EDM Kenya’s Producer List 2015
It is that time of the year again when we publish a list of producers who have made ripples with their music throughout the year. Being the second list (You can check out last year’s list here), a lot has changed; new names popping up, the regulars upping their game. All this to make the scene better.
For Electronic music to make it to the mainstream in Kenya, I personally think that the artists need to come together and work as a collective rather than competing with each other. I mean, competition is okay because it reminds you that if you slack you’ll be overthrown but currently the competition that is there is “negative”. People don’t want to help each other out in fear that if you help someone they will be better than you. No,it doesn’t work like that people.
Anyway,here is the list of producers and creatives who made 2015 into what 2015 was.
- East African Wave
The newest kid on the block will kick start our list. You might not have heard them on your radio (yet) but this is a sound that everyone needs. Something fresh, crisp and definitely ours!
EA Wave is a movement/ group term of the different sounds emanating from the region similar to the blanket term ‘EDM’ (Electronic Dance Music). EA Wave consists of Sub Genres that different individuals are pushing; UKWELI with Swahili Trap, Nu Fvnk with Swahili Bass and Jinku with Tribal Downtempo.
Check out the creatives behind this awesomeness:
Ukweli is a 19 year old producer born and raised in Nairobi. He is partly Tanzanian, Seychellois, Somalian and Ethiopian.
The name Ukweli signifies his artistic truth in all his endeavors.
Ukweli creates a collage of genre-less electronic music that has an element of African percussive sounds. As a visual artist, his work has been described as surreal. Currently Ukweli is working on the LP’s of various artists such as Joseph Kiwango, Karun, MClaire as well as his own debut EP.
Nu Fvnk pursued music in the hope to become a rapper but being young in the industry with a limited network, he took the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach. As time went by he found himself more into the beat creation game without even realizing it.
He ventured into electronic music after a friend of his made a progressive house tune and called it a song. At the time, a song to him had to have vocals otherwise it was just a beat. After knowing that you could express yourself just through beats and that it qualified to be called a song, Nu Fvnk fully ventured into production.
Jinku is the alter ego of Graphic Designer/Artist Jacob Solomon, hailing from Nairobi Kenya.
Jinku is a space monkey, who made planet earth his second home. Over the years he has become a sponge of different influences ranging from rock, classical music to electronic music. Through this, he creates hybrids of music that carry all these influences. He has been part of Santuri since 2014, Sondeka Production Workshops and is also part of the EA Wave, which is a combination of traditional elements within the East African culture combined with new genres. He has recently finished his EP entitled AMADEYO that is awaiting international distribution via Sofa Lounge Records.
Hiribae is a young,fresh creator from Nairobi, Kenya. He refers to himself as a creator because he explores various art forms all to convey one message. His music journey started around five years back when he started playing the trumpet for his school’s orchestra. With time, Hiribae delved deeper into music production; which he has been doing for the past two years now. His bravura can be described as “conscious music with a chill, psychedelic twist”. He is currently working with a new group of artists (East African Wave) to help widen his musical scope and hopefully get more in touch with his African authenticity.
MVROE is a producer / DJ from Nairobi that started DJ’ing in 2012. Since then has been working on a lot of sub genres in music in the hope of establishing an EA Sound. He is working with various artists and DJ’s in and out of the region while learning the art of music and figuring out the future of his sound and where it will take him.
- Brian Mahemba
Mahemba is a producer/ Dj hailing from the sandy beaches of Mombasa, Kenya. I have followed this guy’s musical journey from the beginning. I have seen him put 101% work since 2014 when I gave him a copy of his first DAW. His remixes (three of them) of Major Lazer’s hit song, Lean On put him on the spot light getting over 12,000 plays on Soundcloud.
Hailing from the coast, it is only natural for Mahemba to try and fuse Taarab music with electronic sounds to create that authentic and unique vibe to his music, something which he is currently working on. He also has a side project where he touches on the notable subgenres of EDM; Progressive House, Big Room and Hardstyle.
We are also currently working with Mahemba on a collaborative EP which is set for release in 2016. Watch this space!
