|3. Wa Winjigo Ero|
|4. Thum Nyatiti|
|10. En Mana Kuoyo|
I received this disc as a present from a friend who knew of my longstanding interest in African music. Ordinarily I'm ambivalent about getting a "gift of music", as I feel some sense of obligation to like it, out of respect for the giver; this rather silly psychology often tends to make me a little paranoid on first listenings. I am happy to report that one minute into the first tune, I knew nothing but the music.
For me, the strongest tunes are those in which Ogada's harp and voice are unaccompanied. There are instrumental tunes in which he shines as well, but too many instruments and voices into the mix sometimes seem to obscure his power. Only one song is recorded with the standard western instruments (piano, guitar) accompanying. While it manages to retain Ogada's fine-tuned sense of restraint and understatement, and generally steers clear of Hollywood schmaltz, at times it seems to want to take the next exit to Disneyland. This isn't so much a complaint as a personal preference (well, OK, it's a bit of a complaint). Ogada can obviously play anything he likes, with an authenticity that is all too uncommon. I've no doubt we'll hear more from him and I look forward to it. However, I do hope he steers clear of those producers with dollar-signs in their eyes and "crossover" or "film score" in their minds. Such producers tend to obscure rather than reveal; to downplay talent to the market's level rather than risk the bold musical statements of which Ogada is clearly capable.
At any rate, that's only one song. The songs that bring Ogada's harp and voice to the forefront are worth the price of admission, many times over. He possesses such clarity of musical vision, and such masterful delivery. I would like everyone to hear this disc.
This music will last forever... But just to be on the safe side, add it to your collection.