Music videos are being taken much more seriously around here, both as an art form in themselves and as a medium that adds some extra personality and flavour to music releases. Even Pulse Magazine saw the need to come up with some sort of (ghastly, badly thought through) awards event for local music videos. Our list compiles 20 of the best Kenyan music vids that have been churned out this year, each with their own special quality whether it is the visual eye candy, out-of-the box filming techniques or just an amazing interpretation of the song the video comes with. Expect the usual top contenders and some rare ones as well.
20. Le Band – Sweet Paradise
Dir. Jesse Kyalo & Shollei Sam
There were two or three one-take music video projects this year mostly ranging from bland to barely interesting. This one was the best attempt of the lot, with an lively organic environment even though there was a missed opportunity to actually tell a heck of a good story.
19. Sana – Rastaman
Dir. Sinema Films
It would take a lot to make Sanaipei Tande look bad on film. All that needed to be done for this video was to point the camera in her direction and let her own the scene. For a moment, you almost forget that this song is about a dreadlocked man.
18. Owiny Sigoma Band – I Made You, You Made Me
Dir. Ian Oglivie [?]
Drawing material from their Nyanza documentary and inspired by the birth of band member Jesse Skinner’s daughter, this is a trippy and rather zany accompaniment to a joyous record right from the heart of Luoland, the very genesis of the band’s sound.
17. FBI – Balance
Dir. Bryan Adagala
The standout release from Kevin Provoke’s Dance Africa project had the added bonus of the FBI dance crew firing on all cylinders on the music video. They break down their “balance” dance routine with the persistence of exercise instructors and the nimbleness of Olympic gymnasts. Once you tire out from dancing along, the video is still as good to watch.
16. Coco – Mine is Mine
Dir. Little Kevin
Thanks to a few weird and out-of-the-box sparks of inspiration from Little Kevin, Coco’s very first music video release has a lot of character and makes for a compelling watch. You may want to avoid this if you are prone to seizures from flashing images though.
15. Johnny Vigeti ft. Abbas & Sati – Nairobi
A tour around the streets of Nairobi guided by the gritty, no-holds-barred lyrical delivery of Johnny Vigeti and Abbas backed up by Sati. An ode to the city in the sun, warts and all.
14. Juliani – Masterpiece
Dir Enos Olik
Another good day at the office for Enos Olik, combining just the right amount of relevant props, good editing and some interesting choreography.
13. Liron – Loneliness
Dir. Likarion Wainaina
Liron’s house gets emptier by the minute as traces of a past love interest fade away leaving behind a void not only in the physical space but in her heart as well. Superb execution by filmmaker Likarion Wainaina.
12. Wangechi ft. Wangechi – Cardiac Arrest
Dir. Moses Osidiana
Her first release after a grisly road accident and the irresponsible social media chatter that followed, Cardiac Arrest sees Wangechi picking up the pieces and emerging with both a stronger and a softer side to her.
11. H_art The Band – Baby Love
Dir. Kevin Bosco Jnr.
These adults dressed in school uniform and going through the motions of life in what looks like an average Kenyan primary school sure has a way of bringing back the good and bad memories of the 8-4-4 system. Nostalgia at it’s finest.
10.Pato Njugunah ft. Eric Wainaina & Frasha – Disco
Dir. Enos Olik
Road trip/party in the middle of nowhere? Check! Windmills for fans? Check! Flying kites and trumpeting in the hills? Check! The electric shuffle? Check! All these together make for a pretty good video.
9. Kato Change – African Woman
Dir. George Mugambi
A tribute to the often understated wonder of the world that is the African woman. Absolutely beautiful stuff right here.
8. Muthoni DQ ft. MI & Khaligraph Jones – Turn On The Lights
Quite a lot of work (and manpower) went into the shooting and editing of this video with the likes of visual artist Bazil Ngode chipping in. The result is a feast for the eyes and worthy of this collaboration of hip hop heavyweights.
7. Mayonde – Angels
Dir. Mbithi Masya [?]
Mayonde’s tribute to friends lost as a result of the Westgate terror attack is a fitting statement of how we’d all want to think of departed friends, family and loved ones; that they are in a happy place, somewhere out there, having more fun than we could ever imagine.
6. Fena & Wangechi – They Don’t Know
Dir. Bryan Adagala
Shot in a very unusual super-stretched widescreen aspect ratio, They Don’t Know sees Fena and Wangechi riding around the hood in green and yellow bicycles as their pals ride skateboards at the Shangilia Skatepark from sunset to late at night.
5. Silas Miami – Give A Little Love
Dir. Tashinga Mutakwa
South African filmmaker Tashinga Mutakwa translates Silas Miami’s ballad into a contemporary dance piece shot in beautiful monochrome. No distractions or unnecessary additions; just a great piece of work by a director who knows a thing or two about interpreting the source material. [Check out our review here]
4. Sauti Sol – Isabella
Dir. Stevie Rodriguez
With stunning shots of Las Vegas and its outlying sand dunes, Sauti Sol take a back seat in this story of a lovely couple having a night out on the town. What’s not to like about this?
3.Yvonne Darcq ft. Victoria Kimani – Ooh La La Oui Oui
A delicious melange of good set design, impeccable costumes and makeup, bursts of colour as well as a very natural musical and visual collaboration between these two ladies. Yum.
2. P. Unit – Weka Weka
Dir. Enos Olik
P. Unit’s Christmas gift from late last year rolled over to become one of the most played tunes on Kenyan radio and TV in 2015. If the planets align, a lot of good things tend to happen when Enos Olik directs a music video on a proper budget. The main attraction of the music video is the dance choreography and the variety of characters. It’s the unforgettable turnt up party you wish you had attended.
1. Just A Band ft. Owuor Arunga – Winning in Life
Dir. Mbithi Masya
Just A Band’s Mbithi Masya took the lead in creating the visuals for their latest banger, backed up by some great coloring and cinematography by Joan Poggio and equally awesome choreography by Kui Kariuki and Kwach Willy. Depicting a couple’s first moments after realizing they have brought a new life into this world, this music video has so many visually captivating scenes. Who would have thought a boda boda ride could look so cool?!