Sauti Sol
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Sauti Sol

Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya | INDIE

Nairobi, Nairobi Area, Kenya | INDIE
Band World Pop




"Sauti Sol short documentary"

Sauti sol introduces itself during a performance in Nairobi Kenya for 12,000 people, guest performance by Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Vimeo

"Amid the SXSW Avalanche, a Chance to Discover"

"My own SXSW schedule is a long and impossible wishlist; I’m concentrating on bands new to me while trying to balance them with big newsworthy events. I’m mixing new and known today, heading for Santigold, Ms. Apple, a Kenyan band named Sauti Sol, the songwriters Foy Vance, Mirel Wagner and Bahamas, the rapper 2 Chainz, perhaps Cotton Mather and a dozen more possibilities" - New York Times - Jon Pareles

"SXSW 2012 Preview"

All Songs Considered is Austin-bound! On this week's show, host Bob Boilen, producer and co-host Robin Hilton, editor Stephen Thompson and NPR Music critic Ann Powers talk about the bands they're most excited to see this year at South by Southwest - NPR

"Sauti Sol's acoustic voices"

Published on 19/11/2009
The hit single Lazizi is such a classic romantic rhapsody. Indeed, the entire Sauti Sol’s debut album Mwanzo is a great musical experience to many listeners. In fact, Lazizi popularly known as Java is about a young man serenading his beau.

In the song, the smitten lad refers to Lazizi as a gift from heaven as he pours his heart out.

"I spend sleepless nights thinking of you. When I see you with other guys I feel so bad."

These soulful vocals are matched with great acoustics to create magical sound.

This was Sauti Sol’s homecoming Concert at Galileos that saw many fans throng the venue.

Elijah Girimani and his girlfriend Mercy Ringera were among the fans who defied the evening downpour to get jiggy with this upcoming band. The programme’s officer in the Commitee of Experts on constitutional review danced his way holding his girlfriend’s hand to the stage. Then, everything came into a standstill.

Sauti Sol on stage
In an emotional twist, Elijah went down on one knee and proposed: "Will you marry me," as Mercy broke into tears as she nodded. The couple then hugged tightly kissing passionately infront of the cheering crowd.
By 10pm, doors had closed as an approximated 400 people waited in the rain but all in vain. Clearly, the organisers had underestimated the turnout.


It was a concert marked by Nairobi’s "A" class celebville. At some point, even some of the city’s big names could not access the VIP lobby. From divas like Suzzanna Owiyo to celebrated soccer star like Dennis Oliech.

Sauti Sol which consists four high school pals Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Chimano, Delvin Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno has just returned to Kenya after a successful two months tour of Diemen, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London and Gothenburg.

The sudden rise to stardom for Sauti Sol whose acoustic fusion beyond Alliance Francaise where only a handful of devoted fans would cheer them is impressive.

After holding several shows at Alliance Francaise and participating in Spotlight on Kenyan Music concerts, Sauti Sol held their first solo-concert last year at the same venue and consequently released their debut album Mwanzo. Since then, the response has been overwhelming.

Their music is refreshing and soothing. The lyrics are infections with simple messages inspired by everyday challenges. The delightful urban feel African sounds and great harmony has made them unique. They are accepted across the age groups.With their multi-talent approach and music professionalism, their live performances stand out.

And in this, working with producer Robert Waweru (Wawesh) has given them an edge over their competitors.

The tracks in the album include Nairobi, Zosi, Wera, Asubuhi, Lazizi, Asante sana Baba and Subira. Others include Mapacha, Mushivala, Blue Uniform, Sunny Days and Mama Papa.

Having started off from the right footing, one can easily argue that Sauti Sol is going places. - Standard media (Kenya)

"Soulful sounds of Sauti Sol"

Posted Saturday, August 22 2009 at 15:43

There is a new sound in town – Afro-soul. And, thanks to the all-boys band Sauti Sol, the fan base for the genre is increasing with each passing day.

Sauti Sol, comprising Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Chimano, Delvin Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno, stand out for their use of the acoustic guitar.

Though they sing of ordinary issues such as love, their sound is distinct. Their song, Lazizi, off the 14-track album Mwanzo (beginning), has won the hearts of many fans for its soulful lyrics.

Last weekend, it was the only song by a Kenyan group performed at the ongoing Tusker Project Fame 3. To the artistes, the performance by Kenyan contestant Patricia came as a pleasant surprise.

