While almost a quarter of the 50 most popular artists on iTunes are not American, none of those are African. Just A Band member Blinky Bill wants to change that.
“The U.S. has contributed much to global music culture, but there’s a lot of exciting music being made across the globe,” the eccentric Just A Band-member told Paper Magazine recently. “American music is great but could be greater if it paid attention to what’s going on in Africa now. The grooves that African music has are insane and just waiting for innovative producers and musicians to merge both worlds to get people on their feet.”
And Just A Band is well underway. With “Ha-He,” the band gained substantial international recognition, the song’s colorful music video becoming the first Kenyan video to spread across both the continent and the world. Bill described the reaction to the video back home with one word: “madness.”
“We were a band that was being kept alive by our friends and fans,” he said. “When the video went viral, we were everywhere. It taught us a a lot about how rapidly things can change – and how much love and spite you get from being popular.”
Bill attributed Just A Band’s recent success to the Internet and the artistic doors that it has the potential to open. With three albums out and a fourth slated for later this year, we will surely see a lot more of Just A Band – hopefully both on the continent and beyond.
“It’s crazy to think that a band from Nairobi would play in a far-flung place like Corsica, France and still get an audience,” Bill said. “It’s one of the greatest things about being a musician today: you can make music in your bedroom without big money funding and get an audience anywhere.”
Check out Just A Band’s “Ha-He” video for yourself: