Afande (Policeman)

by Aaron English & Walter Koga

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about

A collaboration with nyatiti master Walter Koga from Nairobi, Kenya. Our lyrics are written in Swahili or Luo.

This is a song about Kenyan country boys traveling to Nairobi & getting harassed by the police, who see their strange clothing & strange musical instruments & mark them for trouble. As Walter explains it, it’s common for a Nairobi policeman to arrest first & ask questions later. To my mind, this is sort of a Nairobi version of Stevie Wonder’s NYC in “Living for the City”.

lyrics

Walter:
Major General wearing black trouser
Afande (policeman) wearing brown suit 

Aaron:
I come to this city full of dust and sweat and noise
The living & the dying and the consequence of choice
My people used to light a fire to keep the lions at bay
Now who will shine a light for me to keep these city wolves away?
Afande, afande.  Please, please, afande.

Walter:
I am taking a bus to Nairobi. Kisumu pass by, Kericho pass by, Nakuru pass by, Kericho pass by, Naivasha pass by, then l reach Nairobi.
It’s not fair afande, It’s not fair afande…

Aaron:
I came to this city with my suitcase full of dreams
Now I know this city it ain't nothing like it seems

Walter:
The bus driver made a mistake by dropping us in the middle of Nairobi town. Then the policeman met me by mistake, while I was carrying my nyatiti (lute), and he started harrassing me, asking me bogus questions. What are you carrying in your bag? I told him I’m just carrying my nyatiti. The policeman came to me and wanted to tie me up. l started begging: don't take me in! l just came to see my children in Kariobange!
It’s not fair afande, It’s not fair afande…

Aaron:
I came to this city with my suitcase full of dreams
Now I know this city it ain't nothing like it seems
Afande, afande.  Please, please, afande.

credits

released February 28, 2017
Walter Koga: Vocals, nyatiti. Aaron English: Vocals, percussion. Don Gunn: Drums. Curtis Chandler: Guitar. Miguel Mateus: Bass.

Written by Walter Koga & Aaron English. Produced by Don Gunn & Aaron English. Mixed & mastered by Don Gunn.

Video shot by Simmon Okong’o in Nairobi, Kenya & by Jeff Leisawitz in Seattle, USA. Video edited by Aaron English.

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Aaron English Seattle, Washington

The band's distinctive sound is ambitious, world-beat-influenced art rock a la Peter Gabriel and Led Zeppelin, driven by Aaron English's vivid lyrics, acrobatic voice, and deft piano work. Also incorporating high-energy rock, pulsing electronics, and instrumentation from five continents into the band's recordings and live shows. ... more

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