Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon - Kalba
Kalba is the first album from Ghanaian xylophone master Isaac Birituro and Leeds-based producer and singer- songwriter Sonny Johns AKA The Rail Abandon. The boundary crossing duo were introduced to the world via the first two singles released in early 2019, Yesu Yan Yan and Für Svenja, and the reactions to the project have been overwhelmingly warm.
There are many differences between Isaac and Sonny, but a powerful similarity -- which gives Kalba its element of relatability -- is that desire to hear the usual done unusually and play with the shared influence of the music from afar. Named after the town in North Ghana where Isaac resides, the album is a combination of differences; a magnifying glass over the Venn diagram of our lives, the unfathomable meeting of parallel lines.
“It was clear to me that, though he played a traditional instrument in a traditional way, Isaac was influenced by the Western tinged music that filled the streets of Accra - in fact his father, Edmund, introduced him with “He plays the modern way!” Partly dismissive, mostly proud,” said Sonny. “And as this Viking sat before him played the guitar, it sounded too much like the stringed instruments of Mali for it to be just a coincidence.”
There are so many stories behind each track on this album, but the common denominators are clearly the importance of community, of preserving and presenting local cultures, the ardent desire to contribute to changing the world around us, and, of course, the love and power of music created from a genuine place.
The single 'Netsanet' (feat. Mulatu Astatke) is a deep exploration of Mulatu's trademark Ethio-jazz, while Crushing Lactic, composed by Tom Rogerson (fresh from a recent collaboration with Brian Eno) has a frenzied flow, with big horns and driving rhythm section.
Elsewhere, Pete Wareham (stalwart of the London jazz revival) lends his free-flowing sax to What’s Gone Before, leading us into a powerful communion of jazz and brass as Mulatu Astatke’s Derashe takes the listener down a vibrating rhythmic path while accompanied by blasts of horns and Mulatu’s trademark vibraphone. Two spoken word compositions ('Why Yellow' and 'Climbing Up My Own Life Until I Die') featuring York-born writer and comedian Rob Auton lend an introspective voice to 'Collaborations: Volume One'.
1. Yesu Yan Yan
3. Bo Ma
4. I Know (I’m OK)
5. Da Po
6. Für Svenja
7. Nye Fo Chen
8. La Cocina
9. Bo Le De Ma
10. So Ma
Artist: Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon
Label: Wah Wah 45s
Genre: Latin, African & World
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: WAHLP016
Released: 31st May 2019