Kenyan artists have extended their creativity to create songs that ignite public awareness on various economic, social and political injustices that are derailing the country's progress in order to inspire patriotic action.
Another reason, songs like this are done is to shine a light on the issues that need radical change and attention, or even, cause a revolution.
This is a move Kenyan artists make after what can be termed as public outcry on issues such as cost of living, tax burden, corruption, unemployment and impunity on the part of the government of the day.
A combination of inspirational lyrics and moving instrumentals always make a great recipe for some of Kenya’s most patriotic tracks.
1) King Kaka - Wajinga Nyinyi
Kennedy Ombima, alias King Kaka, or the Rabbit, released a viral song titled 'Wajinga Nyinyi' on December 14, 2019, highlighting the punitive methods Kenyans use to select their leaders only to complain later when things are tough and people are suffering.
The song was considered a bold move as big names were mentioned hence the stir online.
However, King Kaka is not the only artist that takes initiative to write songs that have a significant social impact on the community and wish to inspire patriotism. Here's a list of Nine songs that accomplished the same agenda.
King Kaka, in a message to the president, addressed corruption, high taxes, hefty loans, unemployment and tribalism touching everyone from politicians to the police and the Kenyans at large. The bold musician, who declared that he is ready to die, called them out one by one.
The song #Wajinga Nyinyi is a Swahili rap song that is about 7 minutes long. It had been the trending topic on twitter, attracting support and criticism from both politicians and netizens.
2) Sauti Sol ft Nyashinski - Tujiangalie
This song was Sauti Sol’s second collaboration with rapper Nyashinski about Kenyan society and its the lack of integrity and accountability which many turned a blind eye on. Released on August 21, 2018, the song attracted over 3 million views.
It calls for self-reflection especially among Kenyan youth, because the country is worse off than how it was left by its founding fathers. The song also faults Kenyans for not engaging in meaningful political activism, preferring instead to trade jibes on Twitter.
The song is perhaps the group’s most powerful social commentary so far, mincing no words in calling out the rot in Kenya.
3) H_art The Band - Think (Letter to the Common Mwananchi)
This song done by one of Kenya's most popular boy band H_art the Band was dropped on March 3, 2017. The song, which possesses part 1 and 2 is called 'THINK' which the group highlights was a letter to the common mwananchi. The group which draws inspiration from day-to-day experiences, claims that its music speaks to generations: from the young to the old.
The song was made on the eve of the elections, to remind Kenyans to vote wisely. The group consists of , three young men, Mordecai ,Wachira and self-taught guitarist Kenchez who compliments their rhymes with smooth African tunes, while Mordecai has quite the catchy vocals, thus they believe they created a fresh genre called Afro-poetry.
4) Muthoni The Drummer Queen - Kenyan Message
The Kenyan Message was dropped on March 1, 2017, also the election year where Muthoni wrote a song that would get Kenyans to vote wisely.
The song articulates her rage on how politicians imply that the results of general elections are usually a foregone conclusion, and that young Kenyans cannot determine who gets to lead them.
The song touches on apathy of the country’s political class, failing public healthcare system, looming drought, tribalism, and about con artists who masquerade as preachers.
5) Juliani - Utawala
This one dropped a bit earlier than the rest during the 2013 general elections period. Riddled with politically themed art, the song creates awareness of the evils, bedeviling the country such as tribalism, selfishness and corruption.
His message was that music can be used as an instrument to fight inequality. It also highlights the diversity of occupations and the various individuals the song speaks for.
6) Sarabi - Sheria
Released at around the same time as Juliani's Utawala, Sheria is a song about the Kenyan law and the issues surrounding the administering of justice in the country. The song by Sarabi dropped in December 11, 2013.
“Sheria” is about the state of Kenya’s politics and of the failure of Kenya’s citizens to take responsibility for their contribution to the corrupt status quo.
It translates to “Follow the law!” and reminds each and everyone on their responsibilities to and for society. Instead of always shifting the blame to politicians one should rather look at ones own individual actions if we truly want change.
7) Ythera - Like a Phoenix
Though the song never attracted many views on YouTube, the message of the song was nothing short of social accountability and awareness of Kenyans. Released on July 19, 2016, Ythera aimed at mobilising Kenyans to defy terrorism, be vigilant and take charge of their safety, security and development.
Ythera urges Kenyans to travel and work unhindered all over the country. She encourages Kenyans to remain strong ,vigilant and to bounce back with zeal in the face of terror. Let us be defiant and resilient. The song was to encourage the spirits of those who have been affected or felt the impact of terror attacks in Kenya.
8) Eric Wainaina - Daima
This song by Eric Wainaina also broke the internet and went viral when it was first dropped in November 23, 2009. This is by far the oldest one on the list. This was one of the biggest tracks from Wainaina’s 2001 debut album “Sawa Sawa,” the track “Daima” is an all-time favorite for all Kenyans.
With creative lyrics and inspired harmonies, the Shangilia Kids children’s choir provide background vocals making the track that much more special. Fusing Benga and jazz with the blaring trumpet, the track cuts across genres while its message carries the day. The Berklee alumni Wainaina has made a huge impact with a song that inspires all citizens to love Kenya.
9) Petra Kenya - Stand Up Inuka
Petra's song Stand Up Inuka dropped right after the 2017 presidential election results were nullified and the country had been in a state of confusion. The artist stated that the song was an urgent response to the confusion and frustration, the country was experiencing at the time.
It was about a feeling that Kenyans were in a difficult moment in history brought about by man-made problems, some of which could be attributed to poor leadership, tribalism and selfishness of the political class.
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