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How Sheng has had a big influence on Kenyan music

July 17, 2020 at 17:42
How Sheng has had a big influence on Kenyan music

Chances are you’ll learn a new Sheng’ word every time you listen to a song by the new crop of Kenyan artists. The latest word that I’ve learnt is bundas thanks to Chris Kaiga but I don’t even know what it means. I have some wild guesses but that’s a story for another day.

Chris Kaiga

Chris Kaiga

Perhaps this explains why the new sound is catching up very fast. You see, apart from the fact that the language is relatable, at least to some people, it also makes you curious. You just want to know what a particular word means so that you can use in a conversation.

Sheng is an interesting language in that you can’t say you know it fully. Actually, no one does. It’s largely defined by your environment which simply means that each neighborhoods or estate has it’s own Sheng’ words and only a few cut across.

As such if you are from Eastlands you might not have a flowing Sheng conversation with someone from Githurai. This is playing out in music because all these new-age artists come from different hoods. Therefore, they are always introducing us to new words.

Ochunglo Family

Ochunglo Family

For instance, Ethic Entertainment members hail from Umoja in Eastlands, Gwaash comes from Kariobangi South, Ochunglo Family members were born and bred in Lang’ata while Boondocks Gang members call Githurai 44 home. Like I said, each of these hoods have their own Sheng’ versions.

The new Kenyan sound might be a wave but we really can’t wish it away because apart from the fact that we are curious about new Sheng’ words, they also sound catchy in a song. You just want to keep listening and maybe that’s not a bad thing after all.

 

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