Artist: Suzanna Owiyo
Album: My Roots
Label: Kirkelig Kulturverksted, 2010
By Dr Wandia Njoya
How it got on my rack
I kept promising myself that I'd buy Suzanna Owiyo's album but the opportunity presented itself when she visited Daystar. So I have an autographed copy!
What I like about the album
This is a truly Kenyan album. The songs are rooted in the past, they have different cultural flavors. I mean, what could be more Kenyan than a Luo singing in song in Kikuyu with a chakacha beat? The instruments are fabulous. I love the nyatiti and the orutu in the songs, but the guitar is also something to write home about.
The themes are also varied, soulful and socially conscious, revealing a singer who has a finger on the pulse of society. My best line is in "Dhano le" decrying sexual abuse of children: "A man must be strong for a woman and child to be safe."
The bonus track, "Matatu," featuring Jua Cali was a pleasant surprise, revealing Suzanna's versatility as a musician.
My favorite song
My favorite song keeps changing. I do love "Osiepna" with Ogoya Nengo's wonderful voice, although I wished we heard more of her in the song. I also like "Usife moyo" which should be a jazz classic. The guitar work is superb and the message is wonderful. It is a song of love and care. But "Abiro" hits the spot. It's mellow and beautiful. The sound matches the theme of a prodigal daughter returning home. I also like "Ayango" for the simple fact that it encourages girls to go to school. I must mention Jamer - a song warning against alcoholism and which has a wonderful duet between Suzanna and the orutu at the end of the song.