It’s 9AM on a Tuesday morning, it’s kinda dead at work, so to kick the boredom factor, I’m rocking to ‘Life of the Party’ on my earphones. Just A Band’s new album ’Sorry for the delay’ has officially become my soundtrack of the day/week/month.
Just A Band’s third studio album, “Sorry For The Delay”, released on the 27th of October 2012, is a collection of songs about life and death, light and darkness, fun, laughter and friendship, rolled into synthy-moody captivating beats complete with, get this … elephants trumpeting.
People, it seriously rocks – a heady mix of African folk music, jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica, reminiscent of virtual band Gorillaz’s alternative dub and pop sound.
Its light grooves, complex instrumental backgrounds, and excellent vocals (most improved, gentlemen!) are mixed in with moments of intense lyricism and insight into Africa’s good, bad and ugly realities, while excellent studio mixing makes this one of the most professional albums to come out of Kenya, and indeed Africa in a long time.
Overall, this one of the few albums I’d recommend as buying in its entirety – each song is a a veritable discovery, an anthem for young and old – be it to love, self love, acceptance, finding home or overcoming hardship. The songs are a confessional, a call to dance and let loose, to be proud of being African – no matter what tribe or background you come from. (I especially loved the Kamba – Kenyan – tribal influence in ‘Bush Baby Disco’).
For those who need a refresher, Just a Band is a Kenyan house/funk/disco band whose career was launched with their debut album, Scratch To Reveal, in 2008. The trio released their sophomore studio effort, 82, on October 2, 2009, and its been three years since, thus the title of the new album.
The group was formed when their members were studying at the Kenyatta University. They went on to release the song “Iwinyo Piny” accompanied by a self-made animated music video. Initially the song received little airplay due to its unconventional musical style, but with time they started to gain popularity through underground channels. Their debut album Scratch To Reveal was relatively successful.
Their second single ‘Ha-He’ (2010) was accompanied by a music video featuring a character known as ‘Makmende’ – Africa’s first superhero slash James Bond caricature. The video (below) has subsequently been described as Kenya’s first viral internet meme by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fast Company.
The trio are not just music artists – they’re notorious for managing all aspects of their music career from writing, recording and engineering their music, to creating their own music videos, and even designing all their packaging and promotional material (incorporating anime and animation, illustration and photography in their visual campaigns), while establishing a strong web and blog presence.
An elusive bunch, JAB’s band members have a pretty, quirky sense of humour as evidenced in their much publicised fictional backstory that ‘lists’ their disparate origins: “Dan had just returned to Kenya from three years of travelling with a Touareg caravan led by Hazim Barghai … Bill had no idea where he came from, having spent 13 years of his life under hypnosis. He came to his senses sometime in 2002, finding himself living in an abandoned convent in Limuru … Jim spent many years of his youth serving Arabic coffee in the coffee and opium dens of Kilgoris.”
JAB are definitely a talented, tight crew with a great sense of musicology and an inspiration for all Africans – especially when it comes to excellence – this band does everything in its repertoire really well – and for that we congratulate them!
Download ‘Sorry for the Delay’ right here: http://music.just-a-band.com/album/sorry-for-the-delay
(You can also find Just a Band on Spotify - probably the best thing to happen to me today!!)