Photos

Photos From the Birth of Kenya's New Hip-Hop Scene

The 'EA Wave & Friends' night showcased the sound of #NuNairobi with East African Wave, Cosmic Homies O.N.E., Blinky Bill & more.

Kenya is witnessing the birth of a new scene.


Under the umbrella of #NuNairobi, music collectives like East African Wave and Cosmic Homies O.N.E. are pushing the sound of Kenyan hip-hop into the future and taking control of their art by releasing independently.

This new sound was recently showcased at the ‘EA Wave & Friends’ night at The Alchemist bar in Nairobi. The night featured performances from the East African Wave collective, Cosmic Homies O.N.E., who were premiering their new mixtape, Runkah doing a solo set and Just A Band’s Blinky Bill debuting his new EP.

“The turn out was massive, the music was a perfect blend of wavy, groundbreaking & epic - and both the artists and audience members present genuinely bonded as family. It was beyond successful! For #NuNairobi and the Kenyan music scene at large,” Cosmic Homies write to Okayafrica.

“Blinky Bill debuted his most recent EP  We Cut Keys While You Wait while Karun (aka Runkah) played her first Indigo debut show in Kenya and Cosmic Homies performed their first official homecoming show since their SXSW 2016 USA Tour."

"To have both the founding pioneers and the hungry newcomers of the Nairobi art world all present at one party? Was true history.”

Check out photos from the night below, courtesy of Cosmic Homies.

All photos by Cosmic Homies and Camille Stormcheck out her website for more.

YLM

Nufvnk (EA Wave), Shappa Man.

Stage.

Kiwango (Cosmic Homies).

Nufvnk (EA Wave).

TAIO (formerly Camp Mulla, presently Cosmic Homies).

Mvroe (EA Wave).

YLM.

YLM.

Camille Storm.

Blinky Bill.

Kiwango, Runkah (Cosmic Homies).

Marushka (Cosmic Homies).

Runkah, TAIO (Cosmic Homies).

Runkah (Cosmic Homies).

Cosmic Homies.

Cosmic Homies.

TAIO (Cosmic Homies).

Kiwango (Cosmic Homies).

Kiwango (Cosmic Homies).

Marushka (Cosmic Homies).

Jinku (EA Wave).

Nufvnk (EA Wave).

Shappa Man, Blinky Bill.

Mvroe, Nufvnk (EA Wave).

Hiribae, Jinku (EA Wave).

EA Wave.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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