An Eclectic Change In Kenya's Heartbeat

Sunday, 05 February 2012 15:51 , Written by 

They say music is the mind and soul of a society; the breath by which character and semblance emanate from any being and the lifeline that keeps the culture of a society vibrant and progressive. It happens to be this very same soul that evokes the pulses and emotions that affect the very same creators as well as listeners.

Kenya possesses nothing less than a rich history when it comes to the kind of music its populace indulged in. At the onset of the early 20th century, people were in a more traditional mindset of guitars and percussive instruments, with the likes of Fundi Konde capturing the minds and hearts of that generation.

 The country then first embraced foreign sounds when Congolese rhythms colonized Nairobi streets with the fusion of benga and drums in the mid 20th century. This was a popular fad for quite awhile leading to Swahili and coastal tunes dominating the scene, though by this time Kenya was getting on its feet from independence and with it came a new and exciting ‘global’ perspective: the introduction of the western pop culture.

American music penetrated the ideological minds of the fresh Kenyan generation and in came hip hop and all that ensued. Young Kenyan musicians caught on with what was the ‘in-thing’ and fused this new beat with their own local influence and thus the birth of genge and kapuka which to this day rages on with a force to reckon with.

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