The capital city of Kenya, Nairobi is always abuzz with activity. People jam the streets as they go about their daily routines trying to make ends meet. One thing is common with the business on the street; most of them play loud music that can be rather annoying at times.
Morgan Heritage on stage in Kenya
The one genre of music that you can never miss hearing is reggae. From the days of the legendary, Bob Nesta Marley, a good number of Kenyans have been diehard fans of reggae, especially the youth. It is evident in the way they dress and carry themselves. You will notice the colorful Rasta colors in their jewelry, caps and T-shirts. Many have dreadlocks to show their deep devotion.
Reggae in Kenya goes beyond a genre of music. Many have embraced it as a religion. So deeply devoted are the followers of reggae that there are night clubs that play nothing but reggae, the most famous being Hollywood night club. This is an old reggae night club in Kenya that started way back in the nineties.
Kenyan musicians have embraced reggae as their genre of choice. Some of the most renowned reggae musicians in Kenya are Jah key Marley, the late Poxi Pressure, Nazizi Hirji, the late Mighty King Kong, and the latest Reggae musician, Mumbi Kaigwa. You can visit her site at http://www.mumbikenya.com/.
Nazizi, one of Kenya top reggae artists sporting her beautiful dreadlocks
The reggae culture in Kenya has attracted renowned reggae artist to perform in Kenya. Some of the biggest names to have taken the Kenyan stage include Morgan Heritage, Glen Washington, the late Lucky Dube, Shaggy and many others.
Many upcoming reggae artists have faced a lot of hardships selling their music and making a decent living. One of the main reasons leading to this is the fact that the music industry in Kenya has faced issues like piracy, low album sales and low performance fees.
Specifically, reggae music has faced its own special challenges. Reggae is associated with vices like drug abuse, smoking, drinking, promiscuity and hooliganism. Because of this view, which is not necessarily true, the industry has received very little support and negative publicity.
When it comes to the broadcasting industry, most of the radio stations play reggae music often and some even have programs and sessions dedicated purely to reggae. Until recently, Metro FM has been a leading full time reggae station. After many years, this station has rebranded itself into an all women station called Venus FM. This further shows the struggles faced by reggae music and culture in Kenya. Stations like Ghetto Radio (http://ghettoradio.co.ke/) are still operating and are receiving a lot of fans especially among the youths from the slum areas.
Regardless of the challenges that reggae faces in Kenya, it is here to stay. The industry is growing fast as more and more people take it seriously. You can expect Kenya to make a positive contribution to the reggae industry with each passing year. Imani(The Caribbean Current)
Reggae concert in Kenya