KG Omulo’s solo debut effort Ayah Ye! Moving Train is the culmination of a lifetime of experience. Recorded at studios in Florida and Pennsylvania, Ayah Ye! Moving Train brings together some of Central Florida’s finest brass and string practitioners from a broad spectrum of musical talent – the album’s vibrant, celebratory feel comes courtesy of musicians who have worked with Sam Rivers, Ray Charles, T-Pain, Mofro, The Legendary JC’s, Junkie Rush, AM Conspiracy and Shak Nasti to name a few – and the result is a playlist that feels not only alive but vital. KG takes on the dark ironies of politics, with anger in the groove, reveling in the potential to shake things up while shaking your thing.
Ayah Ye! Moving Train has a rock-infused, reggae-powered take on Afrobeat and Afropop that doesn’t linger in long instrumentals, but goes straight to the irresistible hook. Fueling all the carefully crafted tracks, KG Omulo’s longing for a different, more just world gives his good-time music a compelling depth of meaning. You can hear it on the first line of opener “Intervention,” an urgent homily: “Seeking divine intervention/hoping for a miracle.” The next track, “Moving Train,” the chorus of which integrates Swahili dialogue, says it even simpler: “This is more than just about me,” sings the electric ringmaster. “Cleary Boulevard” pays sultry tribute to his second-home Florida, as he and fellow producer Ramsees, excitedly go back and forth in both Swahili and Spanish, remembering nights on the town. Later, “Ready to Love” and “It’s a Relief” take it to the Caribbean for a little romance, plenty of dancing and smiles for days. Omulo uses the groove to praise the often unsung efforts of the world’s women “Quality Women” before the record delves into more serious territory on the next few songs.
“Walkway” recalls the Wailers with a vaporous tempo and buried vocal as KG calls out governmental leaders’ detachment from the working class. That’s followed up with “No Means No,” a call-and-response dash of outrage translatable to practically any underrepresented group.
Title track “Ayah Ye!” brings back the lightness with a mere chuckle from KG along with a bevy of orchestral support, for another Swahili-language dance throw-down. Instrumentalists Valerie Pernice (violin, viola) and Paul Leiner (cello) make their only album appearance on “Stop Me Now,” a Beatles-esque romantic tone poem. Of course, it’s not a KG Omulo party until everyone’s dancing, so Ayah Ye! Moving Train closes with a typically feelgood bouncer, “Do You Feel?” ending with calls for harmony, peace and, naturally, tender loving. For Lyrics Click Here