Bien defends Beyonce choice of W Africans over Kenyans

Kenya would be appropriate if she wanted a Benga-inspired album, he says

In Summary

• Many Kenyans say Sauti Sol would have been perfect for Beyonce's The Lion King album

Image: Courtesy

The Lion King has been trending for the better part of the week, with Kenyan artistes disappointed that none of them was featured in the movie's soundtrack by Beyonce.

Many of them felt since the storyline is Kenyan-based, at least one of them should have been part of the album to help tell the story in a more personal way.

The Lion King uses the famous Swahili phrase, "Hakuna Matata", which was popularised by John Katana of The Mushroom Band in their song, Jambo Bwana.


He has been fighting to gain copyright of the phrase after Disney took ownership of Hakuna Matata last year and now, he is puzzled that not one Kenyan artiste made the cut on the soundtrack.

Many Kenyans have mentioned that Sauti Sol would have been perfect for the album. Word Is reached out to Bien from Sauti Sol for his sentiments on the whole issue.

"Beyonce was doing an Afrobeat-inspired album and Kenyans do not make Afrobeat music," he said.

"That type of music is found in Nigeria and Ghana, and that is where she went to seek for artistes. If she wants a Benga-inspired album, Kenya is the place to be."

When Queen Bee was coming up with her album 'The Gift', she said it was a love letter to Africa.

"This soundtrack is a love letter to Africa, and I wanted to make sure we found the best talent from Africa, and not just use some of the sounds and did my interpretation of it," she said.

"We’ve kind of created our own genre and I feel like the soundtrack is the first soundtrack where it becomes visual in your mind. The soundtrack is more than just the music because each song tells the story of the film."

Tanzanians have also expressed their concerns. They thought Diamond Platnumz, whose nickname is Simba, would have been a perfect pick for the album's authenticity.


Bien said Kenyans need to change their mindset if they are to push their music to get attention in such big projects. 

"As Kenyan artsites, we should stop that victim mentality that tunaonewa. Guys should just sing and make hits," he said.

"It will eventually get to Beyonce but you need to work as an industry. Sauti Sol should not be the only group worthy of being in such an album. We need to be many. We need to step up as an industry with structure and we will make it."

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