Organized by the Goethe-Institute Nairobi and Berlin DJ duo Gebrüder Teichmann, BLNRB – NRBLN is a project of young bands and musicians from Nairobi and Berlin who together try to fathom the borders between electronic music, hip-hop and African musical traditions.
Goal of the project is „to replace the stereotype of a war-torn, hungry and poverty stricken Africa with a realistic picture: that of dynamic and highly creative urban cultures which in their own way adapt to international developments and propagate themselves – and give back to the international scene“. They make it explicit that this is not just about giving African musicians the chance to be released on famous Berlin labels, but also to make Berlin’s electronic music scene better known in East Africa, maybe as a future point of reverence for the local music scene.
Participants alongside the Teichmanns are Modeselektor, Jahcoozi with Sasha Pereira, and Robot Koch from Berlin, Kenyan hip-hop/ dancehall collective Ukoo Flani, the MCs Abbas, Kimya and Lon’Jon, the electro house trio Just a Band and traditional Kenyan instrumentalists like the singer and percussionist Lydia Mwango.
Since February 2009 the musicians are working on collaborations and some participants already appeared within the context of the “German cultural weeks” in Nairobi in November 2009. The movie ‘Soul Boy’ from Hawa Essuman and Tom Twyker, shown last months in Berlinale’s Generations section (children and youth cinema), already featured the tune ‘Dirty Laundry’, a collaboration between the Teichmann brothers and the MCs Mr. Abbas, Kimya and Lon’Jon. Btw the movie sounds interesting too – I wanted to see it but tickets were sold out 4 days in advance – boo. Filmed in Kibera, Nairobi’s biggest slum, it tells the tale of little boy Abi, who has to conquer various challenges to rescue his father’s soul.
‘Msoto Millions’ from Ukoo Flani and Jahcoozi will will be released as part of the upcoming Jahcoozi album ‘Barefoot Wanderer’ on Bpitch Control in April.
Right now German and Kenyan musicians are in Nairobi together working on new productions and joint concerts. This journey will be recorded on camera and documented by Arte/Tracks and the foreign editorial office of ZDF, and you can follow their journey blog on posterous. If you are in Nairobi right now, check their Facebook regularly for upcoming events.
At the end of this year, the Kenyan musicians will be invited to concerts in Berlin in the framework of the Worldtronics festivals in the House of World Cultures.
As none of the mentioned tunes was available online, here you go with the trailer for Soul Boy