Kenya is currently going through a presidential election process that is turning out to be more of a democratic marathon than a short sprint. The country is deeply polarized after going through an acrimonious campaign period, hotly contested elections, and finally the challenging and annulment of the results to pave way for a fresh election. One is often tempted to feel that it has become impossible to take a break from the propaganda, rhetoric, and unconcealed vitriol making rounds on various media. However, Billy Black’s recently released Untitled EP presents a great way to briefly get back a sense of calm.
Billy Black first made waves towards the end of 2015 with Sundays in Nairobi, a beautiful gem of a song which somehow compressed all the good vibes of a slow weekend in three short minutes. His Untitled EP builds on the same quiet, acoustic base resulting in six tracks covering the themes of God, love, family, and communal unity.
The bulk of the tracks on the EP are a well tailored response to the politically charged atmosphere looming over Kenya at the moment. The acoustic guitar on Tutakuwa Sawa, Wakenya Sikiliza, and One effectively cuts through the noise and evokes a gentle calmness that is further strengthened by Billy’s lyrics. Slowly and surely, Billy delivers us to the eye of the storm where we can contemplate the things that universally unite us, despite our political differences.
Billy repeats this winning formula in the rest of the EP, stepping up his lyrical game in Recognise Me and reworking Pink’s Family Portraitinto a different and much more positive creature than the original.
Billy Black’s EP provides a short and sweet solution for briefly escaping the tension and chaos of our times. However, the respite Billy Black provides is grounded in the reality that there is still lots of work to put in before we can achieve peace, prosperity and meaningful relationships.