Odd Okoddo is a Kenyan/German duo formed by Olith Ratego and Sven Kacirek. Their debut album “Auma” just came out via Pingipung. Olith Ratego performs his immaculate vocals in the musical style called “dodo”, which originates from the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, high in pitch and soulfully expressive. He himself refers to his music as “dodo blues”. As a skilled luthier, Olith Ratego designs and builds his string instruments himself, first of all the five-stringed Okodo which lends its name to the project. Sven Kacirek is a multi-instrumentalist commuting between Germany and Kenya for many years now. He plays the marimba, percussions and piano, next to producing this project. He has closely collaborated with various international musicians, among them Nils Frahm, Shabaka Hutchings, F.S. Blumm and Marc Ribot.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Like many other children in Germany I learned how to play recorder when I was six. I attended drum lessons at a music school after I had turned 10. I had a brilliant teacher and I attended his classes until I turned 18. When I was 12 I started playing in a Punk band. But at the same time my drum teacher aroused my interest for jazz and funk music.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
1. Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell – El Corazon
2. Archie Shepp – Blasé
3. Ibeyi – Ibeyi
4. Herbie Hancock – Sextant
5. Duke Ellington – Afro Eurasian Eclypse
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
The city where everyone calls himself an artist.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Don Matteo, Veringstrasse.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Becoming a lawyer.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Scott Walker – Scott 3
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As a performer: With Sofia Jernberg and Stefan Schneider at the Meakusma Festival 2017. As a spectator: Z ́EV at Saint Ghetto Festival.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I am using Pro Tools, a Mytek AD converter and very often my old Telefunken preamp to record my records. This gear is highly important to me.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have one brother. I don ́t know how he feels about it. We have never really spoken about my work.
ODD OKODDO’s LP ‘AUMA’ is out on Pingipung and available here! It comes with a printed inner sleeve with liner notes by Tabu Osusa from the Nairobi based label Ketebul as well as explanations about the song lyrics.
Photo © Martin Drix Muyeshi