Monday, February 14, 2011

Omega Okello - Artist Preview - Spilling Hope Volume Two

All but one of the projects done by Spilling Hope have occurred in Uganda (See them here). Living Water International is the best, and they cost around $10k to research communities, hire local workers and oversee professional digging of clean water and sanitation centers. Typically this means digging a well...not 30 feet, with shovels, but  ft. with an enormous borehole drill
I made a quick post to Facebook one afternoon stating that I had entered the brainstorm stage for Volume 2, and a friend commented saying..."What about Omega? She is from Uganda." What an amazing idea!

I possibly first heard Omega sing when she and I were both kids, she was part of the African Children's choir and they stopped at our church during their US tour...I was there and it was absolutely incredible. I still remember them singing a song Sunday morning to give folks a glimpse into that nights concert...I was blown away by the joy, the passion and of course the volume.

Years later, Omega ended up at Seattle Pacific University where we both attended college, she often went to my church, and I played drums once for a song she killed at a talent night. Omega is one of those people who effortlessly sing, and appear to be having the time of their life every time they do so...and as they do get tricked into also being filled with joy!

Omega has three studio albums...all different stylistically, but all tied together by her love for God, people and her joy in music. Her first release is a jazz album called Take has big standards like Summertime, At Last and What a Wonderful World. Her most recent release is called Amazed, with music that seems very geared for a church audience; many hymns and choruses in an Afro-gospel style. In between these two came her award winning traditional Ugandan album Kiwomera Emmeeme. Luganda for "It is sweet to the soul," her most ethnic of her albums filled with amazing instrumentation, mostly original songs by Omega and with musicians from across Africa and the USA. All songs are sung in Luganda, Omega's native tongue. (With the exception of one song that is sung in Swahili...I jokingly asked my co-worker if he spoke Swahili...he said yes and then was able to determine which track was not Lugandan...amazing!) This 2008 release contains the song Yaye, which will be a part of this year's compilation. It is a strong song, and critical in its uniqueness to the others on the compilation. The song is produced extremely well with rich under stated rhythms, great accordion, and of course the hope and joy Omega...can't seem to shaken even on this song about mourning.

Yaye, Yaye (I am mourning)
Wulira, Wulira Okukaaba (Hear the crying)
Wulira, Wulira edoboozi (Hear the voice)

Nkabira bantu bange (I’m crying/mourning/weeping for my people)
Mukomewo Gyendi (Return to me)
Mukomewo (return) 
Mukomewo Gyendi nze Omutonzi (Return to your maker)

Grateful to have Omega on the compilation this year, and if you want more info on her and her music check her website here. Thanks Omega!

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

she is amazing!! I have had the distinct honor of singing with her at a fire side worship service and it was one of the most memorable worship nights of my life. You can not help but be utterly swept up in her joy and passion for Jesus she is a gorgeous woman inside and out and no doubt will be leading the choir in heaven too what a gift so excited she is going to be on the album!!