Jabali Afrika


Jabali Afrika is a US-based Afro-rock band from Kenya.

Following in the footsteps of East Africa’s oldest and most diverse popular music created by Fundi Konde and George Mukabi, Jabali Afrika set out to create a legendary sound that included customary instruments like the Mbumbumbu bass drums, the iskuti drum and chivoti flute.

Now, 20 years in, Jabali Afrika is a band with a seasoned sound and a clear, consistent message. Whether it’s Chakacha, Benga or Afro Beat, they pride themselves on creating music that can shake the hip as well as the soul. Down through the years, from their classic song ‘Aoko’ to ‘People’s Voice’, their music remains uncompromised.

They aim to nurture the spirit and contribute to humanity even when doing so raises political eyebrows and isn’t part of the Top 40. To this end, Jabali added ‘Njelele’ to the 2006 Global Rhythms Legends of Africa compilation alongside legends like the late great Fela Kuti, LadySmith Black Mambazo and Hugh Masekela.

With artists like Oliver Mtukudzi and the late Chiwoniso, they performed “It’s a Journey” featuring Kenyan poet, artivist, Ndungi Githuku; reminding attendees at the World Social Forum (Kenya, 2007) that there are still pockets of oppression to dismantle. Mayosi was released that same year and was the last album in circulation until the release of Rebellion- From 1963 to the Future in late 2012. In the wake of the Arab Spring and post-election violence in Kenya, the album is a timely shout-out to historical figures from 50 years ago, as well as an invitation to present day listeners to stay informed. Although still abroad, Jabali carries in its heart the irreplaceable rhythms of East Africa. For inspiration they reach back and listen to the musical game-changers like Fela, Osibisa and Manu Dibango. They hope now to help other artists pay attention to those rhythms and produce more beautiful and enlightening music to those who will listen.


USPittsburgh, United States
In operation since: 


Kramer International
Profile added by In-house East Africa on 15 Sep 2015