TITLE: !Nursery Boys Go Ahead!
Artists: Abana Ba Nasery
Original Release Date: 1991
Listening Time: 53 minutes 31 seconds
Distributed by: Ace Records Ltd.
What I Liked:
In every song you can hear Abana’s trademark Fanta bottle. After all they do call themselves the “Guitar and Bottle Kings of Kenya”. A Fanta bottle has ridges on the sides and is played with metal rods of varying thickness’. In case you don’t know what a Fanta bottle is – Fanta is a brand of soda put out by the Coca-Cola company with flavors like orange, lemon, root beer, grape and more. I don’t see this soda available in my area of the U.S. although it’s widely available in Kenya.
This album is much more polished than their first one, Classic Acoustic Recordings of Western Kenya. This album appeals to the mainstream listener more so than ‘Classical’. There are influences from Irish and possibly Spanish music.
!Nursery Boys Go Ahead! is a fun album to listen to. Along with the Fanta bottle the guitar work is also fun and quite catchy. A lot of these songs a, what I fondly call, ‘picky guitar’. It sounds like the guitar is being picked instead of strummed. I like it and it reminds me of a lot of the music I heard while living in Kenya. This style of music is called “Benga”.
A lot of these songs are sung in the Luhya tribal language, although you can hear them sing “1 0 0 93” in Esimiti Khusilenje which is a post office box for their fans to write to which is rather fun to listen to.
What I Didn’t Like:
In track 6 Esimiti Khusilenje (Plaster on the Leg) towards the last third of the song a Celtic rhythm is added. This sounds ok by itself, however once the vocals are included it doesn’t work. When I first heard this I thought I was having a Riverdance flashback. In sounds like two completely different songs have simply been thrown together. Unfortunately these two rhythms end up clashing and almost destroying what is a really good song. Take the Celts out of the Kenyan music.
You can also hear the Celtic rhythms in Abandu Bandi (Some People). It works better in this song but I still don’t really care for it myself.
To Sum Up:
I think most people will like this CD. It mixes Kenyan and Irish music. If you like Riverdance, you’ll probably like this album. However, this album is not what I would call ‘authentic’ as it does mix musical styles from different cultures and not always very well. If you like world music in general this is a great album to pick up. If you want something strictly Kenyan try Abana ba Nasery’s first album Classic Acoustic Recordings from Western Kenya, currently out of print. You may be able to find a used copy at Half.com.
This copy of Abana ba Nasery’s !Nursery Boys Go Ahead! was purchased by me with my own funds.