Releasedate: 24 May 2024

EAN: 4251959803068
Kat-Nr: HBL-023074

Label & Vertrieb:
Hey!blau Records
(LC 22792)

Genre: Pop, World, Kenia
Spieldauer: 47:24


NuzzCom Music
Lucia Zimara
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Allox UG Entertainment
Norbert Nettekoven
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+49 171 – 6436 688

Christian Spors
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+49 151 – 5398 3467

Hey!blau Records
Jonas Holland-Moritz
+49 221 – 57080195
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Die Verwendung ist nur unter Verwendung der Credits (Foto: Norbert Nettekoven) erlaubt.

Pressinfo EN

The singer from Kenya tours with a new album

Nina Ogot is set to launch her fourth album with a series of live performances to audiences in Europe.
The new release Ukumbu.KE is a compact nine-track album with a fresh appeal. It is proof, once again, of Ogot‘s thoughts and feelings as a live performer: not one to create an artificial product designed on a producer’s desk, but rather one that echoes live compositions from music speakers, recorded by her full band. Sparkling guitars, easily grooving percussions and melodic-jolly horns complement one another perfectly with the competently recited verses of the Kenyan whose unique vocal timbre shows a brilliant advantage.

Ukumbu.KE tells of the singer’s old and recent memories, personalised cultural moments: Nearly forgotten traditional music and tales, memorable movies, legendary TV maestros, all kinds of images from her childhood and parts of her adulthood come back to life in her songs – and on the CD cover, Nina Ogot presents herself humorously as a cartoon character travelling back into her past. Winkingly, the songstress inserts a rearranged version of one of her favourite pieces on this new album‘s playlist. A song originating from her debut release back in 2008 which now attests to her impressive musical evolution. This melodic chant Chokoraa addressing the plight of the street people has grown from laid-back guitar acoustics to a dramatic call-to-action musical performance by her eight-piece band.

On Ukumbu.KE, Ogot shows how memories shape even the modern Kenyan society. She reinforces the cultural root while making references to traditional music: Taarab and Bango melodies from Kenya’s coast, percussive Isukuti of the Luhya and the spiritual Dodo rythms of the Luo people. The album title contains a word game, transferring ukumbu (memories in Swahili) into a modern context using the form ukumbuke (let us remember), but spelled “.KE” like a Kenyan website domain. Though Nina Ogot remains true to singing exclusively in the national language Swahili as well as in her own mothertongue which is Dholuo.

Still, the album theme does not mean that this music would be stuck in a nostalgic past. While memories tend to work like a binary image that turns the former reality into a static black and white scene, this sound revives its roots to create a colourful and very present experience, like what these memories have been in their present age. The new songs twinkle, Ogot’s endowed rhythm group drives the groove effortlessly, horns and guitars unfold wonderful hooklines; but most of all, once again, the singer herself captivates through her very own briskness, aplomb and sensuousness.

While Nina Ogot, the cosmopolitan, worked with mostly European musicians on her previous release dubbed “Dala”, her decision to record this fourth album Ukumbu.KE in her hometown Nairobi in order to capture the authentic Kenyan vibe is a sound one. Her horn section, arranged and recorded in Germany, is the disctinct international note on this record. The singer, who is also the composer of all the songs, has chosen a less experimental and more resolute style of arrangements, compared to the previous albums.

The CD release is scheduled for May 2024 on Hey!Blau Records. Nina Ogot will present her new programme on a live tour in July 2024 in Europe.

Artist Bio

Nina Ogot

Nina Ogot is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Born and bred in the capital city of Nairobi, her compositions are a reflection of her Luo origins and that of a few other Kenyan tribes. The songstress infuses Western influences into her songs to create a new melodic contemporary sound that represents the current traditionally diverse yet cosmopolitan Kenya. The musician makes an important contribution in preserving this evolving dynamic Kenyan culture by keeping it lively and relevant through her music.

The songbird jump-started her career with her soulful acoustic album “Ninairobi” in 2008, followed by two single releases of the Afro-pop remixes to her songs “Wololo” and “Aheri” two years later. In 2014, a collaborative album dubbed “Yote Yote” was released with Kenyan contemporary Benga musician, Winyo. Thanks to this record, her fans have embraced her as a versatile musician who has the rare agility and skill to incorporate both tradition and modernity into her musical expression.

For more than a decade, the vocalist and guitarist performed in a trio band set up until 2018 when a 13 piece band lineup was formed for an event in Cologne-Germany dubbed “Jambo Day” by the Treasures of Kenya Initiative. This is a nonprofit trust based in Kenya and Germany dedicated to the conservation of Kenya’s natural and cultural heritage. Together, the team recorded Nina Ogot’s third album “Dala” (“home”) in 2019, followed by a series of performances in both countries.

Since then, the singer has frequently returned to Europe on several extended musical tours. She still works with international band members but mostly travels with local musicians to promote the original Kenyan sound.

In 2023 Nina Ogot started a series of new single releases that will culminate in the launch of her fourth album “Ukumbu.KE” in May 2024. On this record the singer, songwriter and composer takes her audience on a journey through memory lane of her country Kenya. The Kiswahili root word – Ukumbu (memories) – and the word – Ukumbuke (let us remember) – brings us into the “Dot KE” society, which is a reference to modern-day Kenya.

The album is the next step on Nina Ogot’s mission to put her diverse traditional Kenyan culture on national and international stages in a modern way. With Kiswahili and her mothertongue Dholuo, she uses Kenyan languages; for sounds and rhythmics she borrows from communities in the Coastal and the Western regions of Kenya, like percussive sounds of the Isukuti, melodic patterns from Bango and Taarab music, or spiritual Luo gospel. Like in her festival band Nina Ogot infuses an international element by using her vibrant horn section from Germany on the record.

Whether or not you understand a word in her songs, her warm expressive voice transports you into an exotic world far beyond the restrictive borders of language. Her soulful sound, unforgettable melodies and delightful rhythms usher you into a foreign universe that promptly begins to feel comfortable and familiar. As a composer, she succeeds in translating her experiences into notes and lyrics that speak to listeners in many parts of the world.

The Kalasha 2011 Award winner for Best Original Score has braced numerous international stages including renowned festivals such as International Africa Festival in Würzburg-Germany, Chiala Festival in Graz-Austria, Afro-Asia Festival in Kerala-India, The Bayimba Festival in Kampala-Uganda, The Moshito Festival in Johannesburg-South Africa and many more. She joined the OneBeat musical and cultural exchange program in the U.S.A. where she utilized the American platform to advocate for the plight of Kenyan street people. Her efforts – together with the Kuruka Maisha Foundation – were awarded with the prestigious American National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards-NASAA, a project initiated by former America’s First Lady Michelle Obama.

Alongside her musical career, Nina Ogot is known nationally as an actress and the former presenter of one of Kenya’s most popular television shows. She is also a former radio host of a cultural show aired on Radio France International-RFI.


Pressetext DE

Nina Ogot
Die Sängerin aus Kenia tourt 2024 mit neuem Album

Nina Ogot bringt ihr viertes Album heraus und stellt ihre neue Musik in Kenia und in Deutschland live dem Publikum vor.

Die Neuerscheinung Ukumbu.KE ist ein kompaktes und frisch daherkommendes Neun-Track-Album. Es beweist erneut, wie sehr Ogot als Live-Performerin denkt und fühlt: Kein am Produzententisch designtes Kunstprodukt, sondern ein nah am Live-Sound von ihrer Band eingespieltes Werk tönt aus den Lautsprechern. Perlende Gitarren, lässig groovende Percussions und melodisch-fröhliche Bläser ergänzen sich wunderbar mit den souverän vorgetragenen Strophen der Kenianerin, deren einmalige Stimmfarbe wunderbar zur Geltung kommt.

Ukumbu.KE handelt von Erinnerungen, kulturellen wie persönlichen: vergessene traditionelle Songs, alte Filme, legendäre TV-Persönlichkeiten, Bilder aus ihrer Kindheit leben in den Liedern wieder auf – und Ogot präsentiert sich in der CD-Hülle humorvoll als Comic-Heldin einer vergangenen Zeit. Augenzwinkernd bringt die Sängerin als ganz eigene Erinnerung noch eine Neuvertonung von ihrer ersten CD ins Programm, die ihre musikalische Entwicklung seit dem Debut 2008 beeindruckend festhält. Ihre anklagende Hymne Chokoraa, die das Schicksal der Straßenkinder thematisiert, ist nun dramatisch-drängend von ihrer achtköpfigen Band in Szene gesetzt.

Auf Ukumbu.KE zeigt Nina Ogot, wie Erinnerungen auch die moderne kenianische Gesellschaft prägen. Zugleich stärkt sie die kulturelle Wurzel, indem sie traditionelle Musik zitiert: Taarab-Melodik aus dem Osten Kenias, Bango, perkussiven Isukuti der Luhya oder den spirituellen Dodo der Luo. So ist denn auch der Albumtitel ein Wortspiel, das die Erinnerungen (Suaheli “ukumbu”) in der Form “ukumbuke” (lasst uns erinnern) durch die Schreibweise “.KE”, die Domain-Endung Kenias, ins Hier und Heute übersetzt. Nina Ogot bleibt dabei ihrer Linie treu und singt ausschließlich in der Landessprache Suaheli sowie in ihrer Muttersprache Dholuo.

Die Thematik bedeutet indes nicht, dass die Musik nun verträumt-nostalgisch daherkäme, gerade so wenig, wie die echte Szene eines Schwarz-Weiß-Bildes farblos ist. Die neuen Songs sprühen vor Energie, Ogots bestens aufgelegte Rhythmusgruppe um Bassist Mike Munene treibt den Groove scheinbar mühelos und unwiderstehlich voran, Bläser und Gitarren entfalten wunderbare Melodien. Vor allem überzeugt aber die Sängerin selbst mit der ihr eigenen Frische, Souveränität und Sinnlichkeit.

Hatte sie auf “Dala”, ihrer letzten Veröffentlichung, mit etlichen europäischen Musikern zusammengearbeitet, nahm die Kosmopolitin Ogot ihr viertes Album Ukumbu.KE nun wieder in Nairobi auf, um die kenianische Note authentisch einzufangen. Lediglich ihren Bläsersatz ließ sie erneut in Europa arrangieren und aufnehmen, was sich in einer ausgefeilten Satztechnik niederschlägt. Überhaupt leben die neuen Songs nicht nur davon, in den Grooves zu schwelgen, sondern auch von den straffen, gelungenen Arrangements der Singer-Songwriterin, die ihre Stücke ebenfalls selbst komponiert.

Die CD erscheint Ende Juli 2024 auf Hey!Blau Records. Nina Ogot präsentiert ihr neues Programm ganzjährig, u.a. im Rahmen einer Europatournee im Juli 2024.

Albumcredits "Ukumbu.KE"

All songs written and arranged by Nina Ogot
Lyrics Nina Ogot
Lyrics co-written by Juma Tutu (Ungwana, Ningojee and Zawadi) and Sara Mitaru-Kimanthi (Chokoraa)
Horn arrangements Christian Spors
Recordings Nick Loder at AMP Studios Africa, Nairobi-Kenya
Horn section recordings Arne Neurand at Horus Sound Studio, Hannover- Germany
Mixing and mastering Tobias Thiele at
Digital artwork Kenneth Omollo
Cover design Bernard Madalanga of BoogieBenzZ Media
Producer Nina Ogot
Executive Producer Norbert Nettekoven of Allox Entertainment

Lead vocals, rhythm guitars Nina Ogot
Lead guitars Mabiza Mabele
Bass guitar Mike Munene
Drums Biron Orore
Percussions Erico Kyallo
Trumpet, flugelhorn Christian Spors
Saxophones, flute Laurenz Cedric Wenk
Trombone Jan Urnau
Background vocals Nina Ogot, Ler Achieng’ Onyango, Mike Munene