The terms ‘world’ and ‘African’ are becoming increasingly problematic for the discerning music consumer these days, grouping non-Western music into vague, characterless groups for the benefit of Soundcloud tags and record shop filing. Soundway Records‘ compilations go some way to reverse this trend, showcasing the rich nuances of sounds across different countries and eras throughout the continent.
Their first Kenya Special spread in 2013 was a vital introduction to the full spectrum of music flooding the country in the 70s and 80s and a much-anticipated follow-up is due to hit the shelves in October. Our pick is the super-rare ‘Hinde’ by African Vibration, a track that recently fetched $550 on eBay and has since become one of the most sought-after African 80s records around. Thomas, who helped compile the Kenya Special comps, told us that the group split soon after releasing the song, and the individual members all continued to perform, some playing the hotel circuit in Tanzania and Dar es Salaam. Sadly, since the Kenyan tourist industry nosedived after the terror threats, coastal musicians have been struggling to regular work and the musicians have fallen on hard times. While Kenya Special 2 makes no promises of a career resurrection for African Vibration, but we hope it at least brings greater awareness and appreciation for the little-known, elusive group.
Kenya Special: Volume 2 is out 7th October on Soundway – pre-order from their website.