CD is a welcome rest form the now mainstream local hip-hop craze. I tend
to find his music a deliberate ‘soothy’ Kenyan alternative.
When I say Kenyan I mean there are things we can identify with either
in content or language of the songs on this CD. Where there is Dholuo
and you cannot understand at least you are still engaged by percussions
or rhythm - a dance is almost a default in most African tunes.
Drums and Percussions feature predominantly though he tends not to discriminate
booms, djembes, shakers, cow bells, chivoti are used for various tunes
and effects. The power of the saxophone is heard in the last tune koroboi.
Acoustic, Electric and Bass guitars not forgetting the everlasting keyboard
can be heard characteristically in various tunes. The CD is rich in instruments
not just jumbled together but also deliberately and creatively used.
Koroboi the first song is a good opener and as the name suggests it sheds
light to the Abbi’s subsequent
songs. He includes meanings of the song titles on the CD folio so that
one can be in spirit of the music. Jum ju Mane and Dak are overlaid with
exemplary Luo style. Salaam Aleikum is an anthem of peace slotted in as
the fulcrum of the songs. You can dance to most songs but my favourite
dance tune was Nzerere, which Abbi explains as an abstract piece of instincts.
And like most people would do, a song for Mama features amidst a whispery
intro and welcome flute sound, it is in this song that Luhya and French
are used. Apart from these languages, Luo and English, Hebrew and Arabic
are the other tongues used in the whole CD. Reggae for some reason could
not escape Abbi in Wololo. If you remember the Lala mtoto lala tune it
will send you back to those formative years only that in this song Its
You Abbi sings for his Love.
are the dudes you hear resonating their altos and bass voices oh yes!
And even sopranos too in the vocals, they are in some way a signature
to this CD. Apart from the excellent production and even design of the
CD sleeve the only misgiving that I found or did not find is “ Hey
Abbi where are your contacts on the CD? Even your Executive Producer Blue
Zebra, a good piece but we cannot write to you to say so”. Abbi’s
CD in simple is peace and fun.
Abura - Spirit of a Warrior
Abura is mentioned and the first thing you think of is music. Her CD Spirit
of a Warrior address several tensions and tends to be a commentary of
life especially themes like love, patience, destiny -she dedicates
it to African brothers and sisters so it is actually intended to stir
afro centric spirit of togetherness. It is about people yearning for each
other or going through various human experiences we could say it is CD
that has an emphasis on ‘belonging’.
strength of artistry is Abura’s voice songbird would be a palatable
tag for her to wear. She seems to be looking for some real rooted African
style and she does so by fusion of various notable genres we have heard
in the continent. You are reminded in Oyiengo na Yo and Piny Olokore both
in Luo this slow West African samba beat. She is strong on piano and bass
guitar then puts in the balance of percussions but there is no doubt the
strumming of the Acoustic gets the better out of the CD especially in
Toto Wangu, Wimbo Wangu not forgetting Ntangu especially when it begins.
Languages used are five English, Swahili, Luo, Lingala and French. She
has used Language as a medium of negotiation and belonging for instance
her dedication Nitangu to Mpongo Love the Congo Brazaville songbird in
a style reminiscent of Lwambo Lwanzo the Maestro. Mpongo seems to have
been Abura’s inspiration but that’s just a subjective deduction
- the statement read here is the affirmation of femininity and African
Basically the mood of the CD is melancholic it brings in the emotive sense
of nostalgia and meditation and achieves a balanced picture of the amplitude
of life - up and down.
The two French tunes Narchand de Bonne Humeur and Quand Les Hommes Virvont
D’amour have a characteristic style by Chansons Pour Les Pieds album
especially the small dry drumbeat. Narchand … especially is fun
to listen to, it really captures the humour it sings about but is also
‘chanty’ sort of creating a francophone nirvana.
though Ovuyanzi song number ten has everything going for it the tune,
and beat but all these are swallowed up by bad Luhya diction and lame
mastery of the intonations and pronunciation a great song fell here.
A great and promising CD especially its thematic expressions and the marriage
of people, their experiences to an Afro fused contemporary setting. The
warrior here is not about killing and bloodshed but celebration of attributes
of existence in a people, which makes life a simple metaphor of war.