In a move in line with Africa Day, Spotify is celebrating Kenya’s classic songs and their artists with a playlist aptly dubbed ‘Zilizopendwa.’
The 110 songs on the playlist were curated to help fans capture an emotion of nostalgia from what is considered the golden age of music, passed on from one generation to another. With a limited number of radio options and Rhumba, Soukous, Lingala and jazz ruled the airwaves.
The playlist boasts the great Les Wanyika’s “Sina Makosa”, Them Mushrooms’ “Kazi ni Kazi”, Gabriel Omolo’s hit “Lunchtime” and Mbilia Bel’s Nakae “Nairobi” among others.
According to Spotify, these uniquely African songs have a huge fan base, and are fan favourites across the generations, spanning Gen X and surprisingly, Gen Z. Data shows a hunger for the culture, musicality, song composition and fashion and style of this nostalgic era.
Speaking about the playlist, Spotify’s East Africa Editor Maxwell Nguku said that the curation process had to reflect not only fan favourites throughout the years but music that would immediately be tied to a memory.
He further stated that songs like “Zangalewa” by Zangalewa and “Mamou” by Franco & Madilu System had meaning behind the lyrics. These popular songs cut through internal borders and transcended regions and enjoyed a lot of airplay back in the day.
“Back in the day, music contained a lot of advice. For example, there’s a song called “Shauri yako” by Orchestra Super Mazembe, and they talk about how to make money or how to spend. You will find a lot of nuances in the song,” says Maxwell.
The playlist also features oldies from other African countries meant to inspire and celebrate Africa Day.