“Wangeci” by Kenyan singer, Stan.
I have a special bias towards this song.
Wangeci is my middle name and every time I listen to this song, I imagine that it was especially written with me as Stan’s muse. Cheap thrills I tell you but the truth is, it always makes me smile.
Which is ironic because the Wangeci in this song is actually contemplating suicide, and Stan is trying to convince her not to give up on life, and that things will be better in the morning.
This song is a few years old. 6 to be exact, which makes it perfect for a #FlashBackFriday post. It remains one of my favourites by an artist who I believe was way ahead of his time. Stan was one of the original crop at the Penya Africa stable, including Sauti Sol and Dela, who were produced by Wawesh.
Although diminutive in stature, Stan is one hell of a big performer. He’s been MIA for the past couple of years but I hope that’s only because he’s working on new stuff.
Also, special mention to Jim Chuchu for directing the video to this song. It’s a nice little vignette with a little unexpected twist.
"Ni Wewe" by Kenyan singer, Gachago.
Gachago calls himself the loving king. He's got a lovely voice, the kind that makes me feel tender.
Today, is a pretty mellow day.
I'm exhausted, a little sad and wallowing in nostalgia. This song is making me feel some type of way. Not much to say except, enjoy.
“Kitunguu” by Kenyan singer, Kalahi.
“Kitunguu” by Kenyan singer, Kalahi.
It usually takes a while for a song to grow on me. I don’t remember the last time I listened to a song and fell instantly in love with it. Even my favourite albums of all time took a few listens to grow on me. Not to say that because I don’t love it immediately I think it’s bad, it’s just that like lotion, I need repetitive stroking motions (listens, in this case), before it really sinks in. Lame analogy, I know, but it’ all I can give you right now. Bear with me.
Now, this song, on the other hand, has been playing in my head, resoundingly, since I first heard it on Friday. I had been eagerly waiting for it and I will say, it was well worth the wait. Her voice, the harmonies, the song itself, the premise….which I find hilarious.
Kalahi, in this song says that if you’re dating a guy that makes you cry, you’re dating a kitunguu. An onion. It's her very first release, produced by Polycarp Otieno of Sauti Sol.
I love it!
“I Wish” by Nigerian Singer, Waje.
A few times in my life, at the tail end of certain relationships/situationships, I have been so utterly heartbroken that I have wished, for a moment, to become immune to feelings, and to live in a cloud of numbness for a while.
Waje, in this song, expresses this sentiment in the most perfect of ways. The song starts with a strong, funky baseline that usually lifts my mood immediately. I love how this song’s groove is the antithesis of what the message is. While she complains of her “achey, break heart”, which she wishes she didn’t have, and sings about preferring to have her inside filled with stone, the song just makes me dance and channels my inner strong and sexy beast.
Yes, I said sexy beast.
I think this is a great break up song, or feel good song, or stuck-in-traffic “caraoke” song, or sing-in-the-shower song. It’s brilliant. Also, Waje has a voice and a half on her. She sings so beautifully! Her voice is everything you need to feel good in whatever moment you are in. With some caramel to top it off.
Special birthday greetings to the lovely songstress! Happy Birthday Waje!
This week has been overwhelmingly busy. I’m writing this from a set, where I’m in the midst of the final week of shooting for a TV series. I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and today, we also have night scenes to shoot. It’s a wonderful time doing one of the things I absolutely love with some pretty amazing people.
It’s been pretty hectic trying to find a moment to sit down to write anything for this series, and the only reason I can right now is because it’s raining, and we can’t shoot till it stops.
If you follow my Snapchat (misskihoro) shenanigans, you’ll know I had a bit of a downer on Monday when my car radio died. Now, I’m all about “caraoke” so driving in silence is, erm, difficult. But, I remedied that with some portable speakers so all is well.
This song, “Hollow”, has been the first on my morning playlist as I drive to set. Jim’s layered harmonies, which are his signature style, swell with energy as the song progresses and have the same effect on me as a strong dose of espresso. And then there’s that moment the beat drops. Perfect if, like me, you are NOT a morning person. This song infuses me with good vibes. My skin actually tingles.
His lyrics are simple, and very blunt in their meaning. Jim speaks of being hollow inside, empty with nothing to hide, being new, free from the past, ready to make new mistakes, and being a different person from who he was before. He says that the one you knew, has gone away. It makes me think of rebirth, freedom, a new life. Something I am craving spiritually. This song really does give me life, literally and figuratively.
I have loved it for 2 and a half years, since Jim released his “Imaginary Chains” EP for a collective creativity project we were working on at the time. He released it under the pseudonym “Adeiyu”.
Jim is a former member of Just A Band, and is a creative genius of mega proportions. He is a visual artist, award winning filmmaker as well as co-founder and Creative Director at The Nest. I could go on all day about him, or you could check him out on jimchuchu.com. He is amazing, and is also releasing new music. YAY for humanity.
"Come To You" by Kenyan singer, KAZ.
Sometimes we need a little mischievous fun and naughty light heartedness in our lives, and this song gives me just that. I giggle every time I sing along to it. I love me some word play and this song is brimming with it!
In this jam, Kaz reminisces about the night before, singing about what transpired between her and a "friend". I'll leave it to you to listen to the song to get the gist of it.
This song has only just been released today but to be honest I heard it about a couple of years ago when Kaz mentioned that she had worked on something. The hook is so catchy that even with just that one listen, this song has been playing in my head ever since, and sometimes I find myself singing it and mashing it up with other songs.
Kaz has been holding on to this gem for a while now, waiting for the right time to share it and she couldn't have picked a better day. Her birthday!
“Winning In Life” by Kenyan music collective, Just A Band.
So, I really love these guys. I really do. Yaani, SO much. I have been such a fan girl for so long, since way back when Jim would be on stage with them, singing into a mic, regardless of his pretty severe stage fright, right through their evolution as a band, living together in Just A House 1 and 2, watching as new members joined, and one left, as they explored and excelled in their various solo creative spaces, and continued to create and perform more music.
Three albums later, with a highly anticipated fourth on the way, Just A Band continue to tickle mine and so many others' fancy with their unadulterated dopeness. They are just so cool. When they started out, they were rejected by mainstream media for being "ahead of their time", but they pretty much just shrugged their shoulders and said, "Ok cool", and kept on being dope. At least that's how I imagine it.
Aside from great records, they are also such enigmatic and energetic performers. Their shows, of which they have put up both locally and internationally are renowned for how much they spew good vibes. Shout out to Mbithi, Dan, Blinky, Joe, Cedar, Richie and their amazing manager, Akisa. They make a winning team.
So many of their songs have been absolute favourites of mine, and to be honest, when I started this I was going to feature another one (or 5) of their songs. I couldn't decide. But then they dropped this one two days ago and I can't stop it from playing in my head all damn day. Blinky's vocals are prominent, as usual, in this jam, with Joe Were chiming in with some pretty sweet harmonies in the chorus. Cue Owuor Arunga's horns and this song gets me into overdrive. LOVE!
So, yeah. I love this jam. It encapsulates every single thought I have had about Just A Band since they began. They are winning in life, and their music makes me feel that way too.
You can also listen to the songs on Afrocentral, on HBR 103.5fm/hbr.co.ke every Sunday from 11am to 1pm EAT. This is my personal curation of African Musicians that I love and adore and I hope you get to discover one or two artists that you may have not known before this.
Make sure to keep up with the series daily on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #100DaysOfAfricanMusic across all the platforms.