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February 18, 2019

Trendsetter: Eric Wainaina's new creative direction

Eric Wainaina
Eric Wainaina

Eric Wainaina has been around for a long, long while now, but you’ve got to hand it to him. Any contemporary artiste would tell you that it takes supreme self-confidence to try on Wainaina’s pants. Not many would draw from an artiste who’s made music not destined for the club or even radio charts. The truth is, Wainaina is a force in his own making. 

He has built a catalogue of original music, where he has had to exhibit quite a number of fully formed tracks. We all remember him for tracks like “Nchi Ya Kitu Kidogo,” “Daima,” “Twende Twende,” “Mariana” and “Adhiambo”. His lyrics have always dealt with the realties of life, and he has always expressed his stand on issues affecting the society.

Eric is an alumnus of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated with honours in music, majoring in song writing and record engineering. He started making music over two decades ago, when he was part of the quartet Five Alive. His catalogue is truly extensive, with albums like ‘Sawa Sawa,’ ‘Twende Twende’ and ‘Love and Protest’.

His fourth album, ‘Dreams In Stereo’, is far and away the strongest musical statement in his career. This is a high-flown but still intuitive concept compared to his earlier works. Great thought has not only been put to the music, but also to the released artworks that accompanied the releases. If you really think about it, there’s a passionate self-awareness exhibited in the work by the artiste. 

For what it is worth, his latest project epitomises the excellence of an artiste destined to make a global mark. His creative direction, which is also very evident in the new album’s cover art, is an intriguing glimpse of an artiste who is still on a skilfully carved path, even if it makes you wonder why he’s somewhat been overlooked over the decades.

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