H_art the Band is not your average Kenyan band. The band hints as much with its debut album Made in the Streets, in which the songs do the bragging. Made in the Streets is a wholesale reinvention of the band’s sound – music that lives up to the first impression H_art the Band made with 2014’s ‘Uliza Kiatu’ (Ask My Shoes).
The Kenyan trio’s first hit single was about love and sacrifice. Fast forward to their debut Made in the Streets and the band still dwells on the same themes: love and sacrifice.
The future would be very different for Kenneth Muya, Wachira Gatama and Mordecai Mwinyi had they not met at a Nairobi audition in 2013. In the past few years, H_art the Band has amassed a legion of young fans who are drawn to the group’s wistful lyrics and ghetto roots.
The band also challenges notions of what Kenyan music should sound like in today’s pop landscape, which is clogged to the brim with banal sexual references and the objectification of women.
Made in the Streets is for all – those who enjoy the live sound and those who prefer snappy pop hits. “We have created a unique language and music best understood not by the mind but by the heart,” the group declares.
Made in the Streets holds the listener’s attention with varied instrumentation, solid vocals, catchy melodies and slam poetry interspersed with the familiar slang phrases of Nairobi’s millennial generation.
H_art the Band are storytellers. They take the listener on a journey of love in ‘Mystical’, a laid-back blues track with a peculiar message: “When I leave, I will be the best heartbreak you ever had. I will break your heart into tiny pieces. You will wish you never met me.” Yikes!
The fifth track, ‘Number Wan’, instructs everyone to the dance floor. The up-tempo stomper features Nigerian singer Seyi Shay who shows off her high-note range over a powerful bassline.
In ‘Papaya’, arguably the catchiest song on the album, H_art the Band questions the loyalty of politicians and highlights the vices of ordinary people. The rest of the album flips back and forth between the themes of love and individuality, creating a pleasant contrast to the socio-political rhetoric.
Made in the Streets is an album of powerful music and messages – all the ingredients required to penetrate the regional and international market.
Artist: H_art the Band
Album: Made in the Streets
Made in the Streets is available for preview and purchase here.