This is a special gig from any angle, making it well worth the 45-minute drive down to Oberlin. Extra Golden is an international collaboration between members of two bands: Otieno Jagwasi and Onyango Wuod Omari of Orchestra Extra Solar Africa, a Benga band from Nairobi, Kenya, and Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff of Golden, a rock band from Washington, D.C.
Eagleson and Minoff got their start at Oberlin, meeting in 2000 when Eagleson was doing doctoral research on Kenyan music. When Eagleson returned in 2004, he brought a portable studio with him, and most of Extra Golden's debut -- an addictive mix of African rhythms and social topics, with traces of American rock -- was subsequently recorded in a single afternoon at a Nairobi nightclub.
Unfortunately, it may be Extra Golden's lone release, as singer and guitarist Otieno passed away in 2005 from liver failure. Then again, the chips were stacked against this tour too, when the Kenyans had difficulty obtaining visas, but the band succeeded with the help of Illinois senator Barack Obama, among others.
Along with Eagleson, Minoff, and Omari, the touring act includes Kenyan Opiyo Bilongo on lead guitar and vocals, and Noel Kupersmith of Chicago Underground on bass.