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:
I posted once before about music in East Africa (and Nigeria). Here is some more stuff from Nairobi I have been listening to recently. As far as I can tell Kenya’s music scene is a bit more intense than the other countries in the region. Tanzania’s stuff is less abrasive, a genre they call “bongo flava,” while most of the music that comes out of Kenya is more similar to the “crunk” found in the USA. I’m not sure where it fits in, but there’s a new-ish genre in Nairobi called “genge” and it’s pretty popular now. Of course the older people think it’s pure idiocy. Kids these days, hah! Continue Reading
I’m headed off to the coast for a few days because work’s been slow. This past weekend I was in Nairobi and I went to a UB40 concert. I had never heard of them before, but every Kenyan who I told I was going was very jealous. It turns out that they are a British Reggae band that sings a million songs I know you’ve heard, like Red Red Wine. I went with a few volunteers and some Kenyans and we had a good time dancing and hanging out.
Music and dancing is really big in Kenya. There’s plenty of “traditional” music around, but the pop scene is overflowing too. There are lots of rap and hip-hop artists in Kenya and Tanzania, and lately I discovered there is even a Somalian hip-hop scene. Oh, but once you enter my house it’s almost always all metal, all the time! Here’s some music to keep you busy while I’m gone. Continue Reading