Music has always held a special position in Kenya. Previously, traditional or cultural music was more dominant. However, this has been replaced by modern music. The new music either features a fusion of the old and new, or completely new music genres. The following are the 10 recommended Kenyan music you should listen to:
See Also: 10 Coolest and Popular Eritrean Music
Here’s Our List of Top 10 Kenyan Music Genre
Kenya is one country where gospel music has gained a broad acceptance. Yea, gospel music is the most successful type of music in Kenya at the moment. It is receiving massive airplay from radio and television stations in the region. This has led to many gospel artists venturing into the scene. Some of the notable artists include “Jimmy Gait, Betty Bayo, Size 8, Holy Dave, Bahati, Hope Kid, Ruth Wamuyu, Lois Kim, and many others.
Genge is a form of music that originated from a specific location in the country’s capital of Nairobi. This music is representative of the people living in the eastern side of the city. It is associated with the “Calif” Record Label. Some of the artists in this stable you would fancy listening to include “Jua Kali, Q-tasi, Alahola, Nonini, P-Unit, and others.
Kapuka was also discovered within the same period as “genge”. It was a kind of show of might between the two genres. Although there are several production houses for this music, it was originally connected to the “Ogopa” Djs. Some “Kapuka” musicians include Nameless, Boomba Clan, Collo, Mustapha, Kendi, Marya, Avril, among many others.
4. Ghetto Hip-Hop
Although this type of music was influenced by Western or American Hip-hop, it was localised to reflect the culture of the people specifically those living in the Kenyan ghettos. It has undergone a renaissance since its discovery almost two decades ago. The pioneers included “Kalamashaka” and “Ukoo Fulani”. Current musicians include “Cannibal, Machizi, La balaa, Mau mau, and others.
5. Kenyan Rock
A person who appreciates rock may also find Kenyan rock quite ideal. Although rock in Kenya has not moved as fast as other forms of music, it is starting to receive some attention. There are only a few rock groups in Kenya with “Murfys flaw, Last years tragedy, Claymore project, and Parking lot grass” being most popular.
Most Popular Kenyan Music Genre
6. Afro Fusion
Afro fusion is basically a blending of African and western tunes. This music will include the use of African percussion as well as Western instruments. This will also apply to the vocals which will be reflective of both African and western music for instance Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and pop. Popular music comes from artists such as “Mercy Myra, Eric Wainaina, Yunasi, Suzanne Owiyo, Atemi,and others.
Benga is one of the oldest Kenya music. It has been played for almost half a century and resembles the music from the Caribbean or Cuban region. The tunes and instrumentals have borrowed a leaf from Samba, and Rumba. Artists who perform in Benga include” Ken wa Maria, Tony Nyadundo, and the late D.O. Misiani”.
Kenyan rap is among the fastest growing genres of music. Although it has been around for more than a decade, new and fresh talent is always been discovered. In actual fact, rap musicians are among the best performing artists.They include “Octopizzo, Rabbit, Bamboo, Abbas, Kaligraph, X-tatic, Muthoni the Drummer queen” among others.
9. Spoken Word
Spoken word has always raised eyebrows when it comes to music. Some view it as poetry, while other appreciate it as any other music. Spoken word performances have brought new ideas of providing entertainment. This includes collaborating with other musicians as well as adding instrumentals to the artistic performance. Music to watch out for includes that from “Jemedari, Number 8, Specifyd” and others.
10. Afro pop
Afropop also known as Kenyan pop is also among the oldest music in the country. It can be traced back over half a century. The music will feature acoustics from different cultures within Kenya as well as beyond. It will also be performed using traditional instruments. Notable artists comprise, Gidi, majimaji, them mushrooms, and many others.
Although the above list features the 10 recommended Kenyan music you should listen to, the music scene in Kenya has become very pulsating. This has led to new types of music coined based on regional settings such as taarab. There is music that originates from specific Kenyan ghettos such as genge, or ghetto rap. The age group also defines the kind of music, for instance Benga, or afro pop.