“I started getting calls from friends congratulating us. We were happy that people loved the song,” says Baraza.
Lazizi is a love ballad about a girl by the same name with whom the singer has fallen in love and wants to go out with.

As Patricia sang, the TPF audience sang along with her, just as they did other popular songs by foreign artistes.

Everyday issues

Sauti Sol’s is Afro-soul with an appeal across the generations. That is what makes them popular though they sing about everyday issues.

“We use our experiences. When I talk about taking a girl out for coffee at Java, it’s because I have done that and many people frequent that place,” says Baraza.

Their growing popularity, though not totally unexpected due to their unique delivery of the songs and instrumentation, has motivated them to spread their wings.

“We didn’t expect to hit so early,” Baraza says. “We knew people would love our music but we never expected this and we are grateful to God.”

Sauti Sol were expected to start a month-long tour of Europe on Friday. “The tour will take us to Amsterdam and London and we are really looking forward to it,” Baraza told Lifestyle on Wednesday. Having previously performed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, they hop their tour in Sweden and Britain will be successful.

An encore

“People (in Addis Ababa) loved our music and even asked for an encore despite it being their first time to hear our music,” Chimano recalls.

Baraza, Chimano and Mudigi attended Upperhill Secondary School while Otieno went to Strathmore School in Nairobi.
They began their group back in their secondary school days but it was after graduating in 2005 that they grounded themselves well in music.

They started their career at the 200 Spotlight on Kenyan Music competition in 2006 where they were finalists.

Originally called Sauti, the group added the Sol – which is Spanish for Sun – because there were several groups in Uganda and Tanzania who went by the same stage name. They began as an a capella group and added the acoustic guitar to cut their unique style.

“Our mentor, John Katana of Uyoga band (now Them Mushrooms), advised us to go the direction we have taken,” Baraza says.

“Ours is a new Kenyan sound and a new beginning in the music industry,” Chimano says confidently.

Education is still important to them and they have joined local universities to study for various professions.

Baraza is a second year journalism student at USIU, Mudigi is a third year banking and Accountancy student at Nazarene University, while Chimano is a fourth year journalism student at the University of Nairobi.

Otieno is studying actuarial science at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. They say the professions will make them manage their music better

Handle PR

“We are not studying so we can have another career away from music, no. We want to use it to better our music. I deal with the group’s finances, Chimano and Baraza handle PR while Otieno can do a lot with his actuarial science,” Mudigi says.

The band is signed by rapper Wawesh’s Penya Label, which also houses another Afro-soul star, Stan. It was Stan who took Wawesh to Sauti’s first gig while he was scouting for artistes to sign.

“He liked what he saw and we signed with him. He is a brilliant manager and we are not yet done with music. We want to change the Kenyan music scene and help build a music industry,” Baraza says. - Nation Media (Kenya)

"Album Review: Sauti Sol "Sol Filosofia""

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 13:34

As I drove down the Rift valley escarpment, I threw in my sol Filosofia album into the CD compartment and my car roared to life. The sweet melodious beats of the first song ‘Mbinguni’ (heaven) made me step on the gas harder than I expected. Blame it on excitement of having bought this album and taking it for a drive. Our first date. This song is the best to usher in the heavenliness of this acoustic African filled album.

The album
This is their sophomore album and it is different from the first album in many ways. The maturity can be felt in the creation and execution resulting to life.
The next tune that follows is a slow sweet expression of how a lady ought to be treated ‘Malaika’ (angel). It can be a good make up song if the dude messed up and realized and you need a local song that you can sing along to as you fake a tear.

‘Coming home’ has been well received in the local media and has recorded over 44,530 hits on You Tube. It is a narration about leaving a loved one and going away for a while with the knowledge of returning to being with them trying to infuse the fact that even though you left you are constantly thinking of them and longing to come back where your heart is. The lingala tune makes it awesome to dance to (if you are holding someone).

The tempo picks up with the zulu like tune in the next song ‘Soma Kijana’ which is more like a lecture on patience and hope. (I love the dance in the video). This song got me a girl once. I won’t say more.
As always, there is a track that goes ‘spiritual’. I have found this a common thing with music under the Penya lebal.. The song that gets me to the bones and proves that my two left feet can defy orders and try to dance is ‘Nambe’ a luhya tune about life. The chorus can get a dead man out of the grave for a jig.

