Something that we haven’t touched upon much on this blog is “Benga”, nah not the Dubstep dude, I’m talking about the Kenyan genre centred around the guitar.

Benga evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi.

One of the main dudes was Daniel Owino Misiani, known as the “grandfather of Benga“ in the image above.

“He came from Tanzania, moved to Kenya in the 60s to become a musician, where he pioneered this new music. He started recording with the Victoria Boys, later becoming Shirati Jazz, who gained popularity as Benga took off in the late 70s

Later on in his career, being part of the Luo people, a large tribal group in Kenya that felt excluded from the government, many of his songs commented on politics and current affairs. Therefore, he was always keenly followed by those in power, who wanted to be certain he wasn’t being critical of their policies. He was jailed a couple of times as a result.

Benga’s spread from the shores of Lake Victoria in the west to the highlands of central and eastern Kenya and its contact with itinerant Congolese and Tanzanian musicians has infused it with many linguistic and instrumental variations.”

He is featurted in this mix below by the Racubah Sound System alongside other legends of the genre. Great stuff!


1- B.L.BS PT 1&11 (D.O.Misiani)
3- DANIEL OTAN (D.Olima)
4- ATILA MIN JOPESA (Peter Ondielo)
5- NICK SARONGE (Peter Ondielo)
6- MAYUYA (Onyango Lord)

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