Just a Band
|Just a Band|
|Genres||House, Funk, Disco, Soul, Pop, Electronica|
|Members||Bill "Blinky" Sellanga
|Past members||Jim Chuchu|
Just a Band is a Kenyan house/funk/disco band whose career was launched with their debut album, Scratch to Reveal, in 2008. Their music has explored various musical directions such as jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica.
The band are also notable for their DIY aesthetic. In addition to writing, recording and engineering their music, the band creates their own music videos, packaging and promotional items and establishing a strong web and blog presence, referencing elements from virtual bands like Gorillaz and incorporating anime and animation, illustration and photography in their visual campaigns.
The group was formed when their members were studying at the Kenyatta University. They went on to release the song "Iwinyo Piny" accompanied by a self-made animated music video. Initially the song received little airplay due to its unconventional musical style, but with time they started to gain popularity through underground channels. Their debut album Scratch to reveal was relatively successful. They released their second single 'Ha-He' on 17 March 2010, accompanied by a music video featuring a character known as Makmende. The video has subsequently been described as Kenya's first viral internet meme by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fast Company. Also their track "Huff + Puff" been heard over the 2012 movie "House at the End of the Street".
Fictional band history
The fictional backstory of the band states that the trio was formed on 7 February 2003 and lists their disparate origins:
|“||Dan had just returned to Kenya from three years of travelling with a Touareg caravan led by Hazim Barghai... Bill had no idea where he came from, having spent 13 years of his life under hypnosis. He came to his senses sometime in 2002, finding himself living in an abandoned convent in Limuru... Jim spent many years of his youth serving Arabic coffee in the coffee and opium dens of Kilgoris...||”|
Scratch To Reveal (2008)
Just a Band released their debut album, Scratch to Reveal, on 17 May 2008 accompanied by self-made music videos for the singles, "Fly", "Iwinyo Piny" and "Hey!". The band explored various media to produce their music videos such as 2D animation for "Iwinyo Piny" and puppetry for "Hey!". The music video for "Iwinyo Piny" was subsequently nominated for the Best African Video Clip at the 2008 Kora Awards. The band also received a nomination for the Best Urban Fusion Group at the 2008 Kisima Awards.
The band released the video for their second single from the album Ha-He on Wednesday 17 March 2010. The video is a spoof of blaxploitation films, featuring a protagonist named "Makmende". The video became popular, and has been described as "Kenya's first viral internet meme". The band were featured on CNN, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company as a result.
In 2008, the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, with whom they had one of their first concerts with and have been working with on a permanent basis, commissioned them with a video art exhibition. The exhibition "TRNSMSSN:" held in the Goethe gallery was very popular. A follow up was scheduled for April 2010 when they will travel to the US. They have done several DJ-sets at Goethe functions, the last one being the opening of the Mwangalio Tofauti exhibition in which Jim Chuchu was featured as a photographer.
Just A Band also took part in the BLNRB-project, an electronic music connection between Nairobi and Berlin. They designed the venue for the second BLNRB concert at Club Undecided and performed at the BLNRB concert at House of World Cultures in Berlin and at Stadtgarten in Cologne. Just A Band were featured on the first BLNRB-CD in a collaboration with the techno brothers Teichmann.
Sorry for the Delay (2012)
The band took a 2 year break in March of 2016 to pursue solo projects. They released a last single "African Kids These Days" as a free download on Soundcloud. They are expected to reunite in 2018 to work on their next album.
- Sorry for the Delay(Studio Album) (2012)
- BLNRB (Collaboration Album) (2011)
- BLNRB EP (2010)
- 82 (2009)
- Scratch to reveal (2008)
- Iwinyo Piny (single) (2006)
- The Light Fantastic EP (2006)
- Manjeru – Lalalalala (2006)
- Mena – Maisha (2006)
- Juliana Rotich. "Just a Band interview on Afromusing.com". Afromusing. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
- Juliana Rotich. "Just a Band Interview on Afromusing.com". Afromusing. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
- Daily Nation, Lifestyle Magazine, 22 November 2008: More than Just a Band
- McKenzie, David. "Kenya's Viral Sensation". CNN. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Kwani Trust. "Just a Band Biography". Kwani Trust. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2008.
- "Fictional band biography on Kwani.org". Kwani Trust. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2008.
- Koech, Christine. "Just a Band Album Pre-launch". East Africa Magazines. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- Lebrave, Benjamin. "Fresh from Nairobi: Just a Band". Akwaaba Media. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Zuckerman, Ethan. "Makmende's so huge, he can't fit in Wikipedia". Zuckerman, Ethan. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Vinograd, Cassandra (24 March 2010). "Kenya Launches Country's First Viral Music Video". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Goethe-Institut Nairobi (25 May 2009). "TRNSMSSN on the website of Goethe-Institut Nairobi". Goethe-Institut Nairobi. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- Just A Band (15 October 2012). "Google+ event for CD release party, Nairobi". Just A Band. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- "Just A Band - See You Soon!". just-a-band.com. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
- Just A Band - African Kids These Days, retrieved 2016-10-31
- just-a-band.com (Official website)