Zurura (to roam/mosey in Swahilii) by Mothershiester
I spent most of January 2017 in Kenya--long walks thru Nairobi, summited Mt. Longonot, explored Hells Gate, camped along Lake Naivasha, chilled along the Mombasa coast. I hadn’t visited since I was 12 except for a recent work trip. I spent so much time being afraid to go there for many reasons. But also holding these deep, growing needs to connect with my homeland...to understand myself by knowing a part of where i came from. So I’m sharing these tracks that I’ve fallen in love with as part of my ancestral journey using music as my stallion. Some of them, I’ve been listening to for awhile, others are new friends.
Not the most hopeful song but I can dance to it. Also, most of what Jaguar puts out is fire.
Vivian "Teren Teren"
I didn’t realize dancehall was so big in Kenya until my visit. A lot of it, I can’t seem to hang with but my love for Vivian’s sound just swells. Most love songs I croon to are breakup/”woe is me” songs so this is a musical change of pace. You’ll definitely catch me throwing a goofy smile when this plays out.
Nakei Nairobi "Mbilia Bel"
I went into a cathartic state when I heard this song playing at Ozone Lounge -- a restaurant, bar, and hooka joint in this Nairobi based strip mall called Valley Arcade. This classic from Congolese songstress, Mbilia Bel, has been on my marathon training playlist for at least 2 years. It takes me back to when I begrudgingly listened to my parents’ music and now this kind of sound makes me so happy.
Mimi Nawewe "Nameless"
The first Kenyan pop artist of this century that became my bedroom Dancefloor hero. Before Nameless, most of the musical artists that I listened to and eventually djayed out were South African, courtesy of my short 2002 stay in Joburg.
I just found this gem. And now I’m all about following this Taurus Musik signed artist. She also sings a Swahilii version of Hello, which rivals Backyard Band’s version. Don’t fight me tho!
Cece Sagini "Ensobosobo"
I just think Cece is innovative and fun. Totally jammin out to anything she puts out.
Princess Nokia "Brujas"
Princess Nokia is not East African but I played this track a lot while in Kenya including a cosmic moment while lying on the beach in this town called Watamu. I remember the sound of the wind and the feeling it brought as it covered me in sand. I felt this surge of energy…spinning my own wordless incantations….and letting go of my body as she invokes “Don't you fuck with my energy”