Sarabi’s music is influenced by everyday happenings. They create a sound picture that vividly represents Kenyan society.
Sarabi was formed in 2005. In recent years they have proved to be one of the most respected Afro fusion bands in Kenya. The group includes eight young men from the Eastland’s slums of Nairobi. They started playing together when they were all aged around 11 years only. Together over the years they have managed to create one of the most solid bands in the Kenyan music scene.
Sarabi’s music is rooted in traditional rhythms such as benga, with a blend of Western sounds. In 2013 they released their first album, titled Oyaore, to rave reviews.
In 2014 they took Kenya by storm with Sheria. Juliani, the Kenyan hip-hop legend, collaborates on the track. Sheria looks back at the maize scandal, the missing free primary education money, the Kazi kwa Vijana scandal and more.
The song also blames the Kenyan people for accepting bribes and bribing when it is convenient to do so. In his signature voice, towards the end of the song, Juliani says the tears of the perpetrators have drowned the blood of the victims, in reference to the post-election violence. He also mocks the commissions of enquiries formed over the years by saying they do not tell the truth. Finally, in regard to Westgate and in a unity call, Juliani says, ‘You are not my tribe, but you are my blood type. But it doesn’t have to take a tragedy to know that’.
Sarabi’s performances are legendary, generating excitement wherever they play. Within the last 2 years, SARABI has become one of East Africa’s most popular live bands, performing at Sauti za Busara 2015, Selam Festival in Addis Ababa, Bayimba Festival and DOADOA in Uganda, and East African Vibes Concert in Dar es Salaam. Including a successful tour in Europe during 2015, SARABI was a big hit at Africa Oye Festival in Liverpool, Roskilde Festival and WOMEX (World Music Expo) in Budapest, Hungary.
A documentary film about SARABI, their story and their music, titled Music is Our Weapon, premiered in Nairobi during February 2016. It is a film about the power of music as a tool for social change.