Sarabi (Kenya)

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At the age 11-14 years, SARABI, then called Sauti za kwetu, was among the groups formed at the Haba na Haba Arts centre now known as VOCAL (Voice for Change All Over). The centre provided free practical performing arts classes for children and the youth, as well as leadership training. Children who had an interest in music were selected to join the project’s program and placed into different bands.

Today after 10 years of performing together, SARABI’s music has evolved to centre more on Social Justice. SARABI’s music today is the bold voice of the youth. Their music is electric, engaging, emotional and still hard hitting. It is a blend of traditional East African rhythms, Benga and Afro Beat fused with rock and reggae.

In 2013 SARABI released a single “Fuata Sheria” (respect the law). The song was SARABI’s summary of Kenya at 50 years and highlights of major corruption scandals that have never been resolved despite the formation /of numerous tribunals.

Off the stage SARABI champions the struggle for justice. In .2015, they have engaged in a country wide project dubbed, “Jukumu letu”, to increase interest and understanding the Kenyan constitution amongst the youth, through the use of music. SARABI were recently appointed Kenyan ambassadors for AAPI, African Arts Peace Initiative.

A documentary film about SARABI titled Music is our weapon is currently in the making. It is a film about power of music as a tool for social change, which is a philosophy that SARABI lives by. Their social engagement extends to their own neighbourhoods. They teach children from the informal settlement of Kibera. To mentoring for children in the ghetto or “The Humble Kingdom” as they call it.

Within the last year, they have become one of East Africa’s most popular live bands. Performing at Sauti za Busara Festival in Zanzibar, Selam Festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Buyimba international festival in Kampala, Uganda, DOADOA cultural market in Jinja , Uganda and Tanzania’s East Africa vibes concert hosted by Culture and development East Africa CDEA in Dar es Salaam. Recently, they have returned from a successful summer tour in Europe, including Africa Oye festival in Liverpool in June and Roskilde festival in July 2015.

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