Thursday, August 23, 2007

Extra Golden - Hera Ma Nono, and a song for Obama

Hera Ma Nono, the title of Extra Golden's latest is Luo for "love in vain." It's a theme that reverberates throughout the album and will surely resonate with anyone hearing these songs. But in true benga style, Extra Golden's music always celebrates life and vitality, even when its subject is struggle and loss.

"Obama" is Extra Golden's song of praise for the Senator from Illinois and everyone else who helped them unite in the US last fall for a debut tour and the recording of this album, the follow up to their debut, Ok-Oyot System. Such songs of praise are benga tradition.

"Ok-Oyot System" loosely translated as "It's Not Easy", and that was definitely the case when Extra Golden's Kenyan members sought visas to enter the US last fall. It was largely thanks to help from Obama and his office that Opiyo Bilongo and Onyango Wuod Omari were able at the very last minute to get their visas and make their first trip outside of east Africa.

"Extra Golden's disquieting yet danceable Afropop makes you feel simultaneously out of your skin and right at home." - Richard Gehr

More information about Extra Golden and Hera Ma Nono is here

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