|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1.5 cm|
Okapi Guitars – “Live @ CutSnake” CD review by Roger Holdsworth
Okapi Guitars are one of those survivors, producing here their 13th release, counting cassettes and CDs, in about 25 years, as a ‘live’ set of classic African covers and original songs. Their distinctive laid-back sound features those fantastic, high-strung, shimmering guitars, flashing and sparkling over a solid and danceable back-line. They include favourite songs drawn from Bembeya Jazz, Orchestre Makassy, Orchestre Super Mazembe and Thomas Mapfumo amongst others, together with their own anthems written in similar assured styles. There’s even an afro-pop/ reggae cover of “From Little Things Big Things Grow” that hopefully delights Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody. This collection represents a typical ‘live’ set from Okapi Guitars, recorded in the studio in one session – perhaps a sort of ‘favourites’ drawn from previous releases and showing a little of the energy they generate in performance.The tracks I most resonated with were the longer numbers that provide the four-piece with the space to stretch out, develop musical and lyrical themes, allow the hypnotic rhythms and structures to take over – and bring a little bit of Mombasa, Nairobi and beyond home to Sydney. “In African music,” they say in their publicity, “a twenty-five year career is just the apprenticeship.” This ‘live in studio’ set shows a band moving from that apprenticeship stage to confident mastery and maturity.
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