Kenyan reggae is mainly a fusion of Jamaican reggae and local ethnic singing styles that incorporate Lingala, benga and Kenyan hip hop. List of Best Kenyan Reggae Artists. In Kenya, reggae music is accessed through radio stations, night clubs, privately owned minibuses commonly known as matatus, private CD collections, unlicensed CD compilations, shared MP3 collections, YouTube, and other websites.
Reggae music has had a significant influence on the entertainment, culture, craft occupations and development of Sheng slang in Kenya. Reggae music in Kenya is viewed as a powerful agent of both positive and negative social changes such as calls for freedom, tolerance, unity and the drugs sub-culture.
While reggae music had already made its way in Kenya by the late 1970s, it was not until the early 1990s that local radio stations and television began making shows and programmes solely for reggae music despite it being formally banned on the Voice of Kenya, then the sole national broadcaster owned and controlled by the State. Reggae groups and artists like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Don Carlos, Burning Spear, Wailing Souls and Peter Tosh were the most loved and had a profound impact that went on to shape most of the local artists, reggae shows and even the development of culture and entertainment in Kenya. A number of night clubs, themed with reggae music burgeoned up and down Nairobi city, most notably; Monte Carlo night club on Accra Road, Shashamane International and Hollywood club.
Kevin Wairegi, best known by his stage name Wyre, is a Kenyan R&B and reggae musician. He is known for being a member of the groups Necessary Noize and East African Bashment Crew, as well as his solo career. He has released two solo albums.
He has released two solo albums. The latest album,Ten Years Wiser, was named for his 10-year spanning career in music.As a solo artist, he has performed in various African countries, including Nigeria and Uganda. He has collaborated with various artists, including P-Square,2Face_Idibia of Nigeria.
Well known for his stage performance, alongside Ian and of N.I.X. His undoubtedly one of Africa’s most entertaining performers.
Shamir is a passionate songwriter, and one of the best producers in Kenya. He runs One Vibe Studio in Kisumu and enjoys mentoring youth through his weekly guitar and vocal classes. In 2003, while still in high school, Shamir worked with the legendary Burning Spear for Sawa Sawa Festival. Since Shamir started his solo music career in 2006, his big break came in 2007 with the release of “On Fire”, which is still a household name. Shamir has worked with some of the biggest producers in Jamaica from Dean Fraser, Sly Dunbar, to Robbie Shakespear. Shamir specializes in Lovers rock. He chooses this genre of music as he believes it possesses a lot of life. He believes that it draws people and does not discriminate. His music is inspired by love, his relationships and his daily life experiences.
Redsan (real name Swabri Mohammed, 1981-) is a reggae and ragga musician from Kenya. He is known as East Africa’s king of dancehall. Mohammed entered the music scene after winning the Star Search competition at Nairobi’s Carnivore in 1998. After doing some opening acts for Hardstone, he became one of the famous Ogopa Deejays’ first artistes. He had joined up with Lucas Bikedo from Sing Sounds, who then formed Ogopa DJ’s. He then formed the original East African Bashment Crew with Chameleon and Bebe CoolHe is being produced by Monalisa, an outfit based in Miami, USA.Redsan has toured several times in the US and EuropeHe has won categories at the Chaguo La Teeniez awards and Kisima Awards
Ousmane whose real name is Wanjohi Maregwa was a dominant voice back in 2003. He released his first hit song that year known as Dunda which scooped the Chaguo la Teeniez (CHAT) award after contending with established artists like Prezzo and Tatu and Wakimbizi.
Nile Dawta of the WeN_Music Official is a singer, songwriter, and a lyrical being from Africa-Kenya. Welcome to the world of Neo-Roots; sweet mellow mixes of Neo-Soul and Reggae rhythms, with a twist of Jazz and Soul.
