Kenya's greatest boyband Sauti Sol performs 'last' US dance

Tuesday June 06 2023
sauti sol

L-R: Sauti Sol members Bien-Amie, Chimamo, Polycarp and Savara. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


Kenyan musical sensation and four-member band, Sauti Sol, on Sunday performed their final show in the United States after announcing the group's "indefinite hiatus".

The group concluded their six-city US tour in front of a packed theatre in Washington DC, soon after taking to social media to announce a prolonged break.

Sauti Sol’s statement was released a day before their show in Atlanta, Georgia, in May, as part of the Madaraka Festival, a US-based East African cultural showcase, leaving fans shattered and seeking clarification over the future of the group.

Willis Austin Chimano, one of Sauti Sol’s vocalists told VOA the "indefinite hiatus" does not mark the end of the band.

"It's not the last but a hiatus and at the end of it all, we have been together since high school and for such a long time," Chimano said.

"We have built something great. We have built something that is inspirational. Something that people who come after us will be like that is what I’m looking up to," Chimano added.


Sauti Sol member and guitarist Polycarp said the hiatus could end at any time.

"We (Sauti Sol) said indefinite hiatus, so it could take two years, it could take two months, it could take five years. Whatever it is," Polycarp said.

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The Kenyan group has won several local and international awards over their 18-year-long career, among them the Best African Act at the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards. In 2021, Sauti Sol received a Grammy certificate for the group's feature on Nigerian artist Burna Boy’s album "Twice as Tall", which won the Global Music Album award.

Fans responded frantically to news of the bands hiatus.

"I am not ready for this," an Instagram comment posted by Anyiko Owoko, a leading East African entertainment and music publicist, said.

Abby Striker, an avid Sauti Sol fan echoed Owoko’s sentiments.

"I might call an ambulance cause my heart is aching! Please think about us jamani," wrote Striker.

Simon Okele, the founder of Madaraka Festival, told VOA that the announcement by the Kenyan group sold a lot of tickets.

"The announcement that Sauti Sol made before this tour has made this a spiritual journey for everybody on the tour. The guys have been bringing their entire hearts and souls to every performance because it’s like the last thing they are doing you know,” he said.

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Group vocalist Savara credited their success and longevity to professional guidance as well as their strong bond as friends.

"This is a marriage between four people. A marriage between four people has to be sorted out by professionals," Savara said.

"So, like any time we need help, we seek help. We have a therapist and people who mentor us," he added.

Sauti Sol’s record label, Sol Generation Music has vowed to release a new album and continue other projects, despite the break by its founders.

Despite Sauti Sol’s long list of accomplishments, Bien-Aimé Baraza, the fourth member of the group and vocalist, listed performing and dancing alongside former President Barack Obama as a memorable moment.

"We have been so lucky. We have so many moments, but I think dancing with Obama was one of them," he said.

Sauti Sol is set to tour Europe next, finalizing their international performances in Vancouver, Canada on September 3, before starting their hiatus.