Reggae first appeared in Kenya with the great founders like The Wailers, Don Carlos, Bob Marley, among others, broadcasting over the BBC’s Kenya branch, KBC Radio.
The music and message were revelatory and awoke a protest. Many of the early Rastas, now in their late 30s and 40s, have reggae “awakening” stories bordering on the verge of biblical. Lingala radio cassettes were used to record reggae tracks that they could re-play later on.
Fast forward to 2016 and Reggae music though plays its role as a protest tool, it is now mainstream in Kenya. Matatus (public service vehicles) play reggae music 24 hours. Banks, restaurants all play reggae, downtown and uptown clubs are scheduled with reggae nights every day of the week.
But 2016 looks to be the year Reggae acts have set a pilgrimage of Kenya with shows scheduled for Nairobi, the coastal town of Diani and the lake side city of Kisumu.
Behold here are some of the upcoming events this year.
Chronixx may have ruined our lives this year. He definitely did. Mid this year at the KICC Grounds in Nairobi’s city Centre, Chronixx comes in after his band, Zincfence Redemption introduces him, first just his voice, then in the flesh rocking a simple t-shirt, yellow kicks and a rugged denim jeans.
Between sudden eruptions of jumping, Rastafarian teachings and shaking his dreadlocks, he delivers the lines slowly and melodically.
SEPTEMBER 9th – 16th – 17th
JAH 9 & The Dub Treatment
@Alchemist (Westlands, Nairobi), Bidi Badu restaurant (Diani beach) & Distant Relatives (Kilifi) respectively.
Jamaican artist’s free-ranging vocals and poetry mixed with bottom-heavy rhythms signals a new trend in reggae. She has sealed her date with Kenya with a huge feat, being the first Jamaican to launch her album in Kenya, dubbed “9.”
ROMAIN VIRGO & the Unit Band
YARD BEAT SOUND (Japan)
With a new EP releases in 2015 dubbed ‘Lifted” that acted as a teaser to his 2016 album, ‘Love Sick’, Romain Virgo’s favourite tune, ‘Fade away that features Agent Sasco has been making waves in Kenya. It is one of those tracks he will have a great time performing in Kenya on his debut performance.
OCTOBER 1st (RISE UP- Reggae Fest)
Straight from destroying Rebel Salute 2016, reggae legends, Half Pint and Eric Donaldson are set to continue with the same streak when they perform in Nairobi.
@K.I.C.C Grounds, Nairobi.
The Wailing Souls are part of the small surviving group of Reggae and Roots originators still musically active today. It is amazing that Reggae Roots is making its way back to Kenya heavily.
DECEMBER 9th & 11th
@Simba Union Club, Kisumu & Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani-Nairobi respectively.
After putting a show at “A St. Mary Mi Come From” in Jamaica, King Shango closes the year with his fire lyrics and energetic performance in Kenya.
And all these is what we know… Who knows what surprise can come in between (word has it that Protoje may be in Nairobi from his Ethiopia Tour and Don Carlos is set for a free mega concert)
Otherwise as I always say Kenya needs a Rototom Stylings.