Beating Heart Music label founders and dance duo Saronde (Ollie Wood and Chris Pedley) are back from a short break after having ignited airwaves (6 Music Giles Peterson, Cerys Matthews, Tom Ravenscroft) and festival stages (Glastonbury, Boomtown, Elrow) in 2019 with their unique recordings from across Africa featuring contemporary artists alongside vintage field recordings, all fused with a New Forest, UK originated musical twist.
‘Firewood’ has the hallmarks of a future classic borrowing from a 50’s Kikuyu all female acapella sung by young unmarried girls as they collect or carry back home firewood. It is an enchanting and delightful use of vocal evocative of youthful innocence and is complemented sublimely by Kenyan superstar Idd Aziz and a modern jazz funk pop disco splash of deliciously catchy jazz guitar, bass, and drums. Dare you not to stop everything and dance to this rhythm!
‘Firewood’ shows another level being reached as this real feel good track brings positivity, smiling faces and lots of energy across an unprecedented global summer.
The Beating Heart label is proud to spur a new wave of collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world, by using an untapped archive of 70-year-old field recordings housed at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) founded by ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey and The Kikuyu, (also Agĩkũyũ/Gĩkũyũ) where the sample originates from, are a Bantu ethnic group inhabiting Central Kenya. At a population of 8,148,668 as of 2019, they account for 17% of the total population of Kenya making them the largest ethnic group in Kenya.
Saronde was born of an idea in 2016, fusing ancient sounds with modern musical concepts. Now based in Nairobi, Ollie and Chris have gone deeply into this incredibly rich cultural heritage and marry ideas such as ‘Firewood’ with African musical icons like Idd Aziz, who is passionate about ethnic and cultural music and its place in African society and is a proud representative of his Mijikenda culture.
Other than being one of the most distinctive vocalists in the region, Idd Aziz is also an accomplished and dynamic percussionist having learned from his father. He also plays the guitar and flute and experiments with a variety of percussions from all across the African continent.