Michael BunDi is a Kenyan singer/producer who has catapulted himself into new generation of Reggae-Afro-Fusion artist. His eclectic vibe and emotional style, is about to send a shock wave into the industry! Michael sings in three languages, Swahili, Merian and English. He also plays Piano and Guitar. His earliest memories of his gift to sing was when he was wrapped in Kanga on his mothers back as they began to walk their daily path. However, with the guidance of his father a music teacher who spent a lifetime teaching Michael fundamentals of instruments and vocals. Michael was given the tools to embark on his musical destiny. Michael BunDi is also a Depression survivor who feels the need to heal others through his music. So ride with him on the Michael BunDi experience!
Trulight n Kelcy both grew in surroundings of music and creative arts thus recognizing their talents at different stages,Kelcy started singing at her tender age similar case to trulight
Mighty King Kong
Paul Otieno Imbaya, better known for his stage name Mighty King Kong was a popular reggae musician. He was born in Ugenya, Siaya District. As a young child he suffered a severe polio and was disabled from the waist down. He went to Ambira Primary School, but dropped out at Standard 6 following the death of his father. He then moved to Kisumu where he became a street kid and beggar.
His third album, Return of the King, was released in 2004 and in 2007, he released a compilation album “The Best of King Kong” .
Mighty King Kong passed away on Christmas Day, 2007 at the age of 34 at Kenyatta National Hospital while being treated for poisoning. He is survived by his widow, Jackline Ouma and a son, Prince Travis Imbaya Otieno.
Nakos J formerly known as (mc nachos) is an international reggae song writer,performer and composer from the republic of kenya ,born and brought up in the western part of the country in a town called mbale just a few kilometers to Uganda. he was born with the passion of music from his child hood until l now
nakos j means wisdom and j stands for Joseph his christian name
St Crooner Being the eldest in a family of four brothers, Saint is an uprising reggae artist growing and living in the slums of Githurai. Greatly inspired by the neighborhood and the reality in the music, Saint has known nothing but a life of hardship in a ghetto where people live from hand to mouth and no one is assured of their tomorrow. Born on 27th July 1984, Saint found music irresistible as he used to sneak into the dance hall where his father was then a dj playing with “Commando Sounds” in the 80’s.The love and passion for the same increased as his father had a big collection of African music and a few reggae albums by Lucky Dube and Alpha Blondy.
He started a group in high school called Slim Entertainment with the late Wicky Mosh, sung as live back up vocalist for the late Mighty King Kong, joined the Altimate Band and collaborated with PUnit, Eklectics, Vivianna, among others. Recorded and released singles.
Ras Kaigi is one of the Founder members of Black Stone Band, he remains an authentic roots reggae artist. he still posses the original reggae touch that most modern reggae artist have lost. check him out at point 5.
John Kimutai aka Freeman is a real vocal entertainer with an extensive and varied repertoire. Some say he was born into it, some that he was born with it, while others claim he has earned it. With one foot planted firmly in reggae’s traditional roots and the other reaching into its dynamic future, Freeman isn’t entirely sure what ‘it’ is; singer, songwriter,revivalist, or innovator. Whatever it may be, “Freeman has the ability to turn young Kenyans on its ears.”
Lidanjam Raah was born on 16th of August in a small town called Thika a few kilometers from Nairobi the Capital City of Kenya. He attended primary education at Jamhuri Primary School and later went to Broadway High School for his Secondary Education both in Thika Town.
His musical talent was realized at the age of 18 while still in high school, where he wrote lyrics inspired by reggae musicians especially Don Carlos. He could listen and sing along to the Legends music until he could compose his own lyrics.
A vibrant and energetic reggae dancehall artist. Bafu’s stage performance and deep voice tone is undisputed. He is arguably kenya’s capleton and sizzla in one package. He is acclaimed to be the kenyan king of dancehall.
