Ian Eagleson has been studying Kenyan music, specifically Benga, for a really long time. So long, in fact, he will have a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan College by the end of this year. That’s the sort of dedication that rarely attracts accolades because it wrongfully alludes to a stuffy, overly academic approach to music. Not so, in the case of Extra Golden, a band Eagelson formed with former Golden bandmate, Alex Minoff, and his Kenyan friends, Otieno Jagwasi and Onyango Omari. For one, Eagleson is a practicing musician unlike those nerdy musicologists who taught your Intro to Jazz class. He’s paid his dues traveling the land in a shitty van with his sweaty compadres playing in mostly empty venues. That’s the kind of music professor you can respect!
His expertise in Benga, coupled with ten years in Golden (a really awesome band that didn’t get it’s due back in the day but probably could now, and so, should re-form immediately) make Extra Golden a genuine expression of global rock fusion, or ‘Brock,’ as Ian calls it. Though the band netted some positive reviews for their 2009 release, Thank You Very Quickly, it was nothing like the overly unctuous reception the less sophisticated, Vampire Weekend, received from the major music magazines.
Whatever, their inability to hear greatness is our gain! We can smugly proclaim, “We were into Extra Golden before Spin magazine.” And that’s all that really matters. That, and the possibility we could see a Golden/Trans Am/Extra Golden tour some day in the future.
Visit these websites to purchase Extra Golden/Golden or African Music:
Photo Courtesy: Ian Eagleson