett (keys), Louis Hackett (bass), Sam Lewis (guitar), Chris Morphitis (bouzouki/guitar) and Tom Skinner (drums) to visit specifically for a musical project.
The results are documented on the bandâ€™s forthcoming album â€“ a collection of gloriously hypnotic Afro grooves symbolic of the true culture clash between the Luo and London.