Album Review

Dave Okumu and the 7 Generations - I Came From Love

A poignant, thought-provoking record on so many levels.

Dave Okumu and the 7 Generations - I Came From Love
That ‘I Came From Love’ is both a Dave Okumu solo record and not makes complete sense. His reputation for musical depth is long-established, having spent over a decade as member of The Invisible, producing and songwriting for others, and even alone, before releasing solo debut ‘Knopperz’ back in 2021. This follow-up - albeit under a semi-pseudonym - is as sonically rich as his past work would suggest, each track consisting of whipsmart layers of lush noises, a carousel of collaborators joining in as a backing band of sorts. Ultimately, it’s par for Dave’s course. The record as a whole, though - this being where his ‘7 Generations’ take centre stage - is closer to the reading of a dense historical text, simultaneously an exploration of Dave’s Black identity: as an Austrian-born Kenyan who came of age in London; as literal descendant; as metaphorical offspring. Grace Jones opens the record, an artist Dave recalls as an early example of seeing himself reflected in popular culture, and one who doesn’t choose features lightly (if at all). British-Trinidadian poet Anthony Joseph is recruited, too, while text is pulled from a slave owner’s memoir, Aimé Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, protests following the New Cross fire of 1981 - an event likely fresh in many Black Londoners’ minds when Dave and his family arrived. These two parts - the history repeated, reflected on and allowed to permeate by the record’s impeccable pacing, and the intricate, textured and often funky sounds - hit a complementary zenith on ‘Blood Ah Go Run’, its skittish, disconcerting yet immediate sound an excellent vehicle for the song’s story - the New Cross tragedy and its aftermath - while its refrain (“Blood ah go run / If no justice no come”) echoes the message of the time (“Thirteen dead / Nothing said”). A poignant, thought-provoking record on so many levels.

Tags: Dave Okumu, Reviews, Album Reviews

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