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These are some of the words being used to describe early previews of Deane Ogden’s newest sonic outing, KWELA — a rapturous musical excursion into the joyful and melodic rhythms of South Africa.

Turning again to the mobile recording method he utilized for his solo debut Eastern Chronicle, Ogden has fashioned a fluid and harmonious synthesis of South African textures, funk-oriented grooves, perfect pop sensibilities, and detailed percussion with the talents of native instrumentalists including Jo “Bombo” Zegwe (guitar), Deryn Cullen (cello), Simon Harrison (Nyangile soundbox and African fiddle), Gig Jooste (Hammond organ), and the Soweto Horns, as well as native South African vocalists Mack Chibesa, Sipho SolomonTemwani Kalenga, Bronsil Chipo, Veronica LookJordynn Towne, the Cape Town Junior Chorale, the Kinshasa Chamber Choir, and many more.

Deane also enlisted the talents of Western session musicians Panos Kolias (accordion), David Freeman (Hammond B3), Rob Eisler, Mike Holt, and Steve Ouimette (lead guitars), Al Slavik (electric bass), and Glen Doll (harmonica) to round out the album’s production. Recording sessions for KWELA took place in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa; Congo-Kinshasa, Africa; Mulamba, Zambia; Nairobi, Kenya; Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Phoenix, USA; Jakarta, Indonesia; Singapore; Tokyo, Japan; and London, UK. Recording took place between July 2013 and December 2014, with production wrapping March 21, 2015.

Bryan Preat of AllMusic praised KWELA ahead of its release, saying,

“… [Ogden] has taken the method he established with EASTERN CHRONICLE and refined it here with an effortless accessibility… KWELA is an expansive and breathtakingly modern sound with a familiar nostalgia that doesn’t leave you easily.”

The Village Voice said,

“Ogden’s latest effort, entitled KWELA (after the skiffle-inspired jazz popularized in 1950’s and 60’s South Africa) is a well-established aesthetic of evocative world textures and compelling pristine pop rhythms. The melodic choir work alone will make you want to go back to church just to sit in with the band.”


Deane Ogden: drums, percussion, electric and fretless bass guitar, electric lead, rhythm, textured and acoustic guitars, cat gut and keytone guitar, array mbira, balafon, balu and dualah flutes, bass bolon, bone horn, kora, koramand, marimbas, ngoni, recorder, reed pipe, vocoder, Hammond B3, Multi Moog, Synthaxe, Wurlitzer 200 electric piano, piano, keyboards and Fairlight programming

Zep Babian, Mack Chibesa, Bronsil Chipo, Deedi Ibim, Nathan Kalenga, Temwani Kalenga, Kayodi Tatenda, Jordynn Towne and Deane Ogden: lead vocals

Rob Eisler, Mike Holt, and Steve Ouimette: rhythm guitars

Ilongomo Bendabo: penny whistle and woodwinds

Deryn Cullen: solo cello

Glen Doll: harmonica

Rob Eisler, Mike Holt, and Jo “Bombo” Zegwe: lead electric guitars

David Freeman and Gig Jooste: Hammond organ

Simon Harrison: Nyangile soundbox and African fiddle

Nathan Kalenga: tenor and soprano saxophone

Panos Kolias: accordion

Oliver Sadie: piano

Al Slavik: bass guitar

Ntombi Bokeena, Rianne Fenneller, Mathilda Greyling, Gabrianne Gowers, Deedi Ibim, Annabelle Isaacs, Kathleen Isaacs, Megan Jooste, Terrence Jooste, Nathan Kalenga, Temwani Kalenga, Britta Nelson-Price, Patricia Odendaal, Tyler Rosali, Sipho Solomon, Kayodi Tatenda, Jordynn Towne, and Deane Ogden: background vocals


Written and recorded July 2013 through December 2014

Written, produced, engineered & mixed by Deane Ogden
Mastered by John Elleson-Hartley
Additional vocal design by Eduardo Tarilonte

Art direction and design by Ryo Ishido
Photography by Fajar Indra Permana and Curdie Mwetobu
Photography assistance by Yudi Nugraha
Album art concept by Deane Ogden, Ryo Ishido, and Curdie Mwetobu
Styling by Heri Permadi and Demi Lenginun

Cameroonian language translation by Kara Malbe
Massai & Kenyan language translation by Adimu Oyenusi
Swahili & Lugandan language translation by Marlie Nelson-Price
Tswana & Afrikaans language translation by Jordynn Towne and Veronica Look

West African contracting by Deedi Ibim and Sarinjo Safre
South African contracting by Gig Jooste and Nathan Kalenga

Horn arrangements by Jim Clybourn and Deane Ogden


Jim Clybourn: trumpet
Nathan Kalenga: tenor and alto saxophone
Reli Oongomi: trombone
Bonny Deevers: baritone saxophone

Choir arrangements by Gig Jooste and Deane Ogden
Choir direction by Deane Ogden


Unathi Abraham, Ntombil Bokeena, Thandiwe Cronje, Gabrianne Gowers, Mathilda Greyling, Annabelle Isaacs, Megan Jooste, Terrance Jooste, Britta Nelson-Price, Patricia Odendaal, Tyler Rosali, Sipho Solomon, Christopher Thom, Albi Toosa and Ceela Wiid.


Bimoko Aoro, Ariane Kabwe, Rochelle Martin, Rasion Martinez, Seko Ndango, Kenge Sakombi, and Zeb Verdier.

Birds of a feather fly together.

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