Sauti Sol is one of the hottest musical groups out of Africa right now. Their pop sound, mixed with traditional Kenyan influences has made them one of the most popular groups in East Africa.The four members of the group, Bein-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano, Delvin Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno, came together to produce two successful albums over the course of three years.
Whether they are singing a cappella, or accompanied by soulful guitar, and rhythmic drums, Sauti Sol creates music that connects with their fans worldwide. “Music is the business of selling emotion. Human emotion is the same globally, so if we are singing about love, it may not be in a language that everyone understands, but music is what helps people understand emotion,” said Baraza.
Recently, the Africa based band attended an American music festival called South by Southwest. The bands explains that they don’t like to confine themselves to a specific region because traveling the world connects them to different audiences. They believe that influence is not something you go out looking for, it just happens. “We met so many artists from around the world at South by Southwest, and I could see the passion, and that made us think about our strategy for taking over the world,” said Chimano.
Die hard fans of Sauti Sol, who have followed them from the beginning, have said that Sauti Sol’s sounds has transitioned recently to a more “pop” sounds. Sauti responded by confirming that as they grow and change, so does their music. “A lot has changed, and we expect complaints, but we are not the same people we were when we were starting out; the things we are going through emotionally are different and we write our story based on what we are going through now,” said the band. “We have to incorporate different elements to keep up with the times. Sometimes you have to lose some to gain some.” Sauti sol believes that deep down, they are still the same band they were when they were starting out. The explained that once you let your fans dictate your sound, you have lost yourself. You are the one who has to discover and develop yourself.
Their latest album Live and Die in Africa, resonates with their fans because of their passion and belief in their home continent. “We need to glorify our art in our continent before we expand it. That’s why the album is titled Live and Die in Africa to celebrate our own things and tell our stories to make african people feel proud of being here. Once they feel that, it will be easy to take the support and create a good base with the fans to spread our music out.”
When Sauti Sol was asked about their goals for the future, an answer did not come easily. They explained that although they have goals, planning too far ahead is a way of limiting yourself. They know where they want to go, and they take it one step at a time to get there. “We may have big dreams, but we have to take it step by step and see what God has in store for us.”
As part of their initiative called “Suma Suma,” which is Swahili for “read,” Sauti Sol mentors young people as a way to encourage them to pursue their dreams. In African society, children are told what careers to go for. Sauti Sol, on the other hand, tells children that if they are doing what they truly love to do, then it doesn’t feel like a job. “We tell kids that you can step out and be anything you want to be as long as you have a vision, a calling, and focus. we erase the plan B mentality that people have against the arts.” The band believes that they were meant to bring music into the world, and they use their inspiration to encourage kids to follow their dreams and make Africa a better place.
The video below is Sauti Sol’s song titled Sura Yako