O.M.F.O.–Our Man from Odessa–is the master of crossover par excellence. Born in the port of Odessa (Ukraine), German Popov emigrated to Amsterdam in 1989. As an explorer, German Popov loves to travel around Central Asia making live recordings of everything from the traditional songs and melodies of the steppes to the modern restaurant bands of Tashkent with their tinny keyboard sound. So welcome to electronic Walachia, where folk meets Kraftwerk and where bizarre instruments and electronic sounds combine to create a whole new musical dimension. With his ideas and his musicians he bravely goes where no human ear has dared to go before. Futurism meets folklore imaginaire: Ladies and Gentlemen, we are floating in Eastern European space.
To promote his projects, OMFO put together a line-up of five extraordinary people: the Transylvanian gypsy wunderkind Vasil Nedea on cimbalom and accordion, the Azeri sci-fi writer and virtuoso Rassul Kazimov on tar and guitar, the freedom fighter and storyteller Bakhtiyar Eybaliyev as percussionist and singer, often compared to a nightingale, and Fay Lovsky, The Lady from Beyond, who plays extremely rare instruments such as theremin and the singing saw, adding an eerie and mysterious mood to the music. All these musicians took part in the recording of We are the Shepherds.


We are the Shepherds

Label: Essay Recordings

When Shepherds fall in love they sing… The melodies of their songs are slow and melancholic. The lyrics is naïve and beautiful. When in outer space, far away from local discotheques, their creative spirit awakens and they invent new musical instruments. Their simple drums, flutes and mouth-harps become theremins, synthesizers and sampling sequencers. This is how old songs are transformed and updated, gaining a new meaning in a new environment. And where do we go from here? It is a question we are pondering over now. Shepherds of the Universe unite!
A great album and one of the best examples of how tradition with modern rhythm makes a perfect marriage. (Progressive Homestead) German Popov pulls off a startling stunt here. The Kraftwerk nod of the title hints at what’s inside – sharply flavoured East European instruments and melodies getting a highly tweaked electro treatment. Add to that a penchant for Jamaican riddims and dub production and you’ve got an incongruous amalgam that works amazingly well.

Omfo - We are the Shepherds