I just returned from a holidays trip that included a couple days in Nairobi, Kenya. My knowledge of current Kenyan urban music did not extend too far beyond club styles I'd heard like Genge or Kapuka, so I was excited to find out what was happening in the local music scene. I was pleasantly surprised after running into several groups that add some exciting diversity to Nairobi's sonic palette.
The group Just a Band takes a multidisciplinary approach to their creative output and have put together an impressive collection of songs, videos, and web content. They have an interesting process of creation that lets their visual work sometimes inform their music and vice-versa, meaning in order to get the entire picture you need to experience both. You can read about their interesting creative process in a two part interview (Part 1, Part 2) as well as through a blog on their website. The sound of the above song Usinibore is more aligned with something that I'd expect to hear coming out of Europe or the US, but you can see through this well produced video and live show, they maintain a definite Kenyan and African flavor focusing on issues relevant to the daily preoccupations of youth in Nairobi.
I'm excited to see artists such as Just a Band or South Africa's BLK JKS challenge stereotypes and expand the definitions of African music. If you like Usinibore, you can buy it online, as well as all of Just a Band's music through links on their website.