The rock music scene in Kenya may not be as vibrant as one would have hoped. Nevertheless, there are a few bands keeping the genre alive: Rash Band, Murfy's fLaw, Last Year’s Tragedy and Parking Lot Grass are some of the rock bands in Kenya.
Rash Band emerged on the music scene in 2013 and are focused on elevating the stature of Kenyan rock music.
As a continuation of their project, the five-piece band will on 24 September release their debut album Only A Few Survivors at the Alliance Francaise, Nairobi. The 10-track album addresses a host of issues affecting the Kenyan society. Social injustice, unemployment and corruption among them.
"Despite social injustice, tribalism and poverty, only a few survivors haven't bowed down to the system," a statement by the band says. According to the band the occasion of the launch of the album is a moment for music fans to come together to advocate for a better tomorrow.
The title “Only a few Survivors” is taken from the album's lead single ‘Sons of Robot’, a song about how technology has taken over the lives of people and minimalized face to face interaction. "We are all stuck in the virtual world and so many things are going wrong because we no longer value personal interaction," says the band's drummer Samuel Gakungu. "While we embrace technology for its many benefits it has brought to the lives of people, through this song we want to urge people to value the aspect of face to face interaction."
Other songs on the album are 'Usiku Mbaya' ( A Bad night), ‘Msafiri’ (traveller), ‘A Night in the Rock Bar’, ‘Dream Chaser’, ‘Let it Be Rock’, ‘Beer Party’, ‘Animal Man’, ‘Darkness and Witchcraft’ and 'Pasala Bien' (Have a good time).
Rash Band was formed in early 2013 when Maximiliano Filardi (Max) met with Abed Kariuki (Abedi) at the University and both realized they shared the same passion for rock music. Max’s brother Sebastian Filardi (Sebas) later joined the band for some time. Much later the other members Jonas Mwendwa (bassist), Samuel Warui (Sam) the band's vocalist and Gakungu joined.
Perhaps because rock music isn't well received in Kenya, the band is focused on creating music that will cross both the national and the east African border and appeal to the international rock scene. Recently, the band played at the Nyege Nyege International Music Festival in Uganda. They have also played at the Rift Valley Festival in Kenya in 2014.
With the release of the album, the band hopes that their music will reach more people and that the album will enable them break into new territories. Rash Band is optimistic that it is just a matter of time before rock music is fully accepted in the Kenyan music domain.
Only A Few Survivors will be available for sale during the launch at KES 300 (about $ 2.96) and available at select shops at KES. 500 ($4.94). Advance tickets to the launch are KES 400 ($3.95) and at the door KES 700 ($6.91). For more information visit the Rash Band Facebook Page.