Odd Okoddo
Altin Village & Mine
Includes Instant Download
AVM 079 LP
Edition of 300 copies, incl. insert
Pre-Order: Available on / around May 24th 2024
Incl. VAT plus shipping / Orders from outside the EU are exempt from VAT
1Milly 4:02
2Negore 4:32
3Ochuya 5:19
4Odd Okoddo, Angel Bat Dawid – Timneyore 3:49
5Odd Okoddo, KMRU – Kongeya 5:33
6Nyiri Gi 3:21
7Nya George 4:44
8Osugana 4:40
9Burning Fire 4:32
10Ninuwang 3:57

»Negore« is the second album by the Kenya-based duo Odd Odokko. After their debut »Auma« saw percussionist Sven Kacirek work with pre-existing recordings of singer and instrument builder Olith Ratego, the two opted for a similar approach for the ten pieces to preserve the expressiveness of the latter’s performance. Further contributions by sound artist KMRU and Angel Bat Dawid on bass clarinet expand the duo’s sonic palette which draws on the dodo music of the Luo people and enriches it with percussive, melodic, and occasionally electronic means. The record’s title translates to »petroleum lamp,« signifying the transition from day to night—when the time has come to dance. In this decidedly joyful spirit, »Negore« is dedicated to transitions and venturing into the future. Ratego’s interpretation of the folk tradition is expressly contemporary, while Kacirek uses a rich variety of avant-garde and advanced electronic music techniques to propel it even further.

Ratego and Kacirek first met thanks to legendary music producer and Ketebul founder Tabu Osusa while Kacirek was recording his award-winning album »The Kenya Sessions,« for which he also collaborated with Ratego on the song »Too Good to Be True.« Their debut LP »Auma« received praise from a variety of outlets such as NPR, Bandcamp Daily or the German Musikexpress when it was released in 2019. Having played at Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda as well as the legendary Kilifi New Year Festival (now known as Beneath the Baobabs) to kick off an extensive tour in the first half of 2020, their plans were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preceded by their first tour since the world first came to a grinding halt in early 2020, »Negore« marks a new beginning, but remains faithful to the unconventional working process of the two and the continuously surprising results it yields.

With the exception of the track »Ochuya,« for which Kacirek wrote a sketch in advance for Ratego to work with, the entire album is based on recordings of the singer that were made in a Nairobi studio. Accompanied by the sound of his odokko, a lyre that Ratego built inspired on the Luo instrument nyatiti, his highly expressive—boundlessly anthemic in one moment, introspective and almost mournful in the other—vocal performance is subtly accentuated and complemented by Kacirek on marimba, vibraphone, prepared piano percussion, drums or even programmed rhythms. Two of the pieces, »Kongeya« and »Timneyore,« were sent to the US-American musician Dawid, partially raised in Kenya, and the Berlin-based Kenyan ambient producer and field recordist Joseph Kamaru, who added their special touch to them. As a whole, »Negore« is marked by the same welcoming, communal atmosphere that had also marked »Auma.«

Ratego’s songwriting and his inimitable performance takes the centrestage on the ten pieces. Even when Kacirek is working with programmed beats like on »Ochuya,« creates uplifting grooves such as on »Nyeri Gi« and »Nye George,« or uses playful yet circular vibraphone melodies to underpin »Osugana,« he doesn’t interfere so much with his partner’s contribution, but instead underscores and amplifies his compositions, performance, and lyrical content. The songs on »Negore« were written in Ratego’s native Luo language and deal with subjects such as love, destiny, and perseverance. It serves as an introduction to his world, faith, and life in a rural community near Lake Victoria. It’s hyper-specific and universal at the same time, much like the music that forms its foundation: You don’t need to understand Luo to grasp what it is all about.

Odd Odokko played a tour before the release of »Negore.« After their return to Uganda’s Nyege Nyege Festival in October 2023, they performed at Leipzig’s TransCentury Update in November 2023. Their performances take the original compositions and arrangements as starting points for adventurous, ever-different renditions, making each of their concerts a truly unique experience.