The latest record from Udulele is a captivating EP named “Ololokwe,” which introduces us to a trio of exceptional tracks: “Ololokwe,” “Koth Chwe,” and the previously released gem, “Anyango.” This collection serves as a compelling testament to Udulele’s status as one of Kenya’s most authentic and innovative performers within the dynamic Kenyan music industry.
Formerly a member of Abaki Simba, Udulele embarks on a remarkable journey in “Ololokwe,” delving into themes that encompass indigenous sounds, the natural world, human experiences, and cultural narratives. These elements are masterfully interwoven throughout the EP, aiming to establish a profound connection and a sense of unity with our world.
This EP marks Udulele’s follow-up to his solo debut album, “Soulful Benga Vol. 1.”
In Udulele’s own words, “Ololokwe” is a project that explores the intersection of indigenous sounds, nature, cultural tales, and science. It aspires to create a healing, harmonious existence, offering wisdom to uplift spirits and encourage the release of old ways, facilitating a harmonious unity with the world.
The EP boasts a rich tapestry of Kenyan sounds and rhythms, incorporating drums, shakers, benga guitar melodies, and vocals. These musical elements blend seamlessly with natural organic sounds like the wind, rain, and animal calls. The EP also features spoken word pieces that share indigenous cultural stories and wisdom, delivering a holistic experience to the listener.
“Ololokwe” urges us to embrace a new way of life in harmony with nature and one another, shedding the old ways of thinking and being. Udulele’s choice of the title “Ololokwe” draws inspiration from a vivid dream that connected him with nature and people atop a hill, later identified as Mt. Ololokwe in Samburu. This name signifies the profound connection he felt in that dream—a connection with nature, with people, and the healing it brought.
“Ololokwe” is more than a title; it symbolizes the themes of connection and healing that resonate throughout the entire EP.
In a stark departure from his previous “Soulful Benga Vol. 1,” “Ololokwe” showcases a distinct shift in style and tone, focusing on spirituality, nature, and healing as its core themes.
Nature is a recurrent motif throughout the EP, exemplified by “Koth Chwe,” which retells an East African folktale about a leopard giving birth by a river during a rare simultaneous rain and sunshine. The song reminds us of the precious wildlife and the awe-inspiring existence of leopards. This theme is further echoed by “Ololokwe,” named after the Samburu Hill famous for its elephant population, serving as a symbol of native species and the urgency of their preservation.
The integration of nature sounds and storytelling within the project aims to reconnect people with their spiritual, ancestral, and natural roots.
“Anyango” is a deeply vulnerable song, born from personal experiences, reflecting on the artist’s past and seeking forgiveness from a former partner when he felt undeserving of love—a sentiment that resonates with many men. Udulele challenges the myth that men must be successful to deserve love.
Lastly, “Koth Chwe” continues to captivate due to its universal appeal. During his travels across East Africa, he discovered that this folktale is embedded in the collective memory of people from numerous tribes. The song is a reminder of our interconnectedness.
The “Ololokwe” EP is a source of healing and transformation, offering a moment of introspection and connection for listeners. Udulele invites his audience to draw whatever they individually require from the EP, whether it’s a sense of reconnection, awakening, forgiveness, healing, or peace.
“Anyango” has earned a place on Spotify’s playlists, including “Chill Kenyan Music,” “New Music Friday Ghana,” “New Music Friday Naija,” and “New Music Friday Kenya.”
To celebrate the EP’s release, Udulele will perform it live at the Raw And Live concert at Kuona Arts Center on Saturday, October 21, 2023.
The event will feature rapid live acts from Kenya and Tanzania, including Liboi and Salum Matata, along with DJ Brolic. It promises to be an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts.