Defining Kenyan Urban Soul – //


image courtesy of Didge – Facebook

A few years ago marketers and record labels came up with the term Neo-soul to define What they called Nu-soul which was a sub genre for contemporary urban r&b music. The Music was a hybrid for the 70’s influenced soul music fused with the current jazz, latin, African, hiphop, house and sometimes funk music. With time this genre phased out as the artists denounced its ownership and often didn’t want to be classified as Neo Soul artists because it restricted their growth or their breadth of music.

Often we would listen to people like Fantasia and classify them as Neo Soul, while all along she considers herself an R&B singer. So came with the fall the death of Neo Soul as we knew it then…(Am not saying the music is dead but the terms of definition have changed over the years). Today we are faced with a similar dilemma as marketers as entertainment proffessionals and as music enthusiast. We are struggling to classify the new sound coming from Africa as a whole and the sub genre coming from Kenya in particular. At GetMziki we have been having a constant dialog about where to bucket these new sounds we have been collecting and its increasingly becoming a daunting task. We therefore have decided to open up the forum to our user base and hopefully something will strike a cord.

Some Kenyan artists classify their music as Afro-fusion, some classify their new sound as Afro-Soul, personally I have always called this new sound Kenyan Urban Soul. Some call it Urban Benga – or Kapuka Soul… The truth of the matter is we have to come up with one word or one term that will stick and provide the benchmark for Kenyan Urban Soul music. It gets more complicated when you compare these sounds with other similar sounds within the region… (I have attached a TID and Wyre ballad that will throw you off completely). That said – please listen to the following songs, these are the new sounds of AFRICA, this is AFRICA/ Kenya reinventing itself to compete and collaborate in the on going onslaught for the Global R&B Market. I personally love and adore these types of music, because they demonstrate the vocal capabilities of our artists, they stretch the music and the instruments to the core – the allow our language to be heard in different ways… So to me I call this – Kenyan urban Soul – KUS Music ha ha ha … // please help us define what this sound is.. What do you think this should be?

(p.s this Album compilation is available for sale)

Stan – Gachugwa: [Download Track here]


Didge – Saa Zingine: [Download Track here]


TID feat Wyre – Kama Ndoto Kweli: [Download Track here]


Shu – Walk the Line: [Download Track here]


SEMA – I cant: [Download Track here]


SEMA – Mwewe: (one of my all time favorites ***) [Download Track here]


Harry Kimani – Nakuwaza: [Download Track here]


Astar feat Chizi – Nimechoka: (My favorite Gospel Track***) [Download Track here]


Chizi feat Wyre – Kumekucha: (Kenyan Gospel) [Download Track here]


Chizi feat Neema – Songa Songa: (one of my all time favorite tracks ***) [Download Track here]


Bamboo feat CCD – Binti: [Download Track here]



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