- Cosmic Elation
Nilkesh Ladhani and Rashpal Mediratta are double trouble! Better known as Cosmic Elation, these two incredible ninjas have been some of our favorite artists this year here at EDM Kenya. They are young, they are talented and they are determined. With support from the likes of TwoLoud, JoeySuki and Twiig – releases on major labels such as SB Records and House Party Records, the two have gained over 16K plays on Soundcloud & 26K on Youtube. It truly has been a good year for Cosmic Elation.
- Saint Evo The Myth
2015 has been a busy year for the main man from Celsius Degrees; seeing him release four singles – one featuring the Godfather of Kenyan Hiphop, Kitu Sewer. Not stopping there, Evo released the Kalijo Remix EP which featured talents from South Africa to Nairobi. If you thought he was done, Saint Evo went ahead and produced the Burn Hard EP which is a mellow 2 track compilation from the first lady of Equatorial House, Inami. Doing shows from the Big Square to Blankets and Wines Africa Nouveau, Saint Evo got a nomination for the Best DJ in Nairobi on UP Magazine
- Yoki Hars
Yoki Hars have had a good year. From collaborating with Chris Wamae (known as Bandana Gang when working together) to collaborating with rock band, Irony Destroyed. Yoki Hars have diversified their sound from their progressive house signature to doing rock/metal tracks, Trap, Dubstep and other sub genres of EDM. You should be on the look out for their EP, Timpany which is set to drop on the 14th of February 2016.
A student of Music at Kenyatta University, Hendrick is a die hard musician, producer, remixer and pianist. Starting his journey back in 2013, Hendrick has found his niche at Electro House, Progressive House, Big Room and Complextro. His sound derives influence from classical music, jazz and contemporary music. Currently he is working on a number of projects including an album with his band Rhythm City and producers like Xander X, Jeff Muteru, Mahemba, Dominic Kuol, Dj Hex and Amenya.
One thing that sets Kalcha Denis apart from most electronic music producers in the country at the moment is his soulful touch which can be felt across his music. If you are looking for an artist who does “proper house” without all the phat kicks and wild snares that come with today’s House music, I recommend you check this lad’s Soundcloud account. One of the best tracks I’ve heard from him is the soulful rendition of the Kansoul’s hit song, Dabotap.
- Lectronica Circle
From promoting their music on mainstream media to doing collaborations with Kenyan Dancehall Legend, Wyre, Lectronica Circle is one of the most notable names in the industry right now. They have never slowed down since day one. One thing I like about these guys is how they connect with their fans; from that deep conversation that was going on Facebook about a month ago to setting up charity events- you just have to appreciate what they are doing. Keep on the good work lads!
Jesse Sembene is a producer/ remixer and sampler who goes by the name Jezzem. The most prolific track from his account is the remix of Sauti Sol’s Isabella; so simple yet so good. Another thing about Jezzem is that he is all about the 254; remixing home grown music into dance hits. Jezzem is also a score composer producing the theme song for Arusha’s Zinduka Festival. Not limiting himself to the EDM blanket, Jezzem is also working on some RnB, Trap, Hip Hop and some Funky songs under “PBJ”. Jezzem promises that 2016 will be a better year as he will be releasing his Ep, “Kelektro” and start doing shows. All the best Jezzem!
- Ned Stark
Trance Music is his forte and in world full of Big Room, Trap & Progressive house creators, you have to appreciate producers who do their own thing. Ned Stark has so much potential which is continually being realized with every new release. We don’t have a lot of producers doing trance around, probably because they do not know what it is (Trance is a feeling), but we appreciate when we come across one. Discover more about his music on his Soundcloud
Notable Acts of 2015
We can all agree that there were many people who released good music this year. Unfortunately not everyone can fit in the top 10 and that’s why we pay homage to the rest on this Notable Acts of 2015 List.
- Factory Deejays
- Dharam Pankhania
- Jed Kuria
- Heet Joshi
- Tribesmen (Manjaro)
- Simplly Addy
15. Joe KikMan