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Blinky Bill in "Mungu Halali" (Youtube/VEVO)

The 9 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Harmonize, Blinky Bill, Mayonde, and Octopizzo,

Here is our selection of the hottest music that came out of East Africa in February. Get a lot more over at our Spotify and Apple Music curator pages.

Follow our new East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


Harmonize 'Afro Bongo' EP

Harmonize dropped what was easily one of our favorite songs of 2018 with "Kwa Ngwaru." The Tanzanian stars now continues his hit-making trend with the release of the new 4-track Afro Bongo EP. The new EP showcases Harmonize's impressive blend of bongo flava with afropop elements and features a top-tier list of collaborators like Burna Boy, Diamond Platnumz, Yemi Alade, and Mr Eazi. It looks like it's gonna be another good year for the Wasafi Records family.

Jux x Nyashinski 'In Case You Don't Know'

Tanzania's R&B heartthrob Juma Jux teams up with Kenyan superstar Nyashinski for "In Case You Don't Know," a beautiful serenade dedicated to all the lovers out there.

OCTOPIZZO 'Babylon'

Kenya's top rapper Octopizzo dropped a classic hip-hop track called "Babylon" this month. The song is part of Octopizzo's upcoming fifth studio album and it talks about how far he has come in his career and journey as an artist.

Blinky Bill 'Mungu Halali'

The soulful and groovy "Mungu Halali" has definitely been one of the most popular songs from Blinky Bill's debut album, Everyone's Just Winging It & Other Fly Tales. The semi-gospel beauty features talented Kenyan singers Sage, Sara Mitaru, Wambura Mitaru and Lisa Oduor-Noah. The new music video for the single sparks a lot of nostalgia, opening with the words of legendary veteran Kenyan media guru, Leonard Mambo Mbotela, "Je huu ni ungwana?" The heartwarming visual captures the essence of Nairobi—religion, art, family, hustle and more.

Bebe Cool 'Easy'

Uganda's dancehall king Bebe Cool returned this month with a new single titled, "Easy," that is all about good vibes and not taking life too seriously. The music video was shot in Hollywood by Sasha Vybez.

Trina Mungai & Mayonde 'Shika"

Kenyan songbirds Trina Mungai and Mayonde teamed up this month to deliver "Shika," a steamy single that encourages listeners to embrace their sexuality. The song and its sensual music video definitely got us in the Valentine's mood.

Yvan Buravan x Active 'Canga Irangi(Bimwe byawe)'

Although we are more used to Yvan Buravan's romantic R&B ballads, we still love his latest single "Canga Irangi," a dance-ready club starter featuring Active.

Darassa x. Marioo 'Chanda Chema'

Tanzanian rapper Darassa released "Chanda Chema" this month, an infectious bongo flava banger featuring Marioo.

Mayonde 'Chini Kwa Chini'

Kenyan singer Mayonde released "Chini Kwa Chini," the second single off the Project Purple EP. It's a song about living fully in the present moment and having fun. The EP pays homage to Kenyan pop and genge legends who paved the way for the new generation.


Follow our new East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.


Interview
Photo: Nick Beeba

Interview: Sango's ‘Da Rocinha 4’ Is a Polished & Grinding Take On Baile Funk

We speak with the Seattle-based DJ and producer about his new album and the music bridges connecting Brazil, the US and the world.

It's a common joke in Brazil: once three or more Brazilian people gather together, they will start a WhatsApp group. The producer and DJ Kai Wright, who goes by the alias Sango, is well aware of that. While he is giving this interview through a Zoom call, a sound notification pops from his computer. "Do you hear that?" he says, amidst laughs. "It's WhatsApp, this album was made through WhatsApp groups."

Once and for all, Sango is not Brazilian. "I am an ambassador for that sound, but I am a Black American," he says. "That sound" is baile funk, the most prominent Brazilian electronic and popular music of the past decades. Born in Michigan and based in Seattle, Sango became a beacon for a new strain of baile funk around 2012, when he released the album Da Rocinha—a suite that he revisits in his new release, Da Rocinha 4.

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