Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings From The 1970s & '80s


Format : 3LP / New / Compilation
Label : Soundway
Genre : Kenya Afro


Soundway Records present Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings from the 1970s & ‘80s - a treasure-trove of rare and unusual recordings from East Africa. Spread out over two CDs and one triple LP, Kenya Special is accompanied by detailed liner notes, original artwork and photographs.It follows on from Soundway’s much acclaimed African ‘Special’ series that to date has focused on the highlife and afrobeat output from 1970s Nigeria and Ghana.

Kenya Special is a collection of 32 recordings (most of which were only ever released on small-run 45rpm 7" singles) that stand out as being different or unique as well as some classic genre standards. From Kikuyu language ‘liquid soul’, Luo benga and Swahili afrobeat to genre-bending Congolese and Tanzanian tracks recorded in Nairobi, Kenya Special sees Soundway yet again taking the less trodden path. Many of the tracks featured here are peppered with innovation and experimentation highlighting how diverse the music scene in Kenya was at the time.

In 1970s Kenya the two threads of rumba and benga loosely dominated the music scene. Benga quickly became Kenya’s unique contribution to afro-pop; spreading like wildfire through the interior countryside with it’s fast, 4/4 machine-gun beat and intricate electric guitar layers. The Congolese take on Afro-Cuban rumba was introduced by touring bands many of whom settled in East Africa - influencing bands from Kenya and Tanzania to come up with their own take on this popular style. Alongside these styles were small ensembles and hotel-sponsored bands, playing a blend of music that often included rock ‘n’ roll riffs, elements of ‘afro’ music (influenced by West African musicians like Fela Kuti), and multiple other combinations from South African and Zambian guitar styles to disco, funk and Swahili coastal rhythms like chakacha.

Painstakingly compiled, assembled and researched over two years by a team of five people from five countries (Kenya included), Kenya Special is a collection that looks beyond the mainstream and brings new life and recognition to some little known gems and forgotten classics of Kenya’s past.


Disc 1
A1. The Loi-Toki-Tok - Ware - Wa
A2. Slim Ali & The Famous Hodi Boys - Watoto Nyara
A3. Orchestre Baba National - Sweet Sweet Mbombo
B1. Gatanga Boys Band - Wendo Ti Mbia
B2. Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali with The Yahoos Band - Sina Raha
B3. Nashil Pichen & The Eagles Lupopo - Ng'ong'a Wa Mwanjalo
B4. Nairobi Matata Jazz - Tamba Tamba

Disc 2
C1. The Lulus Band - Ngwendeire Guita
C2. Mbiri Young Stars - Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe
C3. The Lulus Band - Nana
C4. Afro 70 - Week End
D1. The Rift Valley Brothers - Mu-Africa
D2. DO 7 Band - H.O. Ochiri
D3. Afro '70 - Cha-Umheja
D4. Peter Tsotsi Juma & The Eagles Lupopo - Kajo Golo - Weka

Disc 3
E1. New Gatanga Sound - Thonia Ni Caki
E2. Sophia Ben & The Eagles Lupopo - See Serere
E3. Kalambya Boys -Kivelenge
E4. The Loi-Toki-Tok Band - Leta Ngoma
F1. Huruma Boys Band - Theresia
F2. Orchestre Veve Star - Nitarudia
F3. The Mombasa Vikings - Mama Matotoya

Disc 4
G1. Mutumia Muriu - The Lulus Band
H1. Nzaumi - Ndalani 77 Brothers

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