In Kenya, the indigenous music of Afro Simba promotes environmental stewardship and peace

In Kenya, the indigenous music of Afro Simba promotes environmental stewardship and peace

Kombo Chokwe Burns is a musician, producer, and writer of music who has walked the artistic path from the village of Rabai on the country’s coast to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. His band Afro Simba is a 10-year old unit that explores the music of 9 indigenous coastal communities, collectively called as Mijikenda. Their debut album “Pandizo” expresses a love for peace and the environment and was also aimed at redefining & reintroducing Mijikenda music to Kenya and the rest of the world. Mongabay spoke with him at a recent expo at the Sarit Centre in Nairobi. Mongabay: Tell us a bit about yourself. Kombo Chokwe Burns: Before I started my band I used to play with local artists. I did the first album with them called Mwanzo. I have been to Ongala festival in Tanzania, Doadoa African performing arts market in Uganda, and also the Tukutane international cultural festival in Mombasa, Kenya. I have performed with local Kenyan stars like Eric Wainaina and Suzzanne Owiyo and toured Europe with a band called Kikwetu (‘our lifestyle’ in English). When I formed Afro Simba I managed to play at the Dubai global cultural village and was part of the Kenyan team that went on to perform at the Smithsonian festival in Washington DC. What are your challenges in this line of work? In Kenya we have the challenge of marketing music that does not have a commercial edge. When artists write original music that is cultural and rooted in Kenya, it is not played on air…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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