Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Owiny Sigoma Band

  • Owiny Sigoma Band [Brownwood, 2011] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Owiny Sigoma Band [Brownwood, 2011]
The attraction is a Luo elder named Joseph Nyamungu, who plays a droning, mbira-sounding eight-stringed lyre called the nyatiti and sings with built-in momentum and gruff command. His five tracks are all exciting in different ways, solo showcase included. The other five falter in direct correlation to how prominently they feature the white Londoners who brought Nyamungu and the rest of their Kenyan bandmates into the great world, with the all-Londoner instrumental "Nabed Nade El Piny Ka--Rework (How Will I Love in This World)" the nadir (and the Kenyan version of the same song on the somewhat ramshackle Sofrito: International Soundclash comp vastly superior). Kenyan beats carry two English-language songs in which one Londoner reflects on some aspect of modernity I can't make out and another expresses his all-too-patient love. Guest patron Damon Albarn's Farfisa wilds out on the Kenyan-dominated "Odera Lwar" before his Omnichord further dulls "Margaret Okudo--Dub." I know, this is all too schematic. Unfortunately, it's true. Also true: you'll love that nyatiti. B+