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Suzanna Owiyo – My Roots – 2010

Suzanna Owiyo - My Roots

Suzanna Owiyo
My Roots (KKV)

The wonderful Kenyan singer and nyatiti (lyre) player brings together new songs, old taditions, and songwriting that is biting, passionate, warm and loving and always honest. She deals with corrupt politicians, good leaders, gratitude for being able to share in the beautiful gifts we all have been given by God, the dangers of alcohol abuse, with forgiveness, fathers who abandon their families. She is joined by a group of musicians from Nairobi on guitars, bass, percussion and other local instruments.

Artist: Suzanna Owiyo
Title: My Roots
Genre: Contemporary Benga/ World Music
Release date: 2010

01 – Gonya
02 – Anyanga
03 – Osiapna
04 – Usife Moyo
05 – Dhano Le
06 – Idhewakamande
07 – Abiro
08 – Jamer
09 – Maria Matakatifu
10 – Uyie
11 – Nga’to Gi Mare
12 – Tumekata

More info: 


This highly profiled singer and songwriter, who has performed at events such as the Mandela concert in New York and the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo, has chosen to remain in her country instead of moving to London or Paris as many other African artists have done. Suzanna Owiyo, who has previously released two albums, has the following to say about her new release, "My Roots":


“Let me take you on a journey to my roots. I welcome you to share this special language we all own together: Music. My string instrument, the nyatiti, is a symbol of the title of my record. My grandfather was a famous nyatiti player. This instrument was only used on very special occasions, but only played by men. For women, it was taboo to play it, we couldn’t even touch it. But I wanted to learn to play this instrument so badly, so I was not deterred. The fire only grew stronger in me when our local TV station broadcast a programme where a Japanese woman who called herself Anyango played the instrument. This was the first time in my life I saw a woman playing a nyatiti, and watching her gave my ambitions a great boost."

Suzanna has written all the lyrics and the music. She deals with corrupt politicians, good leaders, gratitude for being able to share in the beautiful gifts we all have been given by God, the dangers of alcohol abuse, with forgiveness, fathers who abandon their families, faithful friends, violence against women and addictions that lead to begging and inhibit development. In addition to singing and playing the nyatiti, Suzanna also plays the acoustic guitar, shakers and bongos on the album.

She is joined by a great band of talented Nairobi musicians: Tobi Imani, Eric Desire Buchumi, Freddie Bryant, Rocky Bile, Tobby Koech, Dave "Mob" Otieno and Kombo Chokwe, all on guitars. Eric Mwangi, Chagala Wycliffe, Eric Mwangi and Annette A Aguilar play percussion. Robert Kamanzi and Hussein "Meya" Mwidani play drums. Sadie Kinyunda, Dave "Mob" Otieno and Isaac Gem play bass guitars, while Lydia Ogoti performs backing vocals and plays the calabash. Also joining in are Barry Olsen on trombone, Rob Thomas on violin and Shadrack Muithya on keyboards. In spite of the relatively large number of musicians, the album has a fairly stripped sound, giving a very authentic organic African impression, without the typical World Music sound we are familiar with from programmed loop-based Afro music. The album was produced and recorded by Jesseh Bukindu at Ketebul Studios in Nairobi and mixed in the same studio by Jesseh together with Daniel Wold. The album is the product of a cooperative venture between KKV and Mimeta, a Norwegian cultural and development centre which supports artists and environments contributing to culture and development. Mimeta is owned by the Strømme Foundation and the Vest-Agder county authority. The record is part of the KKV series "Imagine Africa". Imagine Africa (www.imaginafrica.com) is also a project initiated by the ARTerial Network (www.arterialnetwork.org), an organisation of African producers and cultural initiatives.


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Suzanna Owiyo Online

first albumsecond albumdouble single with Mbilia Bel

Born in Kasaye village – Nyakach, near the lakeside city of Kisumu, Suzanna Owiyo was introduced to music at a tender age by her grandfather who was a prolific Nyatiti player. As she grew up, it was her privilege to watch him play to elated audiences not knowing that one-day music would be her calling in life.
In high school, her talent enabled her school to win many trophies during the provincial and national music festivals.

After high school in 1998, she joined a Nairobi based singer Sally Oyugi as a back up vocalist. Two years later she parted ways with Sally to team up with a local band in Nairobi; Bora Bora sound and later on went back to sing in Kisumu. It was here that a young business entrepreneur with a keen ear for music spotted her talent and offered her, her first guitar. She then went back to Nairobi and undertook music lessons at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music with an aim to polish her guitar skills whilst continuing to sing at a club in Karen. The lessons went on for a while but her interest was more into live stage experience.

It was while preparations were being made for the centennial celebrations of the city of Kisumu, that Suzanna was requested to compose a theme song for the opening ceremony. In front of a capacity crowd of 60,000 people “Kisumu 100” was born and immediate success followed; a prolonged applause and a standing ovation.

{More on http://www.suzannaowiyo.net/home-mainmenu-58.html

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