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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

 

Style

OkayAfrica and B4Bonah Share New 'B4Beginning' Capsule Collection

We've teamed up with the Ghanaian artist ahead of the release of his debut project for some colorful new merch.

Rising Ghanaian star B4Bonah, premieres his catchy debut track "See Body," and to mark the song's release, OkayAfrica has teamed up with the artist to share a new collection of tees, that'll fit nicely into your summer wardrobe.

The artist's latest track is a party jam, that sees him flowing "over an earworm flute melody and afrobeats percussion," using "his rasping flow to celebrate the girl of his dreams." The track was produced by J.Rocs.

B4Bonah - See Body www.youtube.com

In conjunction with the song's release, two new shirt designs are available for preorder at our Okayshop. The vibrant shirts feature the artist's image on colorful blue and green colored blocks, with the words "B4BONAH B4BEGINNING," on the back—referencing the artist's debut mixtape, which is slated for release in late July. The project features Medikal, Mugeez (R2Bees), Amaarae & Ivy Sole.


B4Bonah is an artist to watch, as he continues to make his presence known in the Ghanaian music scene.

Watch the music video for "See Body" above, and head to shop.okayplayer.com now to pick up to pre-order a shirt (or two). You can also preorder B4Bonah's B4beginning mixtape here.

popular

Watch EL, Joey B and Falz' New Video for 'Ehua'

Ghana meets Nigeria in this hilarious new clip.

Ghanaian rappers EL and Joey B connect with Nigeria's Falz for this addictive new collaboration and music video for "Ehua."

"Ehua" is built on energetic afro-electronic beat work produced by EL himself. Joey B handles the hook while Falz kicks things off early with a solid verse.

The eye-catching and hilarious music video for the single, directed by Yaw Skyface, features EL as a policeman, Falz as the 'oga' bossman, and Joey B as a worker for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Falz takes Joey B's woman by showing off his money and status, so Joey B enlists policeman EL to get back at Falz. The plan backfires however as the officer decides to stick around and party with the rich instead of helping the everyday worker out.

For more GH hits check out our Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month roundups and follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Watch the new music video for EL, Joey B and Falz' "Ehua" below.

EL ft Joey B & Falz - Ehua (Official Video) youtu.be


News Brief
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Nigeria's Super Falcons Were Forced To Threaten a Sit-In Protest Over Unpaid Bonuses After Women's World Cup

After negotiations, the Nigerian Football Federation have agreed to run the players their money.

Nigeria's own Super Falcons had a great run during the Women's World Cup. But instead of the players heading back home or to their respective professional clubs after losing to Germany 3-0, they were forced to strong-arm the Nigerian Football Federation to pay what they're owed.

According to ESPN's initial report over the weekend, the Super Falcons threatened to stage a sit-in protest at their hotel in France until all of their unpaid bonuses dating back to two years ago were paid, along with their World Cup allowances and bonuses.

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