Ocha Vibes Inspire ‘African solution to African problems’

Recently, I visited my home town Khayega in Kakamega County to bury my uncle Solomon. Just as his name suggests, he was extremely wise and a very instrumental figure in my upbringing. I hadn’t been home in eight years. Something I’m especially not proud of. But my parents haven’t been around for a while so I had absolutely no incentive to partake the seven-hour bus ride or flight worth KES 17000 (this was before Jumbo Jet). Also, Kakamega forest is only famous for indigenous trees and snakes—two things that don’t necessarily turn me on.

Not much had changed. The only change this time round was that I came back a star! Let me be honest, it was shocking! First of all to my wallet! (To whom much is given…) But a lot of people from all walks of the village came to catch a glimpse of me. I could hear them talk amongst themselves about how much money and achievements Sauti Sol had (from their mouths to God’s ears); and it dawned on me. I am celebrated by my people – people who I never considered my target audience as a songwriter. I heard Sauti Sol on local radio, mixtapes, bars, public transport, you name it. Clearly, I had underestimated the reach of my gift.

Much as Sauti Sol was played, so was Jaguar, Diamond,  P Square, Lucky Dube, Davido, Brenda Fassie… and it dawned on me that Africans are so alike. We are creatures of groove and slaves of rhythm.  My people are defined by sounds and songs. Just a little intro and you automatically know where the song is from. Our easy three-chord tunes complete our simplistic lifestyles and numb our pain. I developed a new found respect for all African artists who managed to transcend borders and create continental hits to the grassroot level. The raw messages of love, heartbreak and dance carry the epic spirit and emotions of this continent.

To date we’ve toured seven African countries (best shows of my life). Made me realise for Sauti Sol to achieve greatness and global appeal, we must first be the darling of every village in this continent. Isn’t it sad that after several successful European and American tours (as we searched for a ‘big break’), we have not yet played a show in Kakamega! I’m sure they would be more than thrilled to see us live. All this time we went to search for what has been within us all along. Maybe it’s time we the prophets took the gospel to the very people who inspired its creation. Though we all know the logistical nightmare sound systems can be, especially in rural Kenya.

Being African is so in season right now. In the name of music art and sport, we have too much to celebrate. Lupita (my long time love and wife since the Oscar) has taught me that. I pity those of us still caught up chasing trends in western music and ideologies of art. In whatever you do my friends be the African solution to African problems. I believe Artists shall be the ones to unite, liberate and lead the rest of us to the promise land (KAKAMEGA).  Let us be remembered as the renaissance generation of this continent, a generation truly unruly and aware of our calling and its power.

Standing next to my uncle’s grave, I see our women carry water on their heads and babies on their backs. Men drinking busaa (Sigh… I know, I know). I see the infrastructure of mud and grass-top houses; kiosks and markets with one main-road cutting through like a wild western film.  Clouds gather. The smell of rain. Its déjà vu. Wait! I felt this in Mali, Malawi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa. Right now there’s no place I’d rather be.


Map Africa





Love and Other Drugs

My name is Bienaime, which is French for well loved. Shout-out to my parents for not calling me Pius, SosPeter, Paul etc. I just feel it would have seriously affected my turnover as far as the other gender is concerned. My name is testament to the myth that names beget people, and what you call your child is what it becomes. All my life I have only looked to be loved. I’ve been a performer for as far as I can remember. Growing up a lastborn I always wanted the spotlight (shit!!!! I can’t believe the number of times the letter ‘I’ is already used in this post).

Years later all this has come to pass. (God is Faithful) I have a successful music career with an amazing band of equally blessed individuals. Sauti Sol is a MANBAND, and rightfully so we sell emotions to people, especially women. An emotion that lacks manual or formula, an emotion called love. It has taken me a while to realize that for the longest time I never really understood what I was singing about when I said nikikuwaza usiku silali (when I think of you I can’t sleep). Maybe I was too young for it or I genuinely hadn’t felt this emotion. Kinda like Michael Jackson singing about it at seven years old; but I guess my innocence drove the message home.

My blessing of a name is indeed also my curse. I have this condition commonly known as serial monogamy (coach Kavutha’s diagnosis); where I’m constantly in or transitioning through relationships due to my thirst for constant affection from a woman. I just don’t know how to be single or how to enjoy solitude; and its pissing me off because right about now I feel needy; need to always want to be with another. Nothing sexual by the way, just companionship. (Well, I know you don’t believe me but if you’re going to keep reading my posts you have to trust me) so in the attempt to fall in love I kissed many frogs.

I’ve been in love only once in my 26 years of breath. She was the sweetest thing ever (well of course before I screwed it up big-time with my then cheating /boyish ways) I have since become a man and a lot on that end has changed. We however mended fences and are cool to this date (at least I feel so) our relationship was founded on all the right things. We were friends first, then lovers. We knew each other for around five months until one day I realized I miss her more than usual and the rest is history. She wouldn’t let me touch or kiss her until we were official. And when I eventually did I felt butterflies. Sweet huh!!!!

There after I’ve been in situationships. I call them so because they lack the basic friendship foundation and dive deep into a rollercoaster of emotional steroids. We meet and I start hitting on you on the spot. Then we hang out a couple of times later, do the deed on repeat basis and one day you introduce me as your boyfriend and I don’t mind how it sounds. Then we start to realize we lack common interests. That I fart loudly in my sleep and it pisses you off. Basically we come to the realization that besides great sex we speak different languages of life. I’m a Jazz-head you’re a Trap-head, I talk events you talk people. But at this point we’ve invested so much in it that when one person cuts loose it ends up hurting the other pretty badly.

Unfortunately my career makes it very hard for me to meet genuine people for love interests. I just can’t ask a chic out on a date without her anticipating me to bust a move. Some simply say no because of pre-sets in their mind telling them I’m a hit n run!!! (Your loss) I’ve stopped looking for love in all the wrong places. I’ve taken a step back to re-examine myself and hopefully in my quest for greatness the universe will align me with someone who compliments/completes me. For now, I just want to know your name and maybe sometime we could hook up, hangout just chill. (musicsoulchild).