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The 10 Best Sauti Sol Songs

Here are the 10 best songs from East Africa's biggest band, the Kenyan afro-pop outfit Sauti Sol.

Sauti Sol is East Africa’s biggest band right now.


Through their nearly decade-long career, the Kenyan afro-pop quartet—made up of vocalists Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin ChimanoSavara Mudigi, and guitarist Polycarp Otieno—have been celebrated by fans and critics for their marriage of soulful pop vocals and Kenyan rhythms.

If the band had to sum up their sound in three words, they mention: “Soul, style, and attitude.”

All three can be felt in the Sauti Sol’s latest album, Live and Die in Afrika, which has climbed the Kenyan charts and gotten wide global attention with the help of some massive singles, a Barack Obama endorsement, and its share of controversy.

Sauti Sol recently completed a major Kenyan tour, playing six big cities with a full production.

The group is now set to bring their show to New York City this month, on October 30, for a concert at the Highline Ballroom. Make sure to grab your tickets here and check out the rest of their American tour dates.

Ahead of their trip to the states, we round up the 10 Best Sauti Sol Songs.

Sura Yako

“Sura Yako (Your Face)” is the lead track on Live and Die in Afrika. Produced by Sauti Sol alongside Cedric "Cedo" Kadenyi, the single blends intricate guitar lines with a bumping beat and vocal harmonies from the group to make for an undeniable ear worm.

“Sura Yako” was released alongside a Lipala dance competition that sparked a dance craze across social media. Even President Obama was spotted dancing to the track at the Kenyan State House in an incredible clip.

According to the band, the song’s music video plays out a typical Kenyan pre-wedding ceremony, or, ruracio.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Lazizi

“Lazizi” was the first single from Sauti Sol’s debut album Mwanzo. A more laid-back and serene song, it follows the story of a workingman pleading to get a girl’s number so he can take her out on a date.

The track, which introduces the band’s alluring guitar work and group vocals, sparked a large amount of covers across East Africa when it dropped and helped started their rise to fame.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Kuliko Jana

Sauti Sol returned to their old high school, Upper Hill School, in Nairobi to record the music video for “Kuliko Jana,” a standout single from Live and Die in Afrika that is quickly growing into a global hit.

The beautiful a capella song, which features the Upper Hill school choir (Redfourth Chorus), speaks on the “steadfast love of the Lord,” the band has mentioned.

Buy on iTunes

Blue Uniform

The second single from their debut album, “Blue Uniform" sees Sauti Sol addressing the issue of police harassment against Kenya’s youth.

As Sauti Sol explains, the song’s three verses are split to depict three different sides of the story: “an innocent arrested youth, a bad police officer and another who explains why police officers sometimes get into corruption, with the story ending with the policeman releasing the youth with a stern warning.”

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Nishike

Sauti Sol’s “Nishike” (Swahili for “Touch Me”) is a slow jam for late night playlists everywhere built on undulating synth chords and smooth vocals.

The song’s Enos Olik-directed music video features the members of the group, sans their shirts, seducing their leading ladies. The video was steamy enough that it caused an uproar on social media and was banned across Kenyan TV stations.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Soma Kijana

"Soma Kijana" was released as the lead single from Sauti Sol’s sophomore album Sol Filosofia. The song was inspired by the late Kenyan Benga singer Daudi Kabaka, who the group cite as one of their biggest influences.

“Soma Kijana” is a song for the youth, urging them to take their education seriously and stay in school.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Unconditionally Bae

Sauti Sol connected with Tanzanian star Alikiba for “Unconditionally Bae,” a dance floor track about how hard it is to find love in the modern world.

The East African connection makes for pop gold in this one, as its music video—shot across Kenya’s North Coast of Mombasa at the English Point Marina—has racked-up millions of views, and still counting.

Buy on iTunes

Coming Home

“Coming Home,” a quiet and melancholic acoustic guitar ballad, was released as the second single from Sol Filosofia.

The song’s gloomy music video, which features singer and reality star Patricia Kihoro, follows Sauti Sol guitarist Polycarp Otieno as “he finds himself rejected by his girlfriend soon after the band returns home from tour, pushing him to take his own life as his fellow band members try to save him,” the band explains.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Shake Yo Bam Bam

“Shake Yo Bam Bam” is Sauti Sol's party track. The single, which is built on a bouncing bass line, was written in the mindset of 1990s Kenyan music styles. The track’s Nairobi-shot music video was directed by famed Nigerian director Clarence Peters.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

Nerea

“Nerea” was co-written by Sauti Sol and Kenyan duo Amos & Josh. The single, another one from Live and Die in Afrika, is an uplifting and soulful composition showcasing what can go down when two of Kenyan music’s contemporary forces come together.

Buy on Amazon/iTunes

 

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Image: Nabsolute Media

Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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