Kenyan-Norwegian group Unganisha has released their highly anticipated debut album, ‘Mbili Mbili’ (translated as “two by two” in Kiswahili).
Unganisha members include traditional musician from Kenya – Labdi Ommes (Orutu and vocals) – and an experimental electronic artist from Norway – Bernt Isak Wærstad.
The album follows a string of successful singles and their well-received 2022 EP ‘Kucheza!’.
The title of the new album ‘Mbili Mbili’ encapsulates the essence of their cross-cultural collaboration, embodying the duality of their music and the coexistence of celebration and contemplation in life.
The album promises to be an exhilarating and vibrant musical journey, showcasing new sounds from this innovative duo.
Unganisha has always been about playfulness and fearless exploration and this album is no exception.
Embracing the album format has allowed them to expand their creative horizons, delving into a diverse range of sounds while addressing serious and complex themes, all while delivering irresistible dance floor rhythms and carefree melodies.
Notably, “Kendo” introduces a new dimension to their repertoire as the duo’s first ballad, offering a bird’s-eye view of humanity’s impact on our planet.
Meanwhile “Mbona” presents an electrifying groovefest while addressing the issue of colourism in our world.
With their debut album, Unganisha has elevated their ethos of collaboration and experimentation to new heights.
They’ve ventured beyond their established creative roles, coming together to craft both the production and lyrics for the album, thereby fully embracing the meaning of their name, “Unganisha,” which signifies “to join or fuse together” in Kiswahili.
This approach has not only deepened their creative connection but also fueled their pursuit of an experimental future with a foundation in tradition.
Their fusing of cultures and musical expressions stretches beyond the core duo and this album is packed with a diverse crowd of guest artists.
“Ochwe” is their third track featuring Kasiva Mutua and long-term provider of avant-garde metal junk percussion and signature snare drum rolls Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen is back contributing on more than half the album.
The West African percussion legend Sidiki Camara, who added his signature grooves to the 2020 Unganisha single “Mpenzi”, is also making a substantial contribution with a mix of singing drum, djembe and ngoni.
Each guest artist enriches the album, expanding Unganisha’s sonic palette in their own unique way.
‘Mbili Mbili’ is poised to be a significant milestone in Unganisha’s musical journey, captivating and inspiring listeners with its bold fusion of culture, exploration, and rhythm.