Out of sheer curiosity: I did a search of List of Kenyan Muscians on google, the 1st option that comes is the wikipedia (of course), and the following are the ones listed: Fundi Konde, David Kabaka, Eric Wainaina,Daniel Owino Misiani,Suzzana Owiyo,Tony Nyadundo, David Mathenge a.k.a Nameless, Ken Ring, Fadhili William >> Some of whom I havn’t really listened to their songs.
Then I think to myself, ok, I expected more the local artists so I go ahead and search name by name (its curiosity not idleness) , The likes of SautiSol,Wahu,Redsun, Amani, Jua Kali, Collo, Kaz, Atemi, Abass, Mad Traxx there so many (list is endless) some of whom I don’t even know their names.
This really gets me thinking, considering that am not an avid radio listener (due to lack of time) and as a result don’t hear most of the local music. Good thing I haven’t yet bought a car(coming soon), so I use public transport and they generously play Kenyan Music videos sold to them by the local dj’s (called Dj Mixes).
A few things I have noticed is that Kenyan Musicians/Local Artistes.
Number one: They can be quite poor entertainers, here are my reasons for thinking that way:
Some music videos suck big time, they never go out of (read ‘some’), they are low budget, unclear, boring, disorganized, like you watch them and you just want to laugh you’re heart because of how hilarious the artists look (you can imagine am in the matatu watching such a video and am really trying to hold my laughter in). The only ones I can say I have totally enjoyed and gone gigigaga are videos for : Wahu, Nameless, Redsun, Amani, Sauti sol.
They never go out of their comfort zones to do something better. It’s always the same old, their songs are like the national anthem…its like they are all fighting to sound the same. Same crowd, same venues (such that you can see two videos having the same cars or grounds)… its like they just run out of ideas and do what has been done before.
They are not adventurous in exploring the music world : Instruments, different beats, different content — How many of the musioans do you know that play an instrument to spice up their songs…?? eeerrr one or two, at least for those who are known by the masses, Eric Wainaina and Harry Kimani…am tryng to think of others :: Not ringing a bell.
They concentrate too much on the party scene and forget there are others parts of life Kenyans are dying to hear of … and that’s Why I think Nigerian, Tanzanian, Ugandan Music is flourishing … Although I can give props to Sauti Sol, Atemi, Linda Muthama(TPF1), STL and many others that I probably haven’t mentioned, maybe because of my ignorance or they haven’t mingled with the public.
They think they have made it Big already (which is a good thought if you put it into action) … the fact that I havn’t/never been convinced to buy you’re latest album to me already makes that thought NOT a reality.
Number two : Their Marketing strategies … To be honest I think the channels they use to get through people are obsolete (read 1900). They have to up their game in this day and age. You can’t just use word of mouth and expect people to know about your songs. Nowadays you have to launch your albums, have concerts, package your products well.
Now that I have mentioned Packaging of the product … this I mean by the content, the originality of the music, the outward appearance – I should feel that the Sh.900 – Sh. 1500 am spending on the CD is for one that I can listen to as many times because the songs in it are interesting and also be proud to have bought it.
Some album launches I have heard of:
Redsan launched his album – “Versatility’ released under Dutty Sounds Records.
Jua Kali “Ngeli Ya Genge” – am not a genge fun but I think he penetrated the market (international) okay…he tried.
Juliani – “Mtaa Mentality” — At least I got to hear of it since it was announced in church a couple of times.
Those are the few I have at least heard of … considering I don’t mingle among local artists so I don’t know who’s released what. So I wonder am Kenyan and I barely know 1/4 of the Local Artists here, so what about a foreign person who doesn’t even know wgere to satrt looking, let alone the names… there’s something they’re doing wrong… The only time I get to hear of them is when there are scandals and they are in the newspapers or something similar to that.
Number three: Why is it that I know more of the International artists? This time I won’t blame it on my ignorance. I conclude that they’re not using the right channels to disseminate information about themselves, in this day and age thank God for technology, USE it…I believe its one of the cheapest means :) They should have biographies/ websites / blogs something that SCREAMS OUT what you’ve got and why I should listen to your music. What your music is about, your achievements and so on. We would like to know the people whose songs we listen to you know!
Big Up to websites that are on point, and has content that helps me know more about the Kenyan entertainment industry:
http://www.iamblackstar.com – Blackstar Entertainment (This website I must say, is AMAZING, check it out!!, and what they do as well is Quality…seen them do it and they never disappoint.)
Those are the few (lol 2) that I have seen and know of, it would be nice if people told me of more… Then maybe I would have something better to say.. Either way am still proud of my people :) . I was just being real on my thought…and its just a blog so nothing serious ;) but with that maybe some Local Artists can try #StyleUp a bit
Otherwise all said and done, I would also appreciate the Local Actors – Now those I give them a #ThumbsUp because they can keep me glued to the T.V , I can proudly say that Kenyan actors are nowadays sooo on point. If only I had a way of directly appreciating I would…just that am not the kind to ask for an autograph or scream when I see you across the road..but am proud.
Signing Off — *Kawi*