Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Obama” by Extra Golden, performed live in-studio at KEXP on 6/24/08. The song is a tribute to the Senator originally found on their 2007 LP, Hera Ma Non, on Thrill Jockey Records.
If you know anything about our afternoon DJ Kevin Cole, you know he has an eclectic palate. We just had no idea that Kevin and the Senator shared the same musical tastes! It’s only fitting with the upcoming presidential debate that we highlight a song about Barack Obama. For the unitiated (count me in), Extra Golden is one of a few modern Kenyan bands playing Benga music (a popular genre in Kenya) and their Obama tribute song actually has a pretty cool history behind it. Prior to recording their latest album, they had problems getting two of their Kenyan members into the States until they received some help from Senator Obama himself. With the obvious Obama/Kenyan connection, it was then just a matter of getting everyone together to record and tour (the other two members of the band are oddly enough both American). They recorded the entire album in just five days! Their song “Obama” is a cool mix of very distinct finger-played guitars, dance beats, and heavy African lyrics. It doesn’t sound like Reggae, but that’s probably the closest genre you can think of if you’ve never listened to Benga. Nigerians have a way of honoring those who have helped them, and it’s pretty cool to do it in the form of a song. If you can’t understand the lyrics, they are saying “Thanks for the things you did, and thank your Mother too”. It was an honor to have them perform this song live at KEXP — give it a listen!
Extra Golden have just completed their summer tour, but you can keep up with their upcoming performances on their website and MySpace page. Until your next chance to see them, enjoy this video of “Obama” featuring Opiyo Bilongo: