By Dennis Asiimwe
I don’t quite remember when Aluru dropped; I think it was about 2011. The song is taken off a self-titled album that Myko released just before his concert. The song wasbold and definitive of Myko in several ways. When I first heard it, I immediately guessed it was a lullaby – African cultures all have lullabies, and they all appeal to that part of the brain that impacts soothing.
My guess proved correct as in follow up interviews to the release of the song, Myko said it was inspired by a lullaby, one from his mother’s side of the family, who are Acholi. The arrangement of the song is unusual by default: Myko works through the verses on acoustic guitar, with the hook coming in as a vocal chorus.
This is where the song really is about Aluru being definitive about Myko in several ways. He is a talented multiple instrumentalist and it is impossible the ignore the wonderfully haunting sound of the traditional tube fiddle in the background, tagging along to the guitar and the vocalists. And yes, that is Myko on the tube fiddle.
It also taps into a legacy that is obviously close to him – that of his mother’s people, and their undying sense of hope. The song is about a woman soothing her child by singing to him that while she is going out, he shouldn’t fret – she will be bringing back something from her trip to the garden, supposedly a delicacy, a bird or something. I am guessing the bird is the Aluru.
The song worked oddly well with live music audiences – everyone responds to the soothing melody, and the beautiful timeless harmonies on the hook.
But for me, it’s how Myko expresses himself on the acoustic guitar. He is eloquent on that instrument, and gets lost in it as he tells his story. He transforms into a sort of pied piper, and is impossible to ignore.
Aluru made the people in any audience proud to have a son of the soil playing their music- for those who knew the song, it was like magical nostalgia, and for those that didn’t. they responded to the hypnotic call that is a lullaby, which are often songs about safety, warmth, provision, and simple, constant love.