If you are thinking of proposing to someone and you want a sure yes then do it when ‘L.A.D.Y’ is playing coz it will work magic. With lines like, “I look at you, the raising sun I see, every ray beholds the beauty you bear….” How can you get a no with such lines?

The album has 12 tracks and all are worth listening to as it is well executed. The album is very well laid out as the music begins with a high tempo and eases down through the album giving a wavy feel of dance igniting music and slowdowns before taking a reggae tune towards the end. The album was produced by Robert Wawesh Kiboy

Sauti sol

Sauti soul is a well known acoustic band singing what is commonly known as afro-fusion composed of Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Chimano, Delvin Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno. With three of its members having being a part of a gospel group in Upper hill high school.

Would I advice you to buy it? Yes of course I would. I actually have a copy and if it was not for my financial handicap I would have another one besides it. Its great value for money and a pleasant gift too for many of the ladies I know.
Note: if you have recently been dumped please do not listen to ‘Sofia’, it will move you to tears.

Pictures from And

Review by Robert Mahebo

- Simple motion

"Album review: Sauti Sol "Sol Filosofia""

Sauti Sol is all about consistency - this album covers diverse topics and spells out in bold letters that they are here to stay. For spiritual nourishment ‘Mbinguni’ is a well stringed composition with both super acoustics and an electric tendency. Most of the album is love ballads such as ‘Malikia’, ‘Awinja’ ‘Coming Home’ and ‘L.A.D.Y’. They deserve an educational award for encouraging young people to embrace school on ‘Soma Kijana’. These are the kind of role models the young nation needs not just ones that promote debauchery. They get very soulful on the reggae track ‘Private Spice’ which is really about having a great time. They sign off with ‘Sol Generation’ which is a political manifestation about leaders of tomorrow. This is definitely a five star album.
Posted by Buddha Blaze at 2:34 AM
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Satori said...

I was lucky to see them peform live in Austin, TX at SXSW Music Festival.. the energy was AMAZING! I became a fan that day
July 6, 2011 11:17 AM - Buddha Blaze's world

"Sautisol's "Sol Filosofia" Album Review"

Barely three years since they stepped into Kenya’s music scene, the story has been of the rise and rise of Sautisol! In 2009 the group released their debut album; MWANZO! This past Christmas the group blessed their fans with another studio album called Sol Filosofia! Their much-anticipated sophomore album that was recorded in the plush Svenska gramaphone studios in Sweden during their recent 3 month-long European tour.

By Anyiko Owoko

1. Mbiguni 5.00

The soft drums fused in Polycarp’s guitar create quite an alluring opening to the album’s first song. The story about the girl crying and fed up of life’s troubles is just but a reflection of us. We all have troubled days leaving us wishing that heaven would come down on us if the world won’t swallow us already. This is a very inspiring song, not gospel but very spiritual because deep down, most of us really want to go to heaven when the time comes.

P.S that electric guitar really kills it at the end!

2. Malikia 4.00

This is the undisputed Lazizi of Solfilosofia, a simple ballad. Just like Lazizi Polycarp’s fancy fingers on the guitar starts up the song’s rhythm, and in the same comparison Delvin does justice to the opening verse. The lyrics of this song asking the seemingly undecided girl to come love him marry him, have his kids, maybe twins, begging for the chance, sound like a continuation to Subira and Zosi from MWANZO. It’s not: Be careful girl, like Zosi, or goodbye you were too choosy like Subira, but the boys lyrics seem to have matured up to: its time, just marry me! Perfect dedication to a girl. This one needs a very sweet music video with a solid storyline.

3. Coming home 4.42

This one is a classic, no doubt. Afro-acoustic soul meets rumba. The lyrics are deep, we all know of people we love who have travelled far away or even passed away. Every time we think of the miles away, it feels so sad. The thought of a reunion usually gives us a glimpse of hope. The boys sing about this instance. I didn’t like the rumba bit much, probably because I preferred the first part of the song but then again. Love the cello at the end! So love + don’t like + love= Loved the song! Video already shot awaiting the release date.

4. Soma Kijana 4.03

One of my favorite tracks! First because of the Kwaito sound, it’s so sweet and catchy, makes you want to swing! Second, Sauti are singing in unison!? How cool is that?? Kinda like a very sane choir. The second part of the song is plain Daudi Kabaka! I salute you Sauti for making such a classic song, not to forget the powerful lyrics urging the youth to pursue education ASAP as there’s no getting younger, this is the time! Check out the video.

