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Soulful Benga artist Udulele  shares his long-awaited EP ‘Ololokwe’

Soulful Benga artist Udulele  shares his long-awaited EP ‘Ololokwe’

The sterling record features three songs namely “Ololokwe”, “Koth Chwe” and the already-released single, “Anyango”. The EP is a stark revelation why Udulele is one of Kenya’s most authentic performers in the robust Kenyan music industry. 

The former Abaki Simba member, Udulele taps into themes including indigenous sounds, nature, people, and cultural narratives. They are woven into the EP to evoke a deeper connection and sense of oneness with our world. 

The EP also follows Udulele’s solo debut album, Soulful Benga Vol. 1.   

“Ololokwe is a project that explores the intersection of indigenous sounds, nature, people, cultural stories, and science. The album seeks to create a healing, peaceful, and harmonious existence for all people. It imparts wisdom intended to uplift spirits and assist them in letting go of the old and evolving to become one with the world”.

The EP features a variety of Kenyan sounds & rhythms, including drums, shakers, benga guitar picking, and vocals. These musical elements are interwoven with natural organic sounds, such as the wind, rain, and animals. The EP also features spoken word pieces that share indigenous cultural stories and wisdom.

‘Ololokwe’ is a call to let go of the old ways of thinking and being, and to embrace a new way of life that is in harmony with nature and with each other. 

“The EP is named Ololokwe because it draws inspiration from a profound dream I had. In the dream, I was at the top of a hill playing the guitar when I was joined by Samburu, and we started singing together. Later, I searched for the hill in my dream and found Mt. Ololokwe in Samburu. The significance of the name lies in the profound connection I felt during that dream – connection with nature, with people and the healing that came with that connection.

The name “Ololokwe,” therefore, speaks to connection and healing, which both resonate throughout all songs in the EP”

Opting for a different creative direction, ‘OLOLOKWE’ in stark contrast to ‘Soulful Benga Vol 1’, which consisted of lively dance and party songs, Ololokwe portrays a distinct shift in style and tone, with the project focus hinging on spirituality, connection to nature and healing.

Nature is a recurring motif throughout the EP, as evidenced by “Koth Chwe,” which is a retelling of an East African folktale. According to the story, when it is raining and shining at the same time, a leopard is giving birth next to a river. The song serves as a reminder of our precious wildlife and the awe-inspiring existence of leopards. This reminder is also echoed by the song “Ololokwe,” named after the hill in Samburu, known for its elephant population. It serves as a symbol of our native species and the urgency and importance of preserving them.

The incorporation of nature sounds and storytelling throughout the project serves to reconnect people with their spiritual, ancestral and natural selves.

““Ololokwe” is particularly special because it’s based on a powerful dream in which I deeply connected to people through music. I also really like the arrangement and composition of the song.

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“Anyango” is an especially vulnerable song, borne out of my life experience. It’s a moment in which I look back with clarity, and seek forgiveness from a former partner when I felt unworthy to be loved, which is a challenge many men face.  It’s time to break the myth that as men we must be successful to deserve love.”

Lastly, “Koth Chwe” has continually captivated me due to its universality. In my travels throughout East Africa, I’ve found that the folktale is part of the collective memory of people from numerous tribes. The song is a reminder of our interconnectedness.”

The EP is intended to be a source of healing and transformation; a moment that provides introspection and connection for listeners. I would like listeners to take from it whatever they individually require – whether it’s a sense of reconnection, awakening, forgiveness, healing or peace.

“Anyango” is playlisted by Spotify on Chill Kenyan Music, New Music Friday Ghana, New Music Friday Naija and New Music Friday Kenya. 

Udulele recently performed the EP live at his Raw And Live concert at Kuona Arts Center this past Saturday, 21/10/23 featuring rapid live acts from Kenya and Tanzania including Liboi and Salum Matata, and DJ Brolic. 

Listen to Udelele’s Ololokwe EP

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