Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rapid Gratitude: Extra Golden

Nairobi National Park
Extra Golden is a band of Kenyan and American musicians that combines good old guitar driven rock ‘n roll and Nairobi’s famous benga music. I love the name of this album and its cover art which together create the impression of being a cheaply produced pirate cassette of the variety that is found in any bazar, souk or market in any city in the developing world. Thank you Very Quickly (vol 3) a title that stumbles off the tongue is matched with a weird gaudy sunset snapshot. Basic graphics swirl boldly across the scene.

The origins of the band are in Nairobi in 2004 when an American PhD student, and a couple American and Kenyan friends, lay down some rhythms using pencils, drum tracks and a concrete slab. They like what they hear but don’t do much with it except keep it on their computer. A year later their Kenya friend dies of liver cancer. The two Americans (Ian and Alex) recruit Onyago Wuod Omari (a drummer in Orchestra Extra Solar Africa) and Opiyo Bilongo, an established Benga musician, to the cause and Extra Golden  is born.

They are an instant hit and tour extensively across the USA and in Africa.

Thank You Very Quickly (vol 3) is their latest.  I’ve included an extra  Extra Golden delight in the form of their tribute to Obama taken from a live radio show in the USA.  The mix of good old American rock guitar playing (at times sounding almost as if Duane Allman has risen from the Georgia clay) and the nimble dancing benga style is intoxicating.

         Track Listing:
1.     Gimakiny Akia
2.     Fantasies of the Orient
3.     Piny Yore Yore
4.     Anyango
5.     Ukimwi
6.     Thank You Very Quickly
7.     Obama (live)
Listen here.

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