The Nairobi Beat – Kenyan Pop Music Now

This was another album obtained in the great Garnick’s college radio station haul of 2014. That’s still a little too long, I’ll work on it. Adding international music does make it tricky to find information on all the artists or the actual album so instead, I figured I share a little more on Kenya’s culture and musical history. I didn’t know anything before picking this album up and it’s really quite interesting.

Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages.

The drums are the most dominant instrument in Kenyan popular music. Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythm and imported ones, especially the Congolese cavacha rhythm. Popular Kenyan music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more recently, showy guitar solos as well. There are also a number of local hip hop artists.

Lyrics are most often in Swahili or English. There is some emerging aspect of Lingala borrowed from Congolese musicians. Urban radio generally only plays English music, though there are a number of vernacular radio stations.

Zilizopendwa is a genre of local urban music that was recorded in the 60s, 70s and 80s and is particularly revered and enjoyed by the older folks – having been popularized by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Swahili service (formerly called Voice of Kenya or VOK).

Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the area around Lake Victoria. The word benga is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar and percussion are the usual instruments.

Additionally, Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene.


The Nairobi Beat – Kenyan Pop Music Now

Various Artists

Side One

D.O.7 Shirati Jazz – Jamoko Wange Tek
Mbiri Young Stars – Mwana Wa Ndigwa
Super Bunyore Band – Bibi Joys
Original Kilimambogo (O.K.B.) Stars – Mama Sheria
Maroon Commandos – Amua Nikuachie

Side Two

Gatundu Boys – Ururu-ruru Mwana
Migori Super Stars – Tabitha Awuor
Kalambya Sisters – Kopulo Onesi
Bana Likasi – Mado Zaina Pt. 1
Mayanja Bungoma Jazz Band – Ese Omulebe Wenywe

Since I Don’t Have You

“Since I Don’t Have You” is a song by the doo-wop group the Skyliners, from their self-titled album. Released in late 1958, the single reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100; it was also a top five hit on the 1959 R&B chart.

Song remakes to chart have included renditions by the Four Seasons, Manfred Mann, Ricky Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle, Art Garfunkel and Johnny Mathis.


Side One

Since I Don’t Have You

Side Two

One Night, One Night

One Heartbeat Just To See Her

It’s been over two years now since I saw Smokey’s modern day group, Human Nature with my mom and aunt. It was such a blast! I did look it up and Human Nature is still performing so if you get a chance, check them out! You can see some pictures using their tag at the bottom to see the original post.


Side One

Just to See Her

Side Two

I’m Gonna Love You Like There’s No Tomorrow


Side One

One Heartbeat

Side Two

Love Will Set You Free

Sly & The Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone was a band from San Francisco. Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music.

Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an “integrated, multi-gender” lineup. Brothers Sly Stone and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands in 1967. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham comprised the original lineup; Sly and Freddie’s sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year.

They recorded five Billboard Hot 100 hits which reached the top 10, and four ground-breaking albums, which greatly influenced the sound of American pop, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. In the preface of his 1998 book For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History, Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly and the Family Stone’s influence on African American music by stating “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone”. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

During the early 1970s, the band switched to a grittier funk sound, which was as influential on the music industry as their earlier work. The band began to fall apart during this period because of drug abuse and ego clashes; consequently, the fortunes and reliability of the band deteriorated, leading to its dissolution in 1975.


Side One

Runnin’ Away

Side Two

Brave & Strong

Smile For My Girl

With so many huge stars these days barely making it through high school (yes, I know there are tutors but many a pop star has mentioned regretting not getting a better education), it’s kind of interesting and inspiring to see that all members of Sister Sledge have degrees. Obviously the life style of a celebrity makes it trying to attend classes on a regular schedule but many stars have been able to do it.

Debbie Sledge: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Degree Temple University/Tyler School of Art.

Joni Sledge: Bachelor of Science Degree, Temple University, Radio Television and Film Production, Certificat de Francais, Alliance Francais, Paris France.

Kathy Sledge: Bachelor of Arts degree Temple University, therapeutic recreation.

Kim Sledge: Bachelor of Arts degree Temple University, Pan African Studies, Rutgers law school, Ordained Pastor, International Fellowship of Christian Ministries, Mount Dora Florida.


Side One


Side Two

B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Baby)


Side One

My Guy

Side Two

Il Macquillage Lady