OVERVIEW: A 1980s Far Echo of African music noir.
Pandpieri, Kisumu. The ‘70s. Otis Dundos is a shy and awkward kid. In the ‘80s as a man-boy he tries to fit in. But he is more an archetype than flesh-and-blood youth. Performing with Nico Opija and KDF in Kondele gives him a beginning and a journey into music.
As a guitar student hitting all the required notes, Otis is the haunted
genius. And KDF in Kondele is a training ground for demonology. He
is desperate to leave Kondele’s dingy clubs to reach for the future. He
seems to realise he is not ccomplished until he moves to Nairobi.
But the cold, cold heart of Nairobi’s nefarious pop culture schools him
into becoming a more spoiled artist. Returning to Kisumu with a new
band, accompanied by queasy bandmates in the ranks of villainous
neer-do-wells, he spirals down into the heart of Kisumu’s darkness,
encountering upsurging whirlpools of struggle, feuds, survival,
greed, envy, competition, and exploitation. How does he wind down
the hysteria; somewhat, and make a fairly good case for extraordinary
achievement backmasking in heavy benga music? That’s not the issue, the issue is that as famous as he is, Otis Dundos has more problems than a normal Kisumuan.
Providing a catharsis through comedy, lancing the Kenyan lakeside city’s moral boil with satire, KISUMU tells the story of ordinary men and women trying to live the Kenyan African dream. It is a story of a humble beginning, awkward and misdirected fumbling and miraculous accomplishment.
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