Kae Sun

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Kae Sun
Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr..jpg
Background information
Birth name Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr.
Also known as Kwaku Afriyie
Origin Accra, Ghana
Genres alternative, pop, electronica, afrobeat, indie, folk
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, record producer, artist
Instruments Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Drums
Labels Moonshine (current) . Filter Music Group (current). Urbnet (former)
Associated acts
Website www.kaesunmusic.com

Kae Sun is the stage name of Kwaku Darko-Mensah Jnr, a Ghanaian-born Canadian singer-songwriter, producer and artist.

Early life[edit]

Kwaku was born in Accra, his parents had resettled in Ghana after being based in Germany for several years.[1] He immigrated to Canada to study at the private boarding preparatory school Columbia International College and continued on to McMaster University both in Hamilton, Ontario.[2] He received a degree in Multimedia and Philosophy from McMaster University. In Accra he had attended the renowned Achimota School where he first started writing and performing music.[2]


While attending university, Kwaku started using the stage name Kae Sun, performing at local clubs and making demo recordings. He also started playing guitar and experimenting with different styles and sounds.[2] He first gained some recognition when he was awarded a local music prize.

Kae Sun recorded and released his debut Lion on a Leash in 2009 largely funded by a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. He soon after re-located to Toronto. Lion On A Leash was well received among critics, garnering further recognition for Kae Sun.[3] [4]

Kwaku followed up his debut with the EP Outside The Barcode, a folky, pared-down collection of songs inspired by his return to Ghana after years of living in Canada.[5] The song Firefly Dance from this collection was a KCRW Top Tune of the day.[6]

2013 - 2015: Afriyie[edit]

Kae Sun's second LP Afriyie was released in May 2013 and was co-produced by Kae Sun and production duo Science! (Joshua Sadlier-Brown and Marc Koecher). The record received favourable reviews from publications like exclaim and Afropunk. An MTV Iggy profile of the record said, " With Afriyie, Kae Sun has managed to emerge as one of the most promising singer-songwriters in the international scene."[7] The tour for Afriyie included a set at the inaugural CBC music festival, support for the Toronto stop of Janelle Monáe's Electric Lady Tour and solo engagements in Germany.[1]

The song "Heart Healing Pulse" from Afriyie was included in the Strumbo Hundo 2013, television personality George Stroumboulopoulos's list of the top songs of that year.[8] The Roots affiliated site OkayAfrica also lauded Afriyie as one of the best releases of 2013.[9]

In April 2014, Kae Sun made his U.S debut at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, as part of the theatre's Africa Now Festival.[10]

"Ship and The Globe", the lead single from Afriyie is featured in several episodes of It's Okay, That's Love. The song debuted at number 3 on the South Korea Gaon International Chart

Kae Sun has released a collaborative multimedia project featuring a short film and installation with art director Emeka Alams and German filmmaker Simon Rittmeier. The project included a 4-song E.P. released digitally[11][12]

2016 - Present : Canary[edit]

Kae Sun worked with producers Joshua Sadlier-Brown and singer-songwriter Ariane Moffatt on an EP Canary, slated for a spring 2017 release. The EP features the singles Canary and Flip The Rules.[13] [14]

Musical style[edit]

Kwaku's music has been noted for its unique blend of influences owing to his background and personal history. He typically performs his songs on guitar either solo or backed by a band. His poetic lyrics have been noted as being both observational and personal often touching on spiritual, esoteric and socio-political themes.[7][15] His singing often leans toward the melodic and impassioned with subtle inflections drawn from Soul and Folk traditions. According to MIT's The Tech, "Despite this unbridled exploration with sound and lyrics, Kae Sun colors his music with two virtues that seem to be of great importance to him – spirituality and honesty."[15] His work has at times been tagged Urban Folk, Indie Pop, World, Neo-Folk or Folk-Soul.[16] Now magazine quotes him describing it as "Music. Pure and simple."[16]



Year EP details
2007 Ghost Town Prophecy
2011 Outside the Barcode
  • Label: File Under: Music
  • Format: Digital download
2015 Oceans Apart
  • Label: File Under: Music
  • Release date: November 20, 2015
  • Formats: Digital download, cassette
2017 Canary
  • Label: Moonshine
  • Release date: March 10, 2017
  • Formats: Digital download, Stream


Year Album details
2009 Lion on a Leash
2013 Afriyie
  • Label: URBNET
  • Formats: Vinyl, digital download

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
2014 Ship and The Globe (Special Edition)

Asia only


  • "Lion on a Leash" (iTunes) – 2009
  • "Ship and the Globe" (iTunes) – 2012
  • "When the Pot" (iTunes) - 2013
  • "Canary" (iTunes) - 2016
  • "Flip The Rules" (iTunes) - 2017


  1. ^ a b Jan Stopel (2014-02-21). "Kae Sun "Zurückhaltend und mächtig präsent"". kultur-vollzug. kultur-vollzug. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  2. ^ a b c Graham Rockingham (2013-06-04). "Kae Sun "Kae Sun's star is rising"". Hamilton Spectator. Hamilton Spectator. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  3. ^ Enyi Emiseh (2010-12-12). "Kae Sun "Lion on a Leash"". Okayplayer. Okayplayer Inc. p. 1. Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  4. ^ Anonymous (2009-12-12). "Kae Sun "Lion on a Leash"". Nomadic Wax. Nomadic Wax Inc. p. 1. Retrieved 2010-02-15. [dead link]
  5. ^ Alex Nino Checiu (2011-07-19). "Kae Sun "Outside The Barcode by Kae Sun"". Torontoist. Torontoist. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  6. ^ "Kae Sun "FireFly Dance"". KCRW. KCRW.com. 2012-03-23. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  7. ^ a b Boima Tucker (2013-07-22). "Kae Sun "Teasing out the many threads of Kae Sun's Afriyie"". MTV. MTV IGGY. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  8. ^ Strombo Team (2014-01-06). "The Top 100 Songs of 2013". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 2014-04-19.  [[]] ()
  9. ^ OkayAfrica (2013-12-20). "Best Releases of 2013". OkayAfrica. OkayAfrica. Retrieved 2014-04-19.  [[]] ()
  10. ^ "Africa Now Festival "Africa Now Festival"". Apollo Theatre. www.apollotheatre.org. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  11. ^ Kam Tambini. "Oceans Apart: A new EP, Short Film and Art installation from Ghanaian-Canadian Songwriter Kae Sun". OkayAfrica. www.okayafrica.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-10-19.  [[]] ()
  12. ^ Helen Jennings. "A Nataal Exclusive: Kae Sun and Emeka Alams debut their new short film and EP". Nataal. www.nataal.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-10-26.  [[]] ()
  13. ^ "PREMIERE: KAE SUN PENS INTRIGUING SHORT STORY ON "CANARY "Canary"". Mass Appeal. www.massappeal.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2016-11-02.  [[]] ()
  14. ^ "10 Most Anticipated Canadian Albums of 2017 "Kae Sun"". CBC. www.cbcmusic.ca. p. 1. Retrieved 2016-12-29.  [[]] ()
  15. ^ a b Denis Bozic (2013-08-23). "Kae Sun "Interview with singer-songwriter Kae Sun"". MIT The Tech. MIT The Tech. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()
  16. ^ a b "Kae Sun at Rivoli "Kae Sun at The Rivoli"". Now Magazine. www.nowmagazine.com. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-04-16.  [[]] ()

External links[edit]