Kenya is like a music factory, and it’s not just quantity: there is a diverse range of quality music in this country! Gospel, reggae, rap, you name it. I’m not sure if there is any local rock yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way. I’ve really come to appreciate Nairobi, though I don’t always understand it. The youth speak English and Swahili, but they’ve created an interesting hybrid, sheng, which evolves every single day. Sheng finds its way directly into Nairobi’s entertainment industry, so if you speak Swahili and you have no clue what the kids in Kenya are saying, you’re not alone!
Hii ngoma is “this music” and noma is sheng for “nice” or something like that. Basically, “this music is off the chains!” Also, if you haven’t seen Get Mziki.com‘s new music blog, you’re missing out! Enjoy these tracks from three of Nairobi’s most popular genge artists:
Nonini – Kadhaa
Jua Cali ft. Mejja – Bongo La Biashara
Bongo la biashara is the “brains of business”, I guess he’s talking about being a hustler. Jua Cali means “know Cali,” and he ain’t talking about California! California is an estate/suburb of Nairobi where this rapper comes from.
MadTraxx – Poa
Poa means “cool”. For instance, when someone in Kenya asks you, “Niaje, manze?” (“what’s up, dude?”) you can just respond “poa!” and everyone feels good. :)
I guess I’ll be listening to lots of new music when I move to Nairobi this week. You can expect more posts about music here in the coming months!