Cover Story

The Anthem of Our Popular Struggle: Wimbo wa Mapambano Ya Umma

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 01/04/2017  
1. Kupigwa na Kupokonywa Maisha Hakutatuzuia sisi Wananchi Kunyakua Uhuru wetu Na haki ya jasho letu... Jasho letu X2

On Culture, spirit and humanity

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 01/04/2017  
AwaaZ has done well to focus the attention of readers on the topic of culture — the issue on graffiti and street art; and on the events at the Samosa Festival —are good examples of this, as is this issue on protest music. The importance derives from the ways in…

Beyond Protest to Liberation Music

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  
Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, a feat that has been hailed and ridiculed by critics in equal measure. That Bob Dylan music was even considered for the award is an accomplishment by itself, a subtle recognition of the brand of protest music he has…

Face to Face

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  
Are artists obligated to speak out against injustice in their society? By Mwongela Kamencu In various ways, song has played different roles in influencing social and political change. As discussed in the previous articles, music has played a vital role in influencing the societies we live in. Through song, artists…

The place of Kenyan Identity in Popular Music as National Emblems

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  
It is wrongly assumed that by singing in Kiswahili the songs of the 60s and 70s functioned to unite Kenyans. I want to take a dissenting position to the one which states that Kiswahili, more than English or our ethnic languages, has functioned to unite Kenyans. This position is inspired…
If there are two types of rulers in every society, that is, those who use physical force to subdue men, and those that employ beautiful things, sweet songs and funny stories, rhythm, shape and colour, to keep individuals and society sane and flourishing, then in my view, it is the…

Contemporary Musicians and their Songs

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  
Stanley Gazemba, Kenya’s well known author, writes: ‘The overriding theme is PROTEST. They all speak out against social and political injustice. Most of the songs speak out against an oppressive political leadership that undermines the downtrodden, mostly the urban poor. Others champion the rights of women and protection of the…

Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  
Duration: 1 hour 38 minutesReviewer: Mwongela Kamencu Discussions on the success of contemporary Kenyan music usually involve comparisons with music industries of other African countries that are viewed to be more dominant internationally and continentally. These discussions rarely consider the musical histories of these countries which could have served as…

Retracing Kenya’s Songs of Protest

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 05/04/2017  
Duration: 48 minutes 53 seconds Everybody underestimates the role of the artist and I think that is their strength – Former Chief Justice of Kenya, Dr Willy Mutunga. When he said the above in Retracing Kenya’s Songs of Protest, Willy Mutunga probably meant that no one looks at an artist…