Sound Travels this week to East Africa for some effervescent afropop, sharp-tongued hip hop and other indigenous goodness. Tuesday, was all about the East African country Kenya. I played a couple of tunes from an amazing compilation from the Rough Guide folks. And really, comps like these are an excellent window into many worlds as well as a good starting point for your own research; they give you a variety of names to pursue.
What was on tap today? Well, we went super vintage to start, with a guitar-driven Benga gem from International de Nelly. Wish I could tell you more about this group; in fact, if you know anything about them please share. Their sound is gorgeous, upbeat and simmers at the edge of infectious till you simply need to dance some of the vibes off. Same with the cut from Kikai Kilonzo's "Mama Sofi Part. 2" (why is part 2 always the better half of a song?). Kilonzo was a major player in the Kenyan music scene in the 60's and 70's, crossing Kenyan inter-societal divisions by singing in Swahili as well as his native Kamba language; and doing it soooo well!
International de Nelly "Onge Mwom Mwandu" Special African Sound 76
Kikai Kilonzo "Mama Sofi Pt. 2" The Rough Guide To Kenyan Music
Played some Luo music from Kenya as well with Nyota Ndogo's "Chereko" from the same Rough Guide to Kenya. A song I've played many times on the radio. And the finish was with some Kenyan hip hop from the Black Star – Kenyan Hip Hop comp that just came out; Bamboo the name of this group rapping in Swahili. Like much of what I play here on Sound Travels, the language may be foreign to you but the flow, the dips and dives of the lingo are the proof I look for when flavor is what I seek. Take a peek…
Nyota Ndogo "Chereko" The Rough Guide To Kenya
Bamboo "Usilete Compe" Black Star Kenya Hip Hop