If you are keen, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that the Western world, especially America, has started paying a lot of attention to music that is coming out of Africa. It almost seems like they had a sudden awakening.
Artists from countries like South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria have not only sold out shows in the US, they have also landed collabos with some of the biggest music acts such as Drake, Beyonce, Chris Brown, just to name a few.
By any standards, this is commendable. It proves that African music (in general) is heading in the right direction. What, however, saddens me is the fact that Kenyan musicians are lagging behind. It’s just what it is ladies and gentlemen.
The painful truth is that we have little or nothing to offer, musically speaking and that’s why when you hear a Kenyan artist saying that he or she dreams of winning a Grammy Award someday, you just burst out in laughter because it’s an impossible feat.
You see, the kind of music that is very popular (locally) at the moment can not go beyond our borders for so many reasons. In as much as Kenyans appreciate the new-age music and musicians, I’m sure even our neighbours Ugandan or Tanzania don’t listen to Lamba Lolo, Wamlambez and the likes.
I often ask myself, “What’s the point if our artists make music that can only be consumed locally?” I’m sure they all want to achieve great feats and be recognized for their work on global or continental stages but the question is how will it happen?
Every time I see the likes of Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido and the likes performing to foreign audiences or featuring the biggest musical acts in their songs I always feel jealous because I known it will take our artists a long time to achieve such success.
Kenyan musicians need to sit down and re-evaluate their strategies because they are capable of making good music that can be enjoyed by international audiences, especially now that the Western world is paying close attention to African music.
February 21, 2020