Berklee president Roger H. Brown and The Nyumba Yetu Band released a new music video for the song “The Beautiful Ones” on September 12 on the Berklee Youtube channel. The recording took place in Berklee’s Shames Family Scoring Stage. The song was written by Brown and Nyumba Yetu Band members Richard Curzi and Jason Sibi-Okumu ‘14.
The title of the song is inspired by and taken from the 1968 novel by author Ayi Kweh Armah of Ghana. The recitation of family history under a mugumo tree is based on the writer’s experience in Mumias, Kenya with Frances Lutomia. The band is made up of performers from around the world, including Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Australia, Venezuela, and the United States. Current students Lisa Oduor-Noah,Niu Raza, Njoki Karu, and Alexis Soto contributed to the performance with vocals and percussion, while Brown played drums on the song. The Nyumba Yetu Band and Brown previously released a song together, “Everyday (Siku ni Siku),” in 2015.
“It is an honor to see Berklee students, alumni, staff, and friends of the college come together to record such a meaningful and beautiful song,” said Sammy Lutomia, a native of Kenya and founder of Global Youth Groove, a nonprofit that annually brings Berklee faculty, staff, and students to Kenya. “Roger Brown & The Nyumba Yetu Band have created a celebratory song that conveys the joy of Kenyan life.”
Earlier this year, Lutomia traveled to Kenya with Berklee students, bass players and faculty members Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey, along with several alumni and volunteers for Global Youth Groove. While there, trip participants performed throughout the country, conducted master classes and workshops, and taught music lessons to children.
The song is a follow-up to a collaboration between Brown and the band from 2015