In Afropop Worldwide’s "Country Music in Kenya," producer Brandi Howell delves into the unlikely success of the quintessential white American music genre in East Africa, specifically Kenya, where it has thrived for nearly a century. To explore more of the music heard in this episode, we recommend the following albums and videos.
Bulawayo Blue Yodel
High lonesome sounds from 1950s Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa; gorgeous omasiganda finger-picking; yodeling, raw slide guitar; and haunting travel ballads. A stunning fusion of neo-traditional African melodies and early American country-western music. Fourteen lost classics by George Sibanda, Josaya Hadebe, Sabelo Mathe, Sammy Ngaku, and more, all reissued for the first time from original 78 r.p.m. discs. The LP version includes extensive liner notes with deep research and full lyrics, packaged in old school tip-on covers. The digital version includes liner notes in PDF format. Audio restoration and transfers by Michael Kieffer. Co-released with Mississippi Records.
This album was released by ethnomusicologist John Storm Roberts on his Original Music label, and inspired Elijah Wald to seek out the elder Kenyan guitarists during his travels to Kenya.
DJ David Kimotho hosts Strings of Country on Kenya’s 3 Stones TV channel, well worth checking out. Here are two sample episodes:
Steve Rogers episode:
Sir Elvis episode:
… and a few more videos we know you will enjoy.
Steve Rogers - "Wendo Uyu"
Steve Rogers - "Your Man" (Josh Turner cover)
Esther Konkara and Reuben Kigame - "Coat of Many Colors"