Here come a fiew scenes from the session with Dodo player and singer Ogoya Nengo. It was a fun day with a lot of interesting and nice happenings such as praying, talking, eating and dancing with the people from Ogoya’s village . It ended up with a big party featuring Ogoya’s husband in a traditional dress…
If you watch the video of the recording session we did on march 12th in Rongo Village you won´t be surprised that our working title of this session is called “the crazy man recordings”….
It was our last session at the Nyanza region. A few days later we went to the east coast of Kenya.
During the last days I tried to notate some of the melodies, the musicians in Rongo Village were singing. I played these melodies on a very high xylophone to create a kind of a funny fugue based on the melodies we have recorded. For the pretty ironic beat I played some straight figures with brushes on different sheets of papers and again I used my wooden bassdrum. Rongo Man
If you arrive at Nairobi it always takes some time to feel comfortable. After taking a cab at the airport you usually stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam.
2 hours and 10 miles later a crowd of honking cars is waiting for you at Tom Mboya street.
Especially if you come from Kisumu – this very relaxed city of the Nyanza region- it ´s a big changeover to leave the airplane and to throw oneself into the fray of Nairobi.
The following musical extract gives you an impression about this atmosphere.
For the music I used two small traditional drums, I played with a side-stick, a small kenyan shaker, an old kalimba which I bought at Kariokor market and a Marimba. Nairobi
March 11th was one of the most exciting days during our stay. In one day we met with Ogoya Nengo, Joseph Oganga, Owino Koyo and last but not least Okumo Korengo.
We came upon Korengo at Aluny Village, a very small dorp close to the village of Oganga.
Both Oganga and Korengo are fantastic Nyatiti players. At a first glance their way of playing sounds pretty the same but the longer you listen to their music the more you realize how different they play.
Korengo plays the Nyatiti much smoother than Oganga and his singing is much more relaxed and more laid back. I couldn´t say which style I prefer. May be you do.
On top of the recordings we did at Aluny Village, I played some brushgrooves on different sheets of paper and some heavy bass-like marimba ostinatos. I also recorded some string-like sounds at my piano using different ribbons and horsehair. Okumu Korengo
Four days before we went back to Germany I met with Olith Ratego. Olith is part of the younger nairobian music scene that still has a strong relation to its cultural roots. Nevertheless musicians like Olith or Makadem try to find their own style and their own voice based on their musical roots.
For example Olith is strongly influenced by the traditional Dodo singers of his region. He is also a very good friend of Ogoya Nengo who lives very close to the village where Olith grew up.
Oilth and me recorded three very nice songs.
This week I began to work on a very simple and very short song that sounds a little bit like an african chlidren´s song. Olith Children´s Song
A new video snippet of our visit at Joseph Oganga’s garden, where he played Nyatiti, an instrument which reminds of a guitar. A few days ago Sven posted a new adaption (see below) of the Nyatiti Player singing on top of his own performance. It was a very cool expirience for us, especially when we noticed that Joseph accentuates his play with sounds and facial expressions that are so different from the gestures of the western singers and musicians. Take a look by yourself:
During the last days I worked out a track-idea based on the recordings we did on march 11th in the small village of the female singer Ogoya Nengo.
After an incredible welcome-ceremony, Ogoya asked us to enter her home. In a split second the atmosphere changed totally. The music stopped and everybody inside of the room began to pray. Solely all the cows, sheep and cocks outside didn´t change at all….
Fortunately my small recording machine was switched on during the prayer. Of course I asked somebody after the ceremony if I could use this recording one day and he said yes. Ogoya Nengo
On Thursday I began to work on the Ohangla Recordings. The introduction that you listen to is based on an atmosphere that I recorded in front of Jack Nyandundo´s house. It features an old gackling turkey, (0:12, 0:16, 0:22)
The introduction beat is played on stones. Of course it is recorded at my home place but I think it comes out of the atmosphere pretty directly and homogeneously. Ohangla Introduction
The days before, I primarily sifted all of the kenyan recording material. It s very hard to decide which recordings I won´t use for the album. Except for the occasional ones they are absolutely unique. Because of our experiences that we of course connect to the recordings it is difficult not to use anything.
The day before I recorded the old man, we met with the traditional nyatiti player Joseph Oganga. Usually Oganga is singing while he accompanies himself by playing nyatiti.
Whenever I asked him either to sing or to play nyatiti he was a bit irritated. Playing Nyatiti without singing he couldn´t avoid to whistle in between or to create weird sounds with his mouth. And whenever I asked him to sing the song a cappella his hands coudtn´t stand still. Instead of playing nyatiti his hands flourished most of the time.
Three days ago I recorded some beats and atmospheres on top of the recordings we did in Oganga´s village. First and foremost I used my kalimba and played some simple beats with my fingers on the back of the instrument. Hitting the instrument the metal tongues of the kalimba begin to ring which always creates a nice chord in a minor. I also recorded some simple marimba lines. Example No.2
10 days ago Sven began to work on the kenyan album. From today he will post some audio examples once a week. Hopefully these extracts give you an impression about the album process. Of course the mp3s are not perfectly worked up yet. They don´t represent any finished tracks.
Session No. 1:
First I began to work on the material we recorded on march 11th in a small village close to the Lake Victoria. An old man who is a singer and a percussionist played some of his favourite songs at one of these small huts with a corrugated iron roof.
On top of the drum groove he played for us, I recorded a straight offbeat brush pattern on a snare drumhead and two figures on my wooden bass drum. Example No.1
I am not so sure yet about the marimba rolls in the second verse. Also the vibes at the end of the mp3 is may be a little bit to cheesy but I think the groove works pretty well.
Here is the video Agnieszka made of this unique encounter: