Tag Archives: Naomi Wachira

Naomi Wachira’s “Song of Lament” is an Ode to Resilience

Naomi Wachira

Photo by Janell Kallender.

Some albums communicate a truth, urgency, and humanity so profound that it resonates long after it ends; singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira’s Song of Lament is one of those albums. It speaks to the political, economic, and cultural strife of the present age, while its beauty soothes, inspiring the listener to look beyond these turbulent times to remember how much we desperately need one another in order to grow.

Born to a middle-class Kenyan family, Wachira moved to the U.S. as a student, earning an M.A. in Theology at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. “I know how dehumanizing it feels when you’re asked to prove that you are a human who deserves to be here,” she says, discussing the immigrant experience from her home in Seattle. In 2011, she discarded her day job to pursue music full-time, resulting in her self-titled debut.

Song of Lament, its follow-up, is an album influenced by world tragedies and personal struggles, brought to life by Wachira’s formidable ability to mine the darkest human experiences and return with lyrical jewels. It’s also an album on which she moves outside of her musical comfort zone. Producer Eric Lilavois recorded Lament in Seattle’s historic London Bridge Studio, which has hosted more than a few iconic local bands. Wachira describes the experience as one of her best thus far. “Working with Eric was so good for my soul,” she explains. Exploring influences from her childhood, everything from reggae to rock, was a breath of fresh air. “I liberated myself from the need to sound like anyone else. I write in more than one style. I loved Southern rock when I was in my 20s, and you can hear a little bit of that influence in ‘Up in Flames,’ and that classical feel with strings in both ‘Where is God’ and ‘Farewell.’  I also love the combination of Kikuyu [language] and strings on ‘Farewell’ because that’s something I’ve never heard before.”

Naomi Wachira

We spoke to Wachira about humanizing “the other,” being a proud “African girl,” and making music that transforms hearts and minds.

Continue reading