There is a lot of beautiful music made in Kenya. Once in a while, a hit song will come out that everyone identifies with. Some artists have penned powerful socially conscious lyrics to remind the people that they one and that the challenges that face them can be solved with a united front. Some of the musicians that have been noted for hits promoting tolerance and diversity include:
1. Eric Wainaina
Eric is perhaps best known for his patriotic songs. His song ‘Kenya Only’ was the national mourning song after the US embassy bombings in Nairobi that killed over 200 people. Eric was released another massive song ‘Nchi ya Kitu Kidogo’ which was a strong message against the evils of corruption. He also spoke out against extra judicial murders in the song ‘Ukweli.’
Eric has performed at different high profile events including Festival Mundial (2003) and New York Musical Theatre Festival (2009). He has also won numerous awards including some of the most prestigious African awards in music – the KORA Awards and AMAA African award.
2. UKoo Flani Mau Mau
Upendo Kote Olewenu Ombeni Funzo la Aliyetuumba Njia Iwepo (Ukoo Flani) or ‘Clan of Mau Mau’ has been an influential force on Kenya’s hip hop scene. The group is made up of musicians hailing from Nairobi, Mombasa and Tanzania. The group has made powerful hits on social justice and the need for Kenyans to stand together in demanding equal treatment for all. Rapping in sheng, Ukoo Flani has managed to raise issues affecting the youth including crime, unemployment and injustice. The group was 25 strong at its height and their number changes as musicians come and go. One of their greatest hits is ‘Angalia Saa’ which is about remembering those who have made sacrifices for the good of others.
Rufftone started off as a secular musician and switched to gospel music shortly after. His biggest break came with the collaboration effort in the song ‘Mwikulu.’ Rufftone went on to make other hits like ‘Tsinyanga Tsiwere’ which was a massive hit despite being in his mother tongue. His biggest hit has been ‘Mungu baba’ which he did as collaboration with the General Service Unit’s police band. The song is a prayer for blessings for the country.
Nameless has been known for making catchy easy tunes that many people can sing along to and relate to. His massive hit ‘I’m Coming Home’ is about the beauty of the people and land of Kenya.
5. Susan Owino
Susan has been a Kenyan musical ambassador performing at different high profile events. She sings about the beauty of Kenya as a country in her songs.