Entertainment / Music
Saturday, 06 May 2017 17:39 EATswaithera@kenyafreepress.com
The musical group Afrikanation Mziki has released a sensational new single, Papa - The Kenyan story, which pillories the corruption of Kenya's political class. The track's video was watched by several Kenyans on YouTube within hours of its launch, signifying both the growing recognition of the group and the relevance of the song which some music critics expect to be a major hit in this election year.
The group that has not been well known beyond the creative industry despite the fact that their songs have been receiving massive airplay especially on KTN shows like Baseline, Str8up Live and Maisha Mzuqa, where the group was featured in an interview by Jamal Gaddafi. Afrikanation Mziki has been riding high in a select audience, with their last track the current one, 25 To Life, registering the most success.
Producing Papa, which promises to give the group even greater prominence nationally, has been the climax of years of hard work and commitment by the two friends who founded Afrikanation Mziki, Dennis Githiora and Allan Ochoro, whose stage names are WanTwo and Ruch Senior.
The two formed Afrikanation Mziki in 2011 as the musical arm of the Afrikanation outfit, a larger student group, when they were in college at KCA University. They are both chartered accountants.
Dennis and Allan on stage.
The name itself carries deep meaning for the group. ‘Afrika’ is used to stand for Africa where the ‘K’ stands for Kenya while ‘Mziki’ is just a Swahili name for music. Over time, Afrikanation Mziki grew as a brand, to form a large entity that spread across the arts world, from music, to visual art (drawing/painting), choreography, theatrics and much more.
With more than thirty songs to their name, the group just recently embarked on releasing these songs with their first 11-track mixtape titled 25 To Life. The group's music genre is contemporary urban with a touch of hip-hop but are now incorporating genge and kapuka, a distinct form popular in Kenya that meshes tunes of hip hop and reggea.
With a catch phrase #JahBlessTheHustle, the group aims to promote arts and culture amongst Afrikanation youth and help them actualize their dreams. They write their own songs, drawing inspiration from what they go through in their daily lives and the larger society around them.
Their goal in composing their music is to mirror society without prejudice, which most musicians have lost credibility to do, seeing as they do only the niceties that come with celebrity status, hence the preponderance of songs that pay tribute to financial success and connections.
The duo's musical journey started after their meeting Khaligraph Jones online. They then planned a meet where they were hooked up with studio time at Big Beats Afrique. Their first single was titled DanceTu. Their first mixtape, 25 To Life is a compilation of some of the best songs that the group has been recording at Revie Media with club banger songs like Downlow whose video was shot by the talented MushKing.
Just like any other artist group, they have encountered several challenges through their music journey. They once released a song Mara Io with no music video which did quite well. Listening to their feedback, you notice most artist are complaining of corruption and some media stations won’t play their music without bribes (kitu kidogo).
Such broadcasters often do not recognise that before an artist starts earning from their music, they have to meet a lot of costs associated with creation and production. With this group, their main source of revenue is from performances and they acknowledge that it will take a while before their music starts generating money.
Due to their love and concern for the youths and especially during this election period, the group worked on Papa, which will influence the youths away from licentiousness and promote responsibility in family and leadership.
The duo is committed to see their partnership grow into a leading musical group, expressing concern at the high number of Kenyan groups that emerge with much potential only to fizzle like bubbles.
Such groups that have broken up include Camp Mulla, Be My Friend and the very successful Kleptomaniacs which pioneered contemporary Kenyan urban music in the early 2000s.
Waithera is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press.