Jah’key Malle born Jack Otkech Obwande in 1968 Kenya, East Africa. He started his music career at the age of 14 as a DJ at various popular music spots, (including the popular Florida night club Nairobi). After spinning discs for 10 years, he formed his own band that performaned at various clubs and concerts. Some of the most successful shows he has featured in are: The tone of his voice and the message in his music clearly talks of virtiolic campaign against drugs, the menace of the ravaging AIDS and racism. He preached brotherly love, peace on earth and unity among all races
Peter Wagany a.k.a Man Wazimu a.k.a Virgin Man aka Da Present is a Nairobi based reggae artiste with a unique voice and style. The artiste who also works for Ghetto Radio earned hismettle by working hard at his music. With a humble backgroud, Man Wazimu has recorded tracks like Witness, Other Kenyans and Airtime With Airtime. According to Man Wazimu, Airtime with Airtime made it to the chats of a UK based radio station called All FM in a show hosted by DJ Raven called top 20 rising reggae artiste in the world.
Though more of afro fusion music artist, The former University of Nairobi student who graduated in Mathematics, has several reggae track under her belt. Wahu started her musical career in 2000 producing her first three singles, ‘Niangalie’, ‘Esha’ and ‘Liar.’ She also released her first major hit, ‘Sitishiki’ in 2005 at Ogopa DJ’s studio.
She has has been nominated and won several African, East African and kenyan awards. Her biggest regae track to date remains “my sweet love” dedicated to her daughter.
Born and raised in Nairobi Kenya, Levysill took an interest in music from an early age. Levysill started performing at various talent shows in and around Nairobi after completing high school. He steadily continued to hone his skills in writing, performing and production. Levysill remained dedicated and persistent and by 2002 he released his classic debut single Tukae Masaa (sheng language for let’s move forward) which received widespread support from local media and created awareness of an upcoming Dancehall Artist. His efforts were duly noted by an upcoming label, Arkangel who signed him. Levysill’s first major concert appearance was at the AIDS awareness concert in November 2002 at the Impala Grounds where Culture was the headline act. a kenyan artist based in the united kingdom, levysill remains one of kenya’s best stage acts.
Stephantom Wargamble was born in the central region of Kenya. his voice fights to liberate people from all walks in life, but mostly to elevate ghetto people from the hopelessness situation caused by those who thinks have everything that life requires but are weak and poor in spirit,this is the voice of the down trodden ghetto youth who are lowly troding in humbleness fear to see more focused youth in the community living in traquility for the betterment of the little children. Tracks include. i love kenya, crying of the youth and freedom
He is a jack of all trades, he is a DJ with a local station, he is also a health fitness instructor and a budding musician all in one. Born and brought up in Kariobangi in a family of 10. He has grown up to live his dreams and is the past winner of the Reggae category of the Kisima awards and bags a nomination for his song ‘Unite’
An award winning Best Reggae/Ragga Artiste of the Year in the Kenya Coast Music Awards, Ras Madedo started his musical career in 2004 as a singer in a local band in the Coastal City of Mombasa. doing many stage shows at several hotels, beaches and local clubs.
In 2007 he performed at Second Annual East Africa Reggae Fest performing along side The late Mighty King-Kong and in the same year he performed along-side Israel vibrations Apple Gabriel. He has also performed together with big name like Teddy Dan, Stargate Family and Gyptian during his Kenyan Tour.
David Mukoyani aka fire son bantu is a versatile dancehall artist full of energy.some of his tracks, including light the fire, you gat me, police brutality(featuring ginjah), among many have been successful, both locally and internationally. Check him out at arkangels label
General Onyx is a multi-talented musician who has been in the industry for many years. He is a Composer, songwriter, mentor, recording and performing artiste. His debut album “Rise and shine is a statement of his belief in change, love and militancy and general healing of the black nation. ‘Niko Poa’ is a reaction to the post election violence witnessed in Kenya.
Jonny Bayata a.k.a. John Moses Wambugu Mureithi born in the early 1980s started
his musical career at very tender age while attending sunday school.At that time,he was based in
rural Nyeri where he was born and raised.He would later go on to participate in various music festivals and school choir outings and events.
This is when he developed a passion for music.During his early teen years he developed a liking for ragga and dancehall artists such as Supercat,Buju Banton,Daddy Uroy,Sizzla who deeply inspired him more to venture into music.
He has recorded the following tracks among others. No going home, Island Girl ,You went away, Away from Home, Music, Down town fans, True, Love, Candy candy
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