The highly anticipated new EP from Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon exploring a deeper sound and featuring ‘African lioness’ Wiyaala.


Following on from the successes of their first two LPs, “Kalba” and “Small Small”, Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon return with the “Kontonbili EP”. A collection of seven tracks that trace the traditional West African roots of their sound whilst adding their unique touch, largely courtesy of Isaac’s xylophone, Sonny Johns’ folky embellishments and the vocal prowess of powerful Ghanaian songstress Wiyaala.

The lead single “Hado Deeli” roughly translates to “My Rival” and is a vibrant discussion between two rivals, one of whom is always making a fuss about anything and everything, even when things are all good! “Gargar”, with its collaboration of xylophone, whistles, Wiyaala’s effervescent vocals and relentless groove represents, quite literally, the band’s “joining together” for this EP. In contrast, “I Know” sees Sonny Johns takes over lead vocal duties to lament the breakdown of a relationship accompanied by muted horns and Wiyaala’s soothing backing vocals. “Nimmbalia” continues in a mellow and reassuring tone before emerging as one of the most uplifting and simultaneously fierce cuts on the EP! The traditional version of “Bawa” – the original take of which can be found on last year’s “Small Small” LP – strips things back a little, before culminating in a battle of xylophone, whistles and choir. “Yeri Villa” has a wonderfully laid back, sun drenched feel with some truly beautiful vocal refrains, and finally – only available on the digital version – comes the deeply percussive and trance inducing “Darpeny”, rounding off a rather stunning EP from this cross continental outfit.

All tracks feature Ghanaian singer, song-writer, model and actor, Wiyaala. With a strong fanbase in Africa and beyond, “the lioness” made her mark on Wah Wah 45s and BBC 6 Music last year when she featured on the A-listed “Senye”, described as “perfection” by Annie Mac and “pure joy!” by Tash LC.

Reactions & Radio Play

Radio play from Deb Grant (New Music Fix, BBC 6 Music), Don Letts (BBC 6 Music), Colleen Cosmo Murphy (Balearic Breakfast), John Warr (Afrobase, Totally Radio, UK), Debbie Golt (Resonance FM), Bob Hill (Illicit Grooves, UK)

“Absolutely gorgeous, as usual, from Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon.” Deb Grant (BBC 6 Music, UK)

“Absolutely love that one.. Lovely EP and artwork!” Colleen Cosmo Murphy (Balearic Breakfast, UK)

“Great!” Erica McKoy (Worldwide FM / Various, UK)

“Joyous rootsy EP, strong vocals as ever from Wiyaala.” John Warr (Totally Radio, UK)

“Awesome album.” Veronique Prebolin (Radio Krim, France)

“Serious African vibes! Nice!” Raj Selli (Solar Radio, UK)

“Great EP!” DJ Angola (Various, USA)

“I love the authenticity of this music. A beautiful album with songs that show a wide expression from this part of the African continent. Excellent.” DJ Osric (RTR FM, Australia)

“It’s a really fantastic project.” Ivan Mera (Higher Club, Spain)

“Nice music!” Nicole Finnerty (Kane FM, UK)

“True sounding.” Mate (Radio Agora, Austria)

“Beautiful vibes!” Junior (Record Breakin’, USA)

“Lovely…will be playing on loose fm for sure.” Cal Gibson (Loose FM, UK)

“Vibrant sounds, thanks!” Chris Knight (Kelburn Garden Party, Scotland)

“Quality album!!!!” Mark Bailey (Radio Corax, Germany)

“Magnifique roots et actuel.” Jean Marc Baehler (Couleur 3, Switzerland)

“Great record.” Robert Lochmann (Radio X, Germany)

“Brilliant! On air a must!” Olgierd (Sofa Surfing, Poland)

“Sweet!” Olivier Cavaller (De La Bonne Musique, France)

“Very nice music. Love this band!” Tom Strauch (Switchstance Recordings, Germany)

“Absolute outstanding album from Isaac Birituro, back to the roots of Africa.” Amar Kabouche (Fauve Radio, Hong Kong)

“Very nice!” Sven Thomschke (Radio Z, Germany)

“Love it. Brilliant stuff.” Bob Hill (Illicit Grooves, UK)

“Excellent Afro beats from Isaac and friends, quality production for earlobes.” DJ Abbo (Stomp Radio, UK)

“Nice ones.” Tjerk (Armada Music, The Netherlands)

“A more laid-back rootsy selection here, it seems. There’s a clearer presence of traditional instruments such as balafon & percussion in the mix, driving the tunes as only they can. Wiyaala never fails to please, her voice suits a variety of musical approaches and the arrangements reflect the efficacy of older music from the culture.” Drummie Dave (Various, UK)

“Followers of Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon will recall that they had a track on thier ‘Small Small’ album called ‘Senye’ that featured Wiyaala. As it was so successful, it was only a matter of time before we had more. And this EP is lots more.

The “Ghanaian songstress” is so expressive with her vocals, she is a perfect match for Isaac’s xylophone and Sonny John’s “Afrolktronica” (a healthy mix of folk, highlife and soul). Whilst the single ‘Hado Deeli’ is now quite familiar as a hit on the radio, the rawness of ‘Gargar’ is brilliant as there’s a great mix with the penny whistle and then, get ready, ‘I Know’ (with Sonny on lead vocals) sounds like the start of their “Arthur Russell” period; all we need now is a dub version and it’s New York/North London trendy.

Wiyaala certainly has a great voice and sounds equally at home on the traditional ‘Bawa’, the minimal ‘Yeri Villa’ and ‘Darpeny’ as the Afro-funk-house ‘Nimmbalia’ (this really needs to be a longer track – where’s the disco 12″ version?)

This is project has always been exceptional but it’s now on the next level as taste makers on Jazz FM, BBC 6 Music and your open minded DJs are getting excited about; let’s make sure that they’re at WOMAD next year.” Gerry Hectic (You And The Music, UK)


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