A true world beat album
Reviewed June 2009
By Omega Bugembe Okello
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Born in Uganda, but (mostly) raised elsewhere and now residing in the United States, Omega Bugembe Okello's third CD finds her singing in both English and her native Lugunda in an Afro-beat format. It's not strictly East African music, but more a pan-African pop, drawing on not only her native Ugandan traditions but South African pop and West African highlife, plus Western soul and rock, and smooth jazz. (And the fourth track, "Ndituusa Wa?," has a Polynesian-like lilt to it.)
The result is a pleasant, listenable world beat album. She has an incredible set of pipes, with a vocal puritiy most singers can't even
imagine. (She has also released an EP of jazz standards sung in spotless American English). Luganda is easy on the ears lots of vowels, somewhat like the Romance tongues in its meter and rhythm. Translations of the lyrics into English show that her Christian faith is a main theme of her music, although the music is enjoyable on its own merits.
Accessible, melodic and gorgeously sung, this is a nice collection of world music.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).