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Blinky Bill. Photo: Maxime Debollivie.

Op-Ed: It's Time For Kenya to Get More Respect As an African Music Powerhouse

Kenyan music right now is arguably better than what's coming out of Nigeria, so why isn't it being played in Nairobi clubs?

There is something that has been driving a lot of people involved in the Nairobi arts scene up the wall and into a state of deep-seeded spite and loathing: that Kenyan music isn't played in Kenyan clubs.

Why not? How has the country so steeped in musical tradition cut around its own sound? This is a confusing matter, with no easy answer.

The Kenyan music industry is underdeveloped, yes, but not at all for a lack of talent. One needs to look no further than the last couple of months to see plainly that the Kenyan music scene is going through a truly incredible period right now, and that upward trend looks like it'll keep its trajectory upwards on into 2019.

Recent months has seen the release of new music from Blinky Bill, Stella Mwangi, Fena Gitu, Karun, Sauti Sol, the list goes on and on. Not to mention the dope new sounds of Kenyan house getting spun right now by the likes of EA Wave, DJ Coco Em, and Suraj on the dance floors of Nairobi and the Kenyan coast—and that is still before mentioning that there looks to be a continuance of brand new material next year. Yet Kenyan music isn't played in Kenyan clubs. Nairobi dance floors are utterly dominated by another nation's music: that of Nigeria.

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