The band Sauti Sol is not only a sensation at home in Kenya, but they have also slowly gained a global following. Sauti Sol started as an acapella group with vocalists Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano, and Savara Mudigi. When guitarist Polycarp Otieno joined them, they became the band they are today with vocals, guitars, saxophone, keytar, and drums as an afro-pop band with some clear Western influences, but also a distinctly African vibe.They have toured successfully throughout Africa and Europe, and have done a few U.S. shows as well. This month, they performed for the first time in Canada with shows in both Toronto and Ottawa. The band has put out three studio albums and one EP thus far. Since their first album came out in 2008, they’ve gained numerous fans and a number of awards; including Best Group at the MTV African Music Awards and Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Many American fans discovered the band when then-President Barack Obama joined them in dancing the traditional Lipala dance at a state dinner in Nairobi.
Headlining at Toronto’s Africa Music Fest was a great start for Sauti Sol’s time in Canada. The country has become eager for music from Africa lately and culturally-diverse Toronto was particularly excited for a weekend of nothing but African music. Kenyan Vibe describes how Torontonians requested the band: “The Continent has seemingly become the flavour du jour, and Sauti Sol one of its most requested toppings.” The band didn’t disappoint in their Toronto performance. It was the perfect opportunity to debut their catchy new hit “Friendzone.” The song is already getting a lot of radio play and it has a fun emoji-filled video that is catching a lot of eyeballs. The crowd ate up their whole show, often singing along to favorite songs.
A day after their Toronto gig, the band headed to Ottawa for another well-received show. The performance at the Ottawa Marriot was more intimate than the Toronto stage, but the crowd was just as into it. The band seems to have had a blast in Canada, regularly posting on Twitter and Instagram about their excitement to perform in Canada. They happily admitted that they #KilledIt in Toronto. Sauti Sol has had a busy and fantastic 2017 so far and it looks like they are going to take at least a bit of a well-deserved break after their Canadian shows. Hopefully, a pause in touring will give them a chance to record a new album! You can check out Sauti Sol on YouTube or listen to their most recent album, Live and Die in Afrika.