Eric Wainaina & The Best Band in Africa

Eric Wainaina & The Best Band in Africa

 Nairobi, Nairobi Area, KEN
BandWorldSinger/Songwriter

Eric Wainaina speaks truth to power. His music is a blend of Benga, reggae and funk. Politicians fear him. Audiences love him. His performances create converts. Soft spoken in nature but a firebrand on stage this young man is urban, poetic, and possessed by the Revolutionary Spirit of a New Africa.

Biography

Eric Wainaina seems to have been born to “speak truth to power”. His middle class up-bringing in Nairobi and thorough music grounding at the Berklee College of music don’t make him the most likely candidate for leading social revolutions and yet this is precisely what he has done time and again though his music from the very onset of his career in Nairobi. His earliest songs, “Daima” and “Nchi Ya Kitu Kidogo” became anthems sung across the country – both of them powerful indictments of the authoritarian and ethnically divisive governments of that have been governed Kenya since independence.
Yet this soft-spoken and fiercely focused musician has never allowed his attention to be removed from the business of crafting excellent music - from his earliest days of meticulous harmony training in the hit a capella group- 5 Alive through his first engagements with creating a new contemporary sound for Kenyan music – blending Benga rhythms from the 60s and 70s with western harmony to produce what is now dubbed Afro Fusion.
His two award-winning records, Sawa Sawa(2001) and Twende Twende(2006) are still amongst the highest selling records in Kenya and his lyrical and melodic prowess make him a highly sought-after composer in collaborative projects as well as music for the screen. He was recently commissioned to write the music for a MDG campaign for the UN entitled “8 Goals for Africa” which featured African greats such as Angelique Kidjo, Baaba Maal,Oliver Mtukidzi and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
He also wrote and starred in a musical theatre production titled Mo Faya! which was presented to sold-out houses in at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and at the Godown Arts Centre in Nairobi.

Lyrics

Dek!Dek!Dek!

Written By: Eric Wainaina, Christian Kaufmann

In a made up language
In a made up time
I met a made up people
With a made up cry
Singing Dek! Dek! Dek!

In my fabrication
On the town’s main street
Stood an army general trying to make a speech
But the people would not listen
They weren’t listening any more
They’d lost too many children in the stupid war
Singing Dek! Dek! Dek!
Singing Dek! Dek! Dek!

Then the tanks began to roll
But the people would not move
And the tear gas began to choke
But the people would not move
They said, ‘Come and get me you blood suckers!
Come and get me I won’t move
These words I’m singing will live much longer
Than the skin I’m living in
I am wind now.’

Place de l’Independence is still a shade of red
Despite best efforts to help us forget
But if you listen carefully to the blades of grass
You’ll hear the missing pages of our story

Of when the tanks began to roll
But the people would not move
And the tear gas began to choke
But the people would not move
They said, ‘Come and get me you blood suckers!
Come and get me I won’t move
These words I’m singing will live much longer
Than the skin I’m living in.’

Dek! Dek! Dek!

Jana Ni Jana

Written By: Eric Wainaina, Christian Kaufmann

ana ni jana
Juzi ni juzi
Mtondoo ni jana yake
Mtondogoo ni historia

Umerauka asubuhi ya leo
Wacha kujipinga na masaibu, masaibu, masaibu ya jana

Then you wake up in the morning
The matatus blow their horns
And you ride the bumpy road
No it shouldn’t mean a thing
No it shouldn’t mean a thing

Wajitoa rangi
Wajihangaisha
Amri ya Mungu ni ujipende we wajilaumu
Je umesahau neema ni ya kila siku
Jua imepambazuka, imepambazuka, imepambazuka upya

Then you wake up in the morning
The matatus blow their horns
And you ride the bumpy road
No it shouldn’t mean a thing
No it shouldn’t mean a thing

Ah! Jana ni jana
Juzi ni juzi
Mtondoo ni jana yake
Mtondogoo ni historia
Mtondogoo ni historia

Rekebisha itakoyaweza kurekibishwa
Wacha kupoteza mda na majonzi
Wakati hauwezi kurudi nyuma
Maji yakimwagika, yakimwagika, yakimwagika hayazoleki

Ah! Waamka asubuhi
Na matatu zapiga honi
Redio mpaka mjini
Angalia mbele usoni
Angalia mbele usoni

Then you wake up in the morning
The matatus blow their horns
And you ride the bumpy road
No it shouldn’t mean a thing
No it shouldn’t mean a thing

Twende Twende

Written By: Eric Wainaina, Christian Kaufmann, Oliver Mtukudzi

(Bongo Thinas Bongo Thinas
Zunkuka Zunguzukanen)

Kuja nami tuungane tuache kuzozana
Ngatiende tiende mberi
Wajua Upendo hauna mfano hauna adui kaka
Takabatana savatema

It’s pole pole going slow
But still we’re keeping time
We’re facing forward looking up
Forgetting what’s behind

Twende Afrika heyo!

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Zvinoda rudo kubatana Kuti tibudirire
Twahitaji upendo ili tusonge mbele
Kutambura kwedu Zvichida hatina rudo
Ukosefu wa upendo waleta dhiki

There’s more to Mama Africa
Than poverty and war
I wish we had a fighting chance
To show off who we are

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Hatidi

Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Sitaki

Ukiumizwa hata mimi ninasikia uchungu
‘kiangaishwa ninalia ukilia dada
Chinokubanda misodzi yangu inobuda
Paunosuwa moyo wangu unorwadza

You hear the music miles around
The drumbeats never end
The voices raised for Africa
Nkosi Sikeleli

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Twende Twende

Written By: Eric Wainaina, Christian Kaufmann, Oliver Mtukudzi

(Bongo Thinas Bongo Thinas
Zunkuka Zunguzukanen)

Kuja nami tuungane tuache kuzozana
Ngatiende tiende mberi
Wajua Upendo hauna mfano hauna adui kaka
Takabatana savatema

It’s pole pole going slow
But still we’re keeping time
We’re facing forward looking up
Forgetting what’s behind

Twende Afrika heyo!

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Zvinoda rudo kubatana Kuti tibudirire
Twahitaji upendo ili tusonge mbele
Kutambura kwedu Zvichida hatina rudo
Ukosefu wa upendo waleta dhiki

There’s more to Mama Africa
Than poverty and war
I wish we had a fighting chance
To show off who we are

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Hatidi

Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Bongo thinas
Sitaki

Ukiumizwa hata mimi ninasikia uchungu
‘kiangaishwa ninalia ukilia dada
Chinokubanda misodzi yangu inobuda
Paunosuwa moyo wangu unorwadza

You hear the music miles around
The drumbeats never end
The voices raised for Africa
Nkosi Sikeleli

Twende Twende
Kuja nami
Twende Twende
Upande upande
We ongoza nikufuate

Tiende tiende
Mberi mberi
Twende Twende
Kwete shure
Zunguka Zunguzuka neni

Discography

Five Alive (1996)
Sawa Sawa (2001)
Ukweli (EP) (2002)
Lwanda - Man of Stone (Musical) (2003)
Kigezi ndoto(Producer) (2006)
Lwanda - A Ghetto Story (Musical) (2006)
Twende Twende (2007)
That's Why(Live Recording) (2008)
Tinga Tinga Tales (Animated TV Series) (2009/2010)
Mo Faya (Musical) (2009)
Tinga Tinga Tales (Album) (2011)
Alicia Mamoshi(Producer) (2011)
Love and Protest (2011)