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Nubiyan Twist and Onipa contribute to Forest Sound Archive

Funded by the London Waltham Forest Council and Arts Council England, as part of their cultural revival fund, the profits from new compilation, recorded during confinement, will be donated to the local food bank Eat or Heat.

More than a dozen musicians from the London borough of Waltham Forest have overcome the restrictions of confinement by creating diverse, noteworthy music; both to remind us of the importance of culture in these strange times and to help those who have been hardest hit by this social and economic health crisis.

This unique compilation brings together local talents such as composers Charles Watson and Paul Mosley, violinist Emma Smith of the chamber group Elysian Quartet, and above all, Tom Excell who is part of the Afro-jazz collective Nubiyan Twist and founder of the Onipa duo, an electronic sensation made up of Ghanaian rhythms. The single chosen to offer a taste of the compilation is none other than the track “Walato,” by Onipa, that features Mamadou Sarr and Luke Wynter. It is an irresistible call to dance, weaving Senegalese grooves into modern electronic impulses. The title was simply born from collaboration between neighbours, as Mamadou Sarr and Tom Excell from Onipa happen to live next door to each other. Originally from Dakar, Mamadou is an exceptionally talented percussionist and has played for many years with the legendary Baaba Maal. They are joined by Onipa singer K.O.G., multi-instrumentalist Luke Wynter who is also a member of Nubiyan Twist, and Golden Mean.

The whole project is organised and directed by Sam Jones, music producer and artistic director of the Waltham Forest Music Hall, for whom this compilation is just the beginning of a major redevelopment of Waltham Forest’s public space and support for local artists. He says: “We are a group of musicians, singers, instrumentalists and producers who call this borough home. This, our archive, is born out of a collective desire to collaborate and galvanise at a time when the world has changed beyond that which we knew it to be before. This is our local response to Covid-19 isolation and distancing. We are among a number of musicians who have had our work cancelled, tours pulled and sessions set back. We’re not playing live to you, our audiences, but we know that part of who we are is to provide the backdrop, the soundtrack to people in isolation and again as and when we come back together as a society. This is our raison d’etre and our offer to fill the public spaces with sound, which binds us together.” 

Forest Sound Archive will be released on 18 december via Music Halls.


1    Samantha Whates and Paul Mosley – Irene Dainty

2    Charles Watson and CJ Mirra – It Must Be Night

3    Onipa feat. Mamadou Saar and Luke Wynter – Walato

4    Emma Smith and Sea Fog – Words

5    Rachel Hayter and Tal Janes – Split Leaf

6    Lavil Barr and Api Ascaso – La Perla

7    Noga Ritter and Liran Donin – Close Apart