The 7th: Kothbiro

CONTRIBUTOR: Alister Johnson (Do Right Music, Love Handle)

ARTIST: Black Savage
SONG: Kothbiro
LABEL: Black Blood
YEAR: 1976

I remember the day I bought this record like it was yesterday.  It was sometime around 2006-7, and a weekly trip to the St. Lawrence Market to check out the records was in the schedule.  I went to my favourite dealer, let’s call him ‘Mikey’ (mainly because that is his actual name), and he had a few boxes to flip through.  I remember pulling out a random jazz record, a copy of Patrice Rushen – Forget Me Nots 12″ and this 7″ with a drawing of a crazy looking zombie vampire dude on the picture sleeve with the text BLACK SAVAGE around his head.  Inscribed on the back in barely legible writing was ” to Bob, with compliments from the Black Savage “.   I bring them up to Mikey, not knowing what to expect.  The jazz record was $20, pass.  “Patrice Rushen will be $10, and that 45 is $5.”   I put the Patrice down, pulled out $5, made the exchange,  thanked the man and was on my way.

‘Kothbiro’ is a slow scorcher, or a slow burner, a descriptor that the Cratery alumni have often used for joints that hit hard.  The bass line is reminiscent to Inna Gadda Da Vida, but slowed way way down , with haunting vocals and organ that swirls and stabs you into oblivion.  Add in the hard drums and you have a winner. Enjoy…






5 responses to “The 7th: Kothbiro”

  1. IP Avatar

    Black Savage was a short-lived mid-1970s group of young college-age Kenyans, namely Barrack Achieng (bass), Job Seda (a.k.a. Ayub Ogada) (percussion), Noel Drury Sanyanafwa (drums), Jack Odongo (keyboards) and Gordon Ominde (Golden Simone) (guitar). Most of them were from the Luo tribe, which may explain why the song is in the DhoLuo language. Its title means, ‘(The) Rain Is Coming’. ‘Koth Biro’ is actually a traditional DhoLuo song, possibly a lullaby. Job Seda has more recently released a more traditional version of the song, to the accompaniment of the traditional Luo lyre. The single resonated within the young, urban, hipster Nairobi crowd when it dropped in 1976. What a joy to find it in cyberspace 40 years on! The flip side had a funky, up-tempo Soul track that the kid that I then was really liked, called, ‘Grasslands’. PLEASE UPLOAD IT TOO? Thanks!

  2. michael langenbahn Avatar
    michael langenbahn

    superb find , i have it also with the pic sleeve , as far as i know 3 copys/sleeves are known in collectors hands today, ultra rare 45

    worth 250$ without sleeve

  3. Caks Avatar

    Noel Sanyanafwa is a shoga

  4. Greg Avatar

    Noel was the boyfriend of John Wanjau Kirima

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