Alai K - Kila Mara - On The Corner Records
Debut album from Kenya born, Berlin based percussionist, vocalist, DJ, producer and “musical witchdoctor” Alai K, combining music from eastern Africa, ancestral customs and the rituals of dance
On moving to Berlin, Alai went raving regularly and became enamoured with underground dance music culture. “I love techno and believe that African drums influenced the percussion and programming: lt’s coming from the same place; with both you get extended periods with no chorus or verse, just occasional chanted or chopped vocals. In Africa people play drums and dance for hours, which is the same experience as western electronic music”, says Alai.
Alai started living and recording in Berlin 3 years ago, in a one- room flat shared with his family. He would constantly be in flux, setting up his small studio in the kitchen, then packing it away again when they needed to cook. He later hooked-up with a notable Kenyan percussionist based in Hamburg called Izo Anyanga, and over several trips down the autobahn they jammed acoustically, with just drums, marimba, xylophone, and some good weed. The vibe was huge, and the pair decided they wanted to make a record, which could easily transpose for performance to a crowd. Music from eastern Africa, ancestral customs and the rituals of dance are deep in Alai’s DNA. His great grandmother was a singer and composer, and his father was a professional drummer, who alongside friends and family would play spiritual music from Bajun like Ndurenge, Kirumbizi and Bati, all night long, to uplift the spirit, or remember the dead.