Oka Vanga “Oka Vanga”

Crazy Bird Records, 2021

Refreshingly bright and wholesome.

Artwork for Oka Vanga "Oka Vanga"South-African born Angie Meyer and Londoner Will Cox, the duo known as Oka Vanga, released their debut album back in 2014. This self-titled album is the third album from the pair.

With most tracks written before the 2020 pandemic hit, they weren’t to be beaten. The remainder were recorded using an eight-track and an iPhone, ensuring they kept to their scheduled plan. Featuring a range of outstanding musicians and instruments, this collection of songs and traditional music is fresh and vibrant.

Influenced by folklore, family and all things earthy, Meyers’ stirring lyrics and style against the rich and varied symphonies make this a joyful experience. Opening with the rootsy ‘Beneath the Apple Tree‘, the album gets off to a spirited start. The song is optimistic and whimsical. “I wanna dance with you to a song we can sing, float our dreams tied with love as string”, setting an energetic pace which is followed by the warding off of evil with the folky ‘Bows of Yew‘. Staying with the theme of trees, ‘Whiskey for Sorrow‘ is anything but sorrowful. “Whiskey for sorrow, rum to keep me sweet, a song for a country dance around the hollow tree” leads into quite a hoedown.

There is a seamless variety to this album, from folk through to a touch of jazz with ‘Bluebird‘ and ‘Johanna‘ representing a touching ode to Meyers’ grandmother in a gentle, almost nursery-rhyme style.

The traditional instrumental pieces are immaculately written and played and will bring light and life to many occasions, filling barn-dance floors for sure.

7/10
7/10

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