The Legacy Project: Re-imagining Kenyan hits

Lisa Odour-Noah on stage. She is one of the artists who took part in the Legacy project

Lisa Odour-Noah on stage. She is one of the artists who took part in the Legacy project

The date was March 16, 2003. It was on a Sunday. I was an eight year old girl helping my mom prepare supper for the family. I could hear the breaking news from the living room that Nameless and E-sir had been involved in an accident on their way back from a performance in Nakuru. E-sir had been confirmed dead and Nameless had sustained serious injuries.

I could feel how dark that moment was for the whole country. When my cousin an older brother came home, they looked devastated. They had just lost their favourite rapper. At that time I was a tiny girl in Class Three who had just started understanding the struggle of cassettes and how to use biro pens if something got stuck. Nameless and E-sir were the hottest thing in town. They had come up with a new contemporary style music that had caught the nation’s attention.

Every time I hear any of E-sir’s tracks my mind goes back to that evening. I replay a clip in my head where Nameless had a sling round his arm and he broke down thinking of how he had lost a brother. E-sir’s songs gave us soundtracks to our memories.

And that’s what great music does, each song reminds us of a certain time in our lives, each track tells a story.
The legacy projected was curated by The Nest, an art collective that believes art is life. In the project that was done in 2013, they challenged seven new artists to cover eight songs that were released in the country before 2010. The result was incredible.

The artists whose songs were featured include those who have been in the game for a while like Nameless and Wahu to an artist like Vqee whose featured song Wachilia had only been released in 2010. The choosing of the songs was done quite well. There’s a bit of the lovey dovey stuff, some music that is meant for fun times and songs that make you reflect on life.

Having the legendary songs all figured out, the next part that The Nest nailed was the production and selection of singers to cover the hits.

The legacy project was produced by Jim Chuchu who is a former member of Just a Band. He is also a visual artist and singer in his own right. What I love most about his production is that his sound is wavy and cool which is just perfect for a playlist that is supposed to be nostalgic such as this one.

Lisa Odour is one of the singers featured in this album. Currently, she is studying music at Berklee. She has worked with Kato Change in the past and is featured on his album The Change Experience. She also performed with Just a Band as a vocalist.

Lisa is not the only one to watch out from this project, from the first song to the last the amazing voices will make you tear up because they are beautiful. The other seven singers are Patricia Kihoro, Silas Miami, Pauline Ayuko who is a member of the three-girl group KIU, Winnie Chris,Diana Nduba and Jarel Nduba.

If you are looking for a funky way to listen to songs that you loved way back when, The Legacy project is what you should listen to. You can listen to it here.

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About Faith Linyonyi