Liz Ogumbo poised for global breakthrough with KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter.
Liz Ogumbo is poised for a global breakthrough with the release of her second album, KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter.
The 12-track album was recorded at Darkstar studios in Johannesburg and is heralded by current single, “Whatchyu Know About Her?”, a powerful call to action for the redefinition of what it means to be a woman, particularly in the context of the global re-examination of womanhood.
Traversing multiple influences – from Reggae to Jazz, from Swahili to the Blues and Soul – the album is a reflection of Ogumbo’s genre-agnostic sound that was first heard on her acclaimed 2010 debut KenSoul.
“KenSoul is how I describe my sound because I realised, very early on my musical journey, that it is very hard to find a genre for it,” says Ogumbo. “But at the core of my music is my Kenyan Soul, my KenSoul.”
Now based in Johannesburg, where she also has her successful fashion studio, Ogumbo remains deeply connected to her Kenyan roots. This is reflected in songs like the playful, dance track “Oringo Bayoyo” as well as “Msenangu”, a beautiful song that reflects Ogumbo’s love of East African Taarab music. Another Kenyan-influenced album highlight is an irresistible remix of “Awete”, one of the most popular tracks on her debut record.
Alongside her songwriting ability, KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter is a stunning showcase for Ogumbo’s vocal versatility – sultry and soulful vocals mix in with Blues scatting, Jazz moments and more. Songs like “Georgie Pordgy”, ‘Love Is …”, “Goldfish”, “Mon Homme” (featuring a fabulous guest vocal by Xander Pratt), “Safari” and “Denimania” are confirmation of Ogumbo’s natural musical talent – and its considerable development since she first surfaced with her debut nearly eight years ago.
In creating KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter Ogumbo worked with multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Kevin Leicher whose musical fingerprints are on many live performances and recordings of the past 20 years, including MXO’s “Peace of Mind”, Blk Jks “Lakeside”, and artists like UJU and Arno Carstens. Leicher’s rock and indie roots add a distinct flavour to Ogumbo’s sound, easily helping elevate it onto a global terrain.
Independently released, KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter is yet another step along Ogumbo’s journey as a creative entrepreneur – one that has taken her from her Luo roots to the international arena, with stops in the USA and now South Africa along the way. Like with everything Ogumbo does, she is clear about the album’s purpose. “This is not just listening music. It’s moving music. This is what you’ll soon realise about KenSoul,” she affirms.
Since the release of KenSoul, Ogumbo has performed on many different live platforms, including HIFA, Lake of Stars, Indian Ocean Music Festival, Afropicks Redbull Music Academy, Africa Leadership Network, Africa 2.0 awards, SANAA Festival, Design Indaba and the Turkel Fair. Now she has an even bigger global market in her sights. “I am really proud of the music on KenSoul, The Lotus Chapter,” this one-of-a-kind artist says. “The album is telling my stories in new and exciting ways and I can’t wait to share it with music fans everywhere, starting right here in South Africa.”