Three of the five members of Kenyan/DC benga band Extra Golden are currently in need of help. Because of a rigged election, there has been an almost constant stream of rioting, causing massive destruction and destroying clubs, with curfews imposed on the ones that remain, preventing these musicians from performing and making money to support their families. Clearly this is not a great situation for Opiyo Bilongo, Onyango Wuod Omari, Onyango Jagwasi, and the countless other Kenyans who are forced into unlivable circumstances because of the rioting and political unrest. American Extra Golden members Ian Eagleson and Alex Minoff are doing everything they can to help their bandmates, and have asked for donations that will go directly to the other members.
To donate: go to Paypal, choose “send money” and when asked for the email address of the recipient enter “email@example.com”
After the jump you can read the full letter from Eagleson and Minoff, or see it at www.extragolden.com, where there is also a button available for easy donation to the fund.
“As many of you are probably aware, the political situation in Kenya is extremely volatile right now. There was a general election on December 27 whose pro status quo results have been universally condemned as rigged by the international community. Even the incumbent’s hand-picked election manager is unwilling to confirm his boss’s re-election as honest and fair. While the integrity of Kenya’s fragile democracy is at stake, it is the people who are suffering the most. Violence has spread throughout the country, with hundreds already murdered. Businesses that haven’t been destroyed are shut.
Opiyo Bilongo, Onyango Wuod Omari and Onyango Jagwasi are three members of Extra Golden who live in Nairobi. They all have large extended families for whose well-being they are entirely responsible. Of course, as musicians, that well-being is provided for through nightly work at clubs. With dusk-to-dawn curfews in place, these men are all unable to work, and a subsistence that was already hand-to-mouth has become non-existent. They have been forced to leave their homes, which have subsequently been looted. Their families have almost no food and no clean water. Even with the swiftest possible resolution to the country’s debilitating political situation, it is hard to foresee a time in the near future when these men will be able to go back to work.
As the bandmates and friends of these exceptional men, we are used to helping them out of financial jams but, as musicians ourselves, this critical situation is one that is simply beyond our own means. While the plights of Bilongo, Omari and Jagwasi are by no means unique in a country full of desperation, it is within our power to help them and their families directly. We are asking for donations of $5. Of course we will accept any amount you can muster, but we believe that with enough contributions of $5 we can make a huge difference in our friends’ lives.
To make a donation, please use the donate button below or go to www.paypal.com and choose “send money”. When asked for the email address of the recipient, enter firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to forward this message. We thank you in advance for your compassion and we hope that your help will enable us to compose a song of thanks for our next album.”