Music is an independent language that cuts through effortlessly. which can be clustered according to the era it was made in. Despite the sampling, there is no music era that sounds the same as the other simply because time changes and so does music.
The music industry in Kenya alone is growing in leaps and bounds. Resilient artistes are doing their best to stay at the top and those who are new want their voices to be heard or at least get their foot in the door in the entertainment scene. This translates to the emerging of new music styles, genres and the beginning of a new era.
When new music styles come up, some are immediately celebrated, a few are reproached, others are ignored and some don’t get recognition at all while the rest take a very long time to get noticed. It is the music that changes the era that is very rare to come by.
The most celebrated Kenyan boy-band Sauti sol happen to be the most notable game changers in the music Industry of this age. Of course they did not pop up yesterday as they have worked their way to domination and with their evident hard work they sure are staying at the top for 9 years now.
They have succeeded in incorporating Swahili, mother tongue and very minimal English into their music and owning their unique fusion of genres without sounding like an obvious bongo track. They might have been deliberate with their choice or it might have been an experiment but it worked efficiently for them.
Their first single “Lazizi” from their debut album “Mwanzo” was definitely a hit, as it got them massive airplay and increased their fan base. It is their second album “Sol Filosofia” that got them bagging accolades from every front including Best Music Video award for their single “Coming Home” at the 2011 Kisima Music Awards.
They are currently riding high on the fame of their third album “Live and die in Afrika” which is yet to be of officially launched. They are currently scheduled to tour Africa having received international recognition.
Camp Mulla might have gone their separate ways but as a group they definitely trail blazed where no other Kenyan artiste had explored. The alternative hip-hop group was even compared to the phenomenal Black Eyed Peas due to their out of the box music style.
Their talent and music was appreciated across the borders as well. They received several nominations including MTV Europe Music Awards for best African act. Their debut single “party don’t Stop” featuring Collo and “fresh all day” got them a number of Channel O Music Video Awards nominations.
They opened for big acts such as P-Square, Naeto C as well as Flavor during their period of influence. No other group has come close to topping what they pioneered in East Africa. They may not come back any time soon but they sure did win fans that are ever keen for their return.
Enter Elani, the dynamic trio that took the entertainment scene by storm when they first released “Jana Usiku” in September 2013 which received massive airplay. You can tell they are not trying to be like everyone else as they have carved their niche for themselves with their creativity and simplicity.
During their previous interviews they said they want to put Kenya and East Africa on the map and so far they are doing just that. The urban afro group have lived up to their expectation and even surpassed it.
There’s no stopping for them as they have released hit after hit last year alone; “Barua ya Dunia,” “zuzu” & “Koo koo” which got them a Channel O Awards 2014 nomination for Most Gifted Video. Big things are in store as well as they will feature in the return of Coke studio Africa season 3 alongside prominent acts from all over the continent.
Music promoter and arts marketer Buddha Blaze said “the trend-setters have definitely shown that the Kenyan industry has something different to offer. The opportunity to grow and make an industry as big as that of Nigeria is here.”
Live concerts now thrive on such eclectic styles of music as they offer versatility and better entertainment than the “copy and paste” acts. “What we need are artistes that are there for the passion. Most of those who’ve made it are there for the passion because they are well educated and could be doing something else but they choose to pursue music as an actual career and understand their music as the product and package it well” Blaze added.
Just-A-Band known for the “Ha He” fame, which most of us will remember “Makmende” instead, are among the artistes with originality no one can imitate. Made up of diversely artistic individuals the group has succeeded in fusing genres to come up with an unconventional music style. They are the pioneer Kenyan House/Funk/Disco band and are currently working on a graphic novel born out of their love for animation illustrations.
In the same fashion, STL, Rabbit, Muthoni Drummer Queen, Fena, Xtatic, Octopizzo, Kagwe, Hart the band, Sarabi and the likes have set themselves apart since inception.
The Kenyan music industry is at its finest with artistes constantly giving out content that is better than their last.