Oka VangaOka Vanga
Album: Tales Of Eyam
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 5

Oka Vanga won the Fatea Instrumental Album Of The Year Award for 2014 with their album "Pilgrim" so it was a bit of a surprise to discover that four of the five tracks on the follow up EP, "Tales Of Eyam" are songs, albeit a very pleasant one.

Essentially Oka Vanga are still the same guitar duo that delivered "Pilgrim" and the rich interactions between their two instruments still make lush music together, the real difference is that in the interim Angela has found the confidence to reveal her voice to the world and a damned fine voice it is to whether it's carrying the song, "Song Of The Dell" or driving the song forward, "Witching Hour".

As the title implies, "Tales Of Eyam" is a concept EP with the songs worked around the historic and heroic Derbyshire village of Eyam , where rather than fleeing the plague when it arrived, the village chose to live and die together rather than risk taking it to surrounding villages . They self imposed a quarantine which ultimately meant many more of them would die in the hope it would save countless more lives.

The four songs that make up the sung part of the EP really captures well the decisions and the consequences of those actions and whilst those actions wrote the village into the history books that was only a bi-product, "Tales Of Eyam" concentrates on the strength in standing up to your fears, rather than giving in to them, lessons that can still be learned today.

I really like the new direction that Oka Vanga have taken to add voice to their dynamic guitar interplay and I also really like that they are not afraid to keep to a pure instrumental when it's called for, such as the sign off track on the EP, "Out Of The Shadows" which allows someone that has listened to the EP in the conventional start to finish style to take out two and a half minutes to reflect.

Neil King