Blog April 16, 2015
Afropop Exclusive! West Bridge Band Record Store Day Remix
Whether you think Record Store Day is a great way to celebrate the community and experience of the neighborhood music shop, or if you think it's a pseudo-holiday that hollowly celebrates a way of retail, at the very least it's an occasion that puts more music in the world, and that's something we can all rally around. This Saturday, the Washington DC-based record label Electric Cowbell is releasing “Kibera Esbera,” the first full-length album from Kenya's West Bridge Band. To entice you even further, the label sent us along this remix of the track “Papa,” by the French-Chilean DJ and producer Aillcara 2743. Although they make money playing for safari tourists swinging through Nairobi, the West Bridge Band doesn't stick with tradition. Bandleader Wamalwa Lusweti plays the litungu, a nine-string instrument that he invented, while the rest of the band ably copy the ethnic styles of Kenya's many tribes. The album was recorded in the tiny home where West Bridge's leader Lusweti and his family live, on the edge of Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa. According to the label's press release, the band could only record by patching in electricity that they siphoned from the city grid. Recorded under these less than ideal circumstances, the tracks sound excellent—spacious, playful, and clear. It's a limited release, just 475 copies, so if these tracks grab you, you know where to go and when.