- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 May
- Kiwomera Emmeeme (It Is Sweet to the Soul)
- Mujje (An Invitation)
- Yaye (Mourning)
- Ndituusa Wa? (How Long?)
- Gunyma (Love Is a Wonderful Thing)
- Gwe Wangamba (You Said)
- Zibasanze (Woe)
- Tugilabilile (Let's Take Care of the Earth)
- Amazima (Truth)
- Utama Wa Mapenzi (Love Expressed in Swahili)
- He Won't Leave You
As an independent artist originally from Uganda, Omega Bugembe Okello is recording world music sung primarily in her native tongue. You'd think interest in her music would be rather limited because of that, yet she's finding some impressive promotion across America. Not only is her third album,
Omega sang with the world-renowned African Children's Choir at the age of four (half the age of most members), and was raised a Christian at the orphanage her mother operates. That upbringing kindled her sense of social concern, so she moved to the U.S. at 16 to study biology and health advocacy. But Omega ultimately turned to music as the avenue through which she wanted to give back to society and serve others, eventually becoming a full-time singer in 2006.
This album offers plenty of ethnic rhythms and sounds, yet to Omega's credit, she never settles for the typical Africanized pop clichés (e.g
Pleasant and authentic as it all is, the language barrier will be a major drawback for the average American listener. At least Omega provides lyrics in both Lugandan and English, allowing listeners to understand her and see how faith inspires her songwriting (including the environmentally conscious "Let's Take Care of the Earth"). And the songstress does perform in English for the bonus track, "He Won't Leave You," an African flavored gospel-pop radio single produced by Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary).
It's enough to make me long for Omega to release an African-English hybrid that's more accessible to the U.S. market at large while still remaining true to her musical roots. But then there's something to be said for a Christian album geared specifically to the African market. Language barrier and the viability of world music styling aside, Christian listeners can't help but be inspired and impressed by Omega's uncompromising expression of faith and mission.