It was a flatulent evening above the seven hills of Sheffield. Cumulus clouds allowed a selection of stars to be seen, whilst miscellaneous rubbish ran rampant on the ground below. Max and Paddy arrived at their triumphant terminus, The Harley, shaking off the wind’s woes and laying their meek skin habits down next to a cheeky fire and iron bootscraper.
They were instantaneously engulfed by hypnotic synthetic synergy and a cool-ass performance from Sheffield techno duo, Saif Mode. Josh on drums provided an organic, gluten-free foundation for his sidekick’s e-numbered spread of synthesis. It were buzzing and very interesting. They completed their cacophony, allowing a space before Owiny Sigoma Band played. At this point Max and Paddy discovered a geo dome on a roof terrace next door to The Harley at a cool new place called ROCO. Check it out.
Joseph Nyamungu of Nairobi began Owiny Sigoma Band’s first song, assassinating silence with an ancient eight-stringed African instrument called a nyatiti. Hypnotically repetitive and incredibly raw, it evoked a trance-like curiosity for the rhythm on which it walked. This had much to do with Joseph’s complete craftsmanship and mastery of the lyre. His songs always involved storytelling and were very enjoyable to experience. It seemed like every song, whether sung by Jessie on keys or Joseph on nyatiti, had a story to tell.
This was a great aspect of Owiny Sigoma Band. At one point, during an upbeat tune of more electronic composure, the guys seemed to skilfully pretend that a drum machine had stopped working, then stop the song and fix it, consequently creating an atmosphere that was at least 3% better than before. Mad skills.
All in all, Owiny Sigoma were a fantastic band to dance away to, a mad fusion of raw African influence etched onto a backbone of London indie band life. The juttering moves of the keys player reminded me of Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne. After accepting the dull truth that his clothes weren’t going to inflate, I basked in the burning sun of the African style of guitar and shook off the percussive insects that shivered around the room. Fantastic band to hear, very different to see.
Words: Max Smiley