Extra Golden is a band who probably needs some introduction. Formed by Ian Eagleson and Otieno Jagwasi while Eagleson was studying Benga music in Kenya for his doctoral thesis (a solid choice; there’s a void of information about Benga music on the internet). Eagleson had formerly played in the Oberlin OH rock band Golden, and Jagwasi (who has since passed away from liver failure) was formerly a member of Orchestra Extra Solar Africa–hence the name Extra Golden. After recruiting former bandmates Onyango Wuod Omari and Alex Minoff, the group set to recording debut album Ok-Oyot System.
I’ll admit that when I first read their biography, I expected this band would be the most egregious exploitation of “passport rock” yet, and there are certainly those who would say this band consists of two privileged white boys who traveled to Africa and brought back some local flavor. Before condemning them outright, it’s important to note that Jagwasi and Omari were both successful musicians when Eagleson met them, so it’s not like he plucked some amateurs who would’ve been farming otherwise. Furthermore, I hadn’t investigated Benga music prior to hearing Extra Golden, maybe never would have, so at the very least, before even hearing one note of music, I’ve learned something valuable from the band.