Ré Olunuga- Èkó La Wá (Track Review)

Written by Pat Moran

With shimmering tintinnabulations of percussion that part like a beaded curtain to reveal successive sweeps of strings, Nigerian musician Ré Olunuga hooks you right out of the gate with “Èkó La Wá,” a track composed for Disney and Kugali Media’s animated family-friendly series “Iwájú.” 

The opening of “Èkó La Wá,” seats you in a roller coaster hauled to the top of the track, on the cusp of dropping like a stone, but the tune refuses to come down to earth from its syncopated flight. Instead, Olunuga’s theme slyly nods to fun adventure film and TV soundtracks like Henry Mancini’s percussive opening for “Charade” and Lalo Schifrin’s jazz-inflected score for “Mission Impossible.’

But when “Èkó La Wá” ascends to swarming choral vocals, corkscrews of soaring flutes and rising spirals of heroic trumpets bolstered by punchy brass, it’s clear that Olunuga is revealing his affinity for an even greater inspiration, fellow Nigerian and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

Whereas Kuti crafted long and loping sonic trance tunnels, Olunuga sculpts Afrobeat’s pulsing energy and hypnotic grooves into a compact and adventurous piece of multicultural thriller music that’s also a percolating and danceable jam.

Check it out

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