Nina Ogot, Dala Review
Nina Ogot is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist that was born, bred, and based in the capital city of Nairobi. Her compositions blend her Luo origins and other tribes of Kenya with Western influences. The result is a contemporary sound that represents the traditionally diverse yet cosmopolitan Kenya. Ogot jump-started her career with her album Ninairobi in 2008, followed by two single releases of the Afro-pop remixes to her songs “Wololo” and “Aheri” two years later. In 2014, a collaborative album with Kenyan contemporary Benga musician, Winyo, was released. This record titled Yote Yote showed just how much of a versatile musician she is with her agility and skill to incorporate both tradition and modernity into her musical expression. In 2018, she formed a 13 piece band lineup and recorded Nina Ogot’s third album Dala in 2019. Alongside her musical career, Ogot is known nationally as an actress and former presenter of one of Kenya’s most popular television shows. She is also a former radio host of a cultural show aired on Radio France International-RFI.Positives: A powerful blend of traditional mixed with contemporary African sounds with a Western influence. Bottom Line: Dala has a 13 piece band lineup that was formed for an event in Cologne-Germany dubbed “Jambo Day” by the Treasures of Kenya Initiative. This is a nonprofit trust based in Kenya and Germany dedicated to the conservation of Kenya’s natural and cultural heritage. The ten tracks are a diverse representation of African and Western sounds. Dala means “home” in Ogot’s mother tongue, Dholuo. The music on the album is upbeat and filled with her roots. For inspiration, Ogot looked to the older generation of Kenyan musical gurus like Daudi Kabaka and Joseph Ngala. Benga hooks, groovy percussions, classical string arrangements, catchy horns, and vocals all testify to the musical prowess of Ogot’s band. This record, therefore, promises its audience a vibrant and colorful musical palette. “Rafiki” has a beautifully swaying feel with an African riff and active bassline that leads us to Ogot’s warm and relaxed singing voice. The African-style percussion and guitar paired with strings on “Yuwapi” is a beautiful example of African and Western sounds joining to form something unique. “Tabasamu” follows suit with horns taking the place of the strings, but again the upbeat West meets Africa creates a joyful sound. The bottom line is Ogot’s singing, and vision is a testament to the magic that African and Western music create together. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Nina Ogot: Website |
Release Date: May 22, 2020