Oakland-based psych outfit Orchestra Gold is rooted in the decade plus-long collaboration between Malian-born vocalist Mariam Diakite and Oakland-based guitarist Erich Huffaker. The duo first met in Bamako, Mali back in 2006. At the time, Huffaker was very busy: he was working for a nonprofit, studying djembe and dunun (drums) and immersing himself in the city’s burgeoning music scene when he had met and befriended Diakite. The duo recognized a deep and profound musical connection, which led to Diakite relocating to the States to start a band — Orchestra Gold.
Since then, the Oakland-based psych outfit specializes in a kaleidoscopic sound that meshes Malian folk with psych rock and elements of Afrobeat and soul: Diakite delivers heartfelt and thought-provoking lyrics in her native Bambara language over a trippy and funky soundscape featuring swinging rhythms, funky brass and scorching guitar riffs. The outfit’s goal is to transcend national and musical borders while being a healing force.
Orchestra Gold’s third album Medicine is slated for a January 20, 2023 release. The album reportedly sees the band firmly continuing their pursuit of spreading and healing and community through music. Medicine‘s latest single “Koniya (No Benefit to Envy)” features shuffling rhythms, scorching feedback and distortion-driven riffs serving as a lysergic and sinuous bed Diakite’s gorgeous vocal. The end result is a song that arches upward towards the cosmos while rooted in earthly matters.