Just a Band Featured in LA Times World Playlist
Just a Band, the Kenyan house/funk/disco band famous for their hit viral video Ha-He, are featured in the current issue of the LA Times Magazine. The magazine asked 15 critics the world over to pick one track by a homegrown artist that they think is worth crossing over to the United States. Wanjeri Gakuru, of UP Magazine, submitted Just a Band’s Forever People which made it to the final playlist. Just a Band are the only Africans on the playlist. Yay for Kenya!!!
This song’s steady 127 bpm jam begins as the pitter-patter of rain—definitely not the Benga of old or our new-age Genge. And yet their geeky Afro-electropop captures the zeitgeist of Nairobi’s twentysomethings and is still delicious everywhere.
I managed to visit their Kudishnyao! video art exhibition at the Goethe Institute this past Saturday and the energy was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Kenya before. It was a full fledged rave and it made me feel 10 years younger. Of course the eye candy on display didn’t hurt.
The group was formed when their members were studying at the Kenyatta University. They went on to release the song “Iwinyo Piny” accompanied by a self-made animated music video. Initially the song received little airplay due to its unconventional musical style, but with time they started to gain popularity through underground channels. Their debut album Scratch To Reveal was relatively successful. They released their second single ‘Ha-He’ on 17 March, 2010, accompanied by a music video featuring a character known as Makmende. The video has subsequently been described as Kenya’s first viral internet meme by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fast Company.