Ennanga Vision

19/06/17Jesse Hackett & Albert Ssempeke Deconstruct Traditional Ugandan Music

Earlier this month, UK-based independent record label Soundway Records, home to a multitude of styles by acclaimed acts such as Ondatrópica, Lord Echo, Ibibio Sound Machine and many more, released the latest project by London producer Jesse Hackett, whom you may remember from the Kenyan-/Luo-influenced Owiny Sigoma band. Alias Ennanga Vision, Hackett's latest musical venture takes him into the heart of Uganda (or rather Buganda), where he joins forces with multi-instrumentalist/singer Albert Ssempeke as well as assorted vocal legends from North Ugandan to produce a "post-modern African soundtrack" of sorts, or as Soundway puts it:

"Deconstructed royal-court music from the forgotten kingdoms of the Buganda, reconstructed electronic wedding music, fluorescent pink African pop, crunched 8-bit drum machines and a 10-foot long monster xylophone are just a few of the many sounds of Ennanga Vision. The music blends a fully electronic sensibility with unusual, hand-crafted, African one-string fiddles, a 200-year-old harp and an enormous, group-played xylophone. It mixes traditional Ugandan folk songs and modern pop forms into a new PLASTIC ORGANIC VISION."

Indeed, Ennanga Vision's eponymous debut offering is nothing short of amazing, a diversely layered approach, combining modern-day production with traditional bits and bites that should intrigue clubgoers and audiophiles alike. Albert Ssempeke, "son of a prestigious royal court musician who played in the days of the old Buganda kingdom, [...] plays over ten traditional Ugandan instruments including Amadinda (xylophone), Ngindidi (fiddle), Edongo (harp) and the Ennanga (flute)". On their debut single "Otim's War", Hackett and Ssempeke are joined by North Ugandan singing legend Otim Alpha, an ex bare-knuckle boxer. Watch the effervescent video below and stream the full album here:

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom