|Location: San Francisco, California, USA|
|Description: Sila & AFE blend traditional African rhythms, Afrobeat, Afro-Latin, reggae and funk, resulting in an upbeat, multiculti celebration that's guaranteed to keep you glued to the dance floor.|
|Biography: Sila epitomizes what people love about this century’s music: Energy, honesty, generosity, ecstasy, and a full-tilt dedication to digging the groove until the last call. Sila 's music titillates the senses and people everywhere have developed a healthy appetite for his funky fusion of African rhythm, American funk, Soukous, Afrobeat, and Reggae.
Inspired by his Kenyan roots and his love for all genres of music, his sound is unique, yet instantly recognizable. His lyrics and beats reflect the music, the language, the energy, and the spirit of growing up in Africