After all those lovely bytes we offered you throughout the year, here is the full collection of songs in JOPANGO the album… In this body of work Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno shares what gave him inspiration during the time he spent on the road with his nyatiti, an eight string lyre from the shores of Nam Lolwe (Lake Victoria), touring at home and abroad as a performing artist and visiting different Kenyan villages for his research. During his travels he was enthralled by the story of Benga music, which finds its roots in Nyatiti music, central to Rapasa’s art. Benga music which takes its roots in Nyatiti music and emerged in the 1950’s forms the soundtrack of his life. JOPANGO is a collection of pieces inspired by the journey Rapasa took when delving more into Kenya’s Benga heritage and by his reflection around bringing different generations, social classes and communities. JOPANGO is a reverence to the Benga pioneers and curators who he felt connected with as he was writing this work while on the road. He composed most pieces in this work very differently than expected for a nyatiti player. It would seem that with this album we are taken full circle, Nyatiti music inspiring Benga music which in turns inspires Nyatiti music.
Highlighted track: O NELLY BENGA
It is a reverence to the Benga community, curators and pioneers who shaped the genre. Without them we would not be able to enjoy such a genre.
Piny Ngero out on 17th November
A sonically-diverse collection of music connected to African art music traditions, incorporating diverse practices, including electronic music, field recordings, traditional African instruments, and African Classical music.
It brings together work by Rebeca Omordia and Gabriel Prokofiev, EMÆNUEL, Kamilla Arku and Dameun Maurice Strange, Tunde Jegede and Ibukun Sunday, and Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno.
This is the sixth edition of Nonclassical’s annual compilation, a series described by The Wire as “a useful sampler of adventurous work by emerging artists.”
'Ufie, Igbo Dance' by Rebeca Omordia ft Gabriel Prokofiev out Friday 20 October 2023
'Severed Dreads' by EMÆNUEL out Friday 3 November 2023
released November 17, 2023
‘Ufie, Igbo Dance (sound-collage rework)’ by Rebeca Omordia (ft. Gabriel Prokofiev) – originally composed by Christian Onyeji, Field recordings by Silas Eziehi
‘Reflections & Refractions’ by Tunde Jegede and Ibukun Sunday
‘Severed Dreads’ by EMÆNUEL
‘Piny Ngero’ by Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno
‘Sefa’ by Kamilla Arku and Dameun Strange
Mastering by Adaq Khan
Artwork by Matt Appleton at Modern Activity
Outside the Lines, Vol. 6 is supported by the Hinrichsen Foundation and PRS Foundation's Talent Development Network supported by PPL.
Unite out on 2nd August
Together we are stronger. This summer we are in for a bright song called Unite from Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno. Unite will be released on the 2nd of August 2023 on digital platforms including Bandcamp, Spotify and iTune. The song is a call for African nations to be one and unite. It follows on nicely from the difficult topics raised with the mellow song Ukalo Matek. Unite came about in a traditional way by Rapasa opening up conversation with his audience and having them participate in the song, with them being able to comment on issues affecting them. The song developed in stages as it inspired a number of showcases locally in Kenya. It also had a special live recording performance organised by radio Jolly Papa before making its way to the album JOPANGO which will be released later this year.
“Unite has a meditative groove that’s enough to get lost in, and Otieno’s message of collectivism and joy transcends language barriers. It’s a trip, and a very enjoyable one at that.”
Narc Magazine, Ben Lowes-Smith - August 2023
Ukalo Matek single is OUT on 26 April 2023
This spring we are giving some nice treatment to your ears. Early on Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno was curious about testing the limitations of his principal instrument the nyatiti and drawing from his traditional background. Is this eight string lyre from Western Kenya limited to one particular audience? What are its possibilities? Ukalo Matek saw its birth around 2016 and was performed in 2017 to a live audience for the first time during Masters of Nyatiti production by Singingwells. After 6 years we are happy to announce the release of a new digital version of this work ahead of the collection of songs in the album Jopango at the end of the year.
Ukalo Matek has a mellow rhythm which creates space in one's mind to ponder on some serious issues we are all so familiar with. Imagine having a discussion with Rapasa as you sat at the table with him where the soft plucking of the lyre is likened to the emergence of soft masters. Don’t you think that this gap between rich and poor seems to never end! Who do you think are the soft masters?
Some of what music influencers have said about his previous release:
“I was lucky with the music this week in terms of me seeking to play more clearly African inspired and rooted music"
Debbie Golt (Resonance FM) - Nov 2022
“He’s based in the UK and his East African sound is centered on the double-necked string instrument called a nyatiti and propelled by a backdrop suggestive of soukous but more acoustic-tinged. Think of it as a perfect meeting of rawness and sophistication. The song is danceable as well as seasonal, touching upon the difficulties faced by city dwellers at Christmas time.”
Tom Orr AKA Orrator (World Music Central) - Jan 2023
JOPANGO single is OUT
As we approach the Festive season, here is a treat from Rapasa Nyatrapasa Otieno with his new single JOPANGO out on the 30th of November 2022.
Rapasa's sound is anchored in traditional East African music and storytelling. JOPANGO is a teaser from the Album bearing the same name which is inspired by the Benga genre from his childhood and which will be released at the end of 2023. In this Christmas piece, he tells the story of JOPANGO. Christmas is a wonderful time. Yet, for Jopango, it is not always the easiest time. Who is Jopango? In Dholuo language, the word jopango is derived from pango. It means one who lives in the city. The song highlights the difficulties that city dwellers are facing when running projects in the village remotely. The prices always seem to go up just because you are a Japango. Going home “dala”can also be challenging as expectation runs high, it can be especially daunting ahead of the Christmas season. This difficult scene is balanced by the rich, light and joyful melody.
“I was lucky with the music this week in terms of me seeking to play more clearly African inspired and rooted music”
Debbie Golt Resonance FM - Nov 2022