If you live in Kenya and you haven’t yet heard of Just a Band, then you probably live under a rock. In Moyale. Surrounded by cacti and scorpions. Just a Band is a Kenyan musical trio comprised of Dan Muli, Bill “Blinky” Sellanga and Jim Chuchu.

From left: Dan, Blinky and Jim.

Wikipedia describes them as “a Kenyan house/funk/disco band…whose musical taste has directions such as, but not limited to, jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica.” Neo-soul should have been thrown into that mix too.

(Afromusing did an excellent interview with the band on her blog. Another profile can be found here.)

The band released their first studio album “Scratch to Reveal” in May 2008.

Scratch to Reveal provides a refreshing change from the regular garbage that batters our ear drums in form of kapuka and genge. (with the exception of Jua Cali and one or two others) It is rich in creativity and experimentation and is a break from the ordinary. In fact, local media houses were initially reluctant to play the band’s music and their videos for fear of “alienating their audience.” Though Capital FM regularly gives their neo-soul single “Hey” airtime on Neo-Soul Thursday and the neo-soul show on Sunday afternoons, and I have recently spied the “Fly” video on NTV.

I have to say that Scratch to Reveal is undoubtedly one of (if not) the best Kenyan albums released this year. I got my autographed copy from Blinky about three months ago, and I love it love it love it! (Kipepeo, 2006) My favourite tracks include “Have You Seen Her” featuring Sarah Mitaru and Diana “Dee” Nduba (who claims to have had a sore throat on recording day. If so, she did a good job disguising it!) and “Yamo pa More” a track done in Dholuo by Liz Ogumbo, “Iwinyo Piny” and “Hey!”

A review by WAPI Times.

The “Iwinyo Piny” animated video has been nominated for a KORA Award for Best African Video Clip, alongside Eric Wainaina’s “Twende Twende” and others.

You can watch the video here…then rush here and vote!

Scratch to Reveal is now available at Nu Metro music stores at Nakumatt Westgate and Junction for only Ksh 950. Go out and buy it now! For those of you who are in the diaspora, you can now listen and buy their music on iTunes, PayPlay, Tradebit and Last FM. (follow the links)

I’m impressed by the high quality of music that Kenyan artistes are churning out lately. There’s Atemi Oyungu’s album “Hatimaye” which I must get hold of, Eric Wainaina’s “Twende Twende” which is a must have in one’s collection, Kaz’s album “Somin” (ok, the jury’s still out on that one, I haven’t heard many rave reviews), Scratch to Reveal, among others. There is so much potential out there just waiting to be discovered. If this is the future of solid, creative Kenyan music that will stand the test of time, then I must say that the future is bright.

More information and links:

Just a Band official website.

Just a Blog:

Just a Band on Facebook:

P.S: Please feel free to add your own reviews of this album in the comments page.

What’s on my Playlist?

Have you seen her? – Just a Band feat. Sarah Mitaru & Diana “Dee” Nduba.