5. Awinja 5.30

One of my replay tracks! Now if I wasn’t of Luo decent, there is nothing I would have wanted as to be French or Luhya! Sauti make Lunje sound soooo good! I mean, I sing to all their Lunje songs not knowing what they mean. This song defies the saying that, “Music comes from the heart” You can feel the subtle intensity of this one even without the ability to understand Lunje. This song is the first in this album to bring out Bien’s vocal prowess! He lets himself loose pouring intimacy into his verse, the result= Very personal and deep. I remember the first time I heard this song at one of their rehearsals; I shed a tear not knowing what they were singing about. I later learnt that the song is a tribute to all the mamas out there who defy boundaries in pursuit of working hard just so raise their kids.

P.S Bien’s mum is called Awinja. Enough said.

7. Nambee 5.35

If songs had sisters then Nambee would be related to Mbinguni. It has the kind of spirituality feel felt in Mbinguni. It sounds like a pied piper song, you just wanna sing to it and join the bandwagon. The boys sing about how we are always fast to rant about life’s struggles that we rarely take time to thank God for what he has done for us. I retract a bit though; this one is more of an inspirational track. Its upbeat tempo renders it fit for a dance probably at a concert, at home, in church, name it! My best part is at the first bridge where they do a somewhat acapella with the band pausing, it’s so bad that you can never translate some vernacular meaning to English or any other language for that matter but in a nutshell, Chim told me that, “Avandu vashiri khumanya mwina mukali, ni papa aliye mbiguni” means that, we all don’t know but there is one who’s most high who watches over us and He, is in heaven.

P.S you must see Sautisol perform this one live, usually ELECTRIC!

8. L.A.D.Y 5.15

This is one of Sauti’s oldest tracks! Believe it or not, it was written around 3 years ago but for some strange reason the boys never loved it much. I had heard them sing it just for fun, I always told them how nice it was but they doubted it and subsequently missed to include it in Mwanzo. So glad that they finally came to their senses :-) I think it sounds so western in a good way, it’s a baby making jam by all standards. Bien’s vocals are just amazing, they would make any sane woman fall in love with him if not the song already! The song’s lyrics that are poetic are just the perfect gift to all the gentlemen out there in pursuit of a lady. The song sounds like something Boyz II Men would effortlessly do! I know I sound crazy comparing them to Boyz II Men but they are definitely the Kenyan version. The vocal arrangement is absolutely amazing, professional and just amazing. The accapella fade out of the song tells it all. Special shout out to Andrew on that bass guitar noma sana!

9. Row your boat 4.15

Polycarp’s fancy fingers mixed in the cello are at it again!! Special shout out to Lennart Esbornn for stroking it (cello) like that, damn! Chimano’s vocals shine in this one; he takes onto the first verse quite well. Did he pull an Ayub Ogada somewhere at the start? Insert Fb (Like) Inspired by the famous round song, this rendition is a story in a traditional setting about a young boy whose father is a fisherman and he would like to emulate him one day! It sounds like a good soundtrack for an African set movie. I pray that all the big movie producers bump into this one, Sauti kaching’! $$$$$$$

P.S the last chorus during the last 30 secs of the song is plain orgasmic leaving you wanting more!

10. Sofia 4.40

Why Sofia? Why oh why!? While my name is Rosey! I wonder why Sauti don’t just use my name, I mean Rosey isn’t that bad, or is it? Nway on a very serious note, this song is an immediate continuation to the MWANZO feel. Also a Lazizi, am lost for a description. You hear it and immediately link it to Sautisol’s identity. You want to be chilling in your room jamming to this, you want to hear it over that dinner with family, and you want to hear it on your iPod to start your day. What do you know? They up’ed their game but they still got their mojo. By now, you must have already realized that songs that start with Delvin’s verse are serious ballads! Delvo, thanks. When you love someone then they break your heart and leave you, it’s so sad, nothing is left to say but deep down we always feel that one day, the ones who lost us will miss us and realize that we were the best they ever had. P.s Chimano on this track is going head to head with the rest for the award for the best verse out of all the songs and members! Noma! Winner, Chinese rice on me! Sauti insist that Sophia isn’t a particular girl but just a representation of us. Those who loved us or hurt us! Nway shame on you Sophia.

11. Private Spice 3.55

They first brought you the reggae hit, “Mama Papa” gosh I sound like a promo! Nway seriously, this is proof of their consistent versatility. Another reggae song and what!? Is that Delvin chanting at the beginning? Then I heard that chuchuchuchweeee sound trust Wesh, LOL! The song is about appreciating life’s little pleasures, we all love a little private spice innit. Chimano is rapping, haiya! It’s the apocalypse! Nway I think the song is cool, but roho safi haijatoa “Mama papa”

12. Sol Generation

Sautisol doing a rock song!? NO WAY!!!! These punks just outdid themselves walalalalala! Meet rock fused into Soul! A powerful song with a message for the youth to stand up to the opportunities beforehand because they (the youth) are the God chosen soul generation! Yet another Sauti unison executed well! I really love the bridge, really sounds like something Kings of Leon would do, think about “Use somebody” Special shout out to Polycarp’s hands on that electric guitar! I want to be a sol generation, just going to add myself. Many critics were heard dismissing this album even before its release, something that made me wonder why some Kenyans just crave to see budding artists fail or loose stamina. Cut Sauti some slack, I am confident that they will continue to sour high. I salute their efforts, they really work hard at it and here is the product. This album is different in a good way as compared to MWANZO, it’s not a plateau but a musical journey, one that takes you up and down the hills of different mature sounds leaving you feeling nourished after the gist of the journey’s experience. This album mastering (errrr I hope you all know that it’s a technical term) is up to standard, studio inaskika ilikua tops, the boys vocals were on point! In summary it’s their philosophy fused in Sofia, remember the girl who represents all of us? Product= SOL FILOSOFIA

Bonus! That’s a pixx of the studio where Solfilosofia was recorded! Special shout out to Wesh Mjanja, Andrew, Peter, Nynke, Bien, Delvo, Ballgum and my sidekick, Chim xoxo - Kenyan Vibe


Debut album "Mwanzo" 2008
First single: Lazizi
Second: Blue Uniform
Third: Sunny Days
Fourth: Nairobi

Sophomore album "Sol Filosofia" 2011
First single: Soma Kijana
Second: Coming Home

Upcoming EP release -
Set for release mid 2012 - produced by Spoek Mathambo

The majority of songs above receive (extensive) airplay in Kenya and wider East Africa.

Their music is available for streaming on Spotify.



From a young age in their native Kenya Bien, Chimano, Delvin and Polycarp were conditioned to believe that music was a worthless pursuit.
Together they fought hard against these cultural stereotypes and developed a unique confidence in their art that provides an exciting fuel for their music and live performances.

Blending warm resonant pop with traditional Kenyan influences, Sauti Sol’s mélange of energetic rhythms have promoted the group to become one of East Africa's most celebrated. Sauti Sol encompass the band’s mix of soulful voices with vocal harmonies, guitar riffs and drum rhythm. With two extremely successful albums in three years, this band reflects a range of musical wealth inspired by African artists including Lokua Kanza, Fadhili Williams, Daudi Kabaka, Fally Ipupa and Salif Keita to British and American artists Coldplay and Jason Mraz.

Sauti Sol’s two albums, Mwanzo (2008) and Sol Filosofia (2011), have received high acclaim on Kenyan charts and gained international attention with shows in Europe and the US, as well as television appearances, various nominations, and most recently their performance with the internationally-renowned South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Sauti Sol has steadily built their professional international experience. A tour through Europe in 2010 brought them to Sweden where they made a television appearance and recorded their most recent album, Sol Filosofia. In March of 2011, Sauti Sol accepted an invitation to perform at the South By Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas (marking their first American appearance) where they were met with a barrage of enthusiasm. Celebrated by a host of fans, fellow artists and bloggers as the “most entertaining” and “best dressed act” at the festival, Sauti Sol plans to return to their growing American and diaspora fan base. They are currently working on a collaborative EP with South African artist Spoek Mathambo of the Seattle-based Sub Pop Records. In early 2012 they debuted at the “festival sur le Niger” in Mali where they were invited onto stage and performed alongside some of their idols; Habib Koite, Salif Keita and Lokua Kanza.

In 2011 they were nominated for the second year running in the Best Group category for the Kenyan Chaguo La Teeniez (CHAT) Awards. In 2010 they received a Museke Online Africa Music Award (MOAMA) for Best Group and a nomination for Best African Newcomer at the 2010 African Music Awards (AMA). In 2011, they won two Kisima Music Awards for Best Afro-Fusion Group and Best Music Video ("Coming Home").

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