The NEST; 2013
Dir. Abstract Omega
We all remember the Legacy project by the good folks at The NEST, right? The one where they brought in a bunch of talented singers to re-work and re-imagine eight Kenyan classics from Swahili Nation’s Hakuna Matata to Nameless and Amani’s Ninanoki? If you have no idea what we are talking about hop over to the NEST’s bandcamp page and get yourself a piece of that album – for free! Turns out the awesomeness from that Project will go further this year with a series of music videos to accompany those great covers. First up is Lisa Oduor-Noah with her cover of K-South and Fundi Frank’s Ndai from way back in 2004.
It is not easy to match the natural lyricism of the K-South duo of Abbas and Bamboo as it was then, and Lisa’s cover does not attempt to do that. Instead, it totally strips out the rawness of the original track and smoothens it out to come up with a sparse but nonetheless beautiful end product. Less is more in this particular case. Lisa Oduor-Noah’s commendable vocal presence packages the chorus in a haunting, dreamy way that adds an undiscovered flavour to the original theme – paying homage to the hopes and dreams of the ordinary working (and walking) Kenyan. There’s nothing to hate about the production either, it is full of the kind of minmal jazzy treats that you’d associate with producers affiliated with the likes of Adeiyu.
The video, shot by Abstract Omega, is a journey around and about the streets of Nairobi, following the daily lives of Kenyans in that all too familiar struggle for upward mobility. It really is beautifully shot and edited to capture a typical day and night in the heart of the city, that’s already struggling with a traffic problem and here we are just scheming and dreaming of getting a car of our own.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The NEST provide a much needed breath of fresh air all the time, even when it comes to covering oldie-goldies.