Popped down to Dalston’s Cafe Oto last Monday for the Brownswood session for Owiny Sigoma. The Sold Out session, spilled out onto the pavement and it was clear that Gilles Peterson’s backing and enthusiasm for the project has ensured a predominently young crowd that was well attuned to what was about to take place. A short warm up set imbued with shades of Terry Callier and featuring a nice tribute to Bill Withers from singer songwriter, Michael Kiwanuka was rapturously received. By the time Owiny Sigoma took to the floor Cafe Oto was as steamy as Nairobi dancehall on a Friday night. Fresh from playing Paris and three other gigs, the band was cooking. The loose limbed, hypnotic rhythms took a hold and the rapport between the two Kenyan master musicians and their young London brethren was most compelling. The Owiny Sigoma band set conjured up memories of the classic B&W South Africa sessions (Airto, Madala Kunene, Pops Mohammed, Mabi Thobejane etc) which were similarly workshoped and built on jams. However, on this night Jesse Hackett’s keyboards lifted the ancient into the future bubbling within the trance inducing sound of the nyatiti and Tom Skinner’s trap drums meshed with the traditional drums. We even got a touch of slide (lager bottle!) guitar and a hirsute Damon Albarn rocking a little Moog. As the set culminated Cafe Oto was bouncing. It was an excellent taster for the album (and the vinyl!).
Check their next London shows in July:
Tuesday, 12 July – Blaze Festival, The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS, UK Freestage performance ahead of Congotronics versus Rockers show http://www.barbican.org.uk/blaze/
Saturday, 16 July – Shoreditch Festival, London N1, UK http://www.shoreditchfestival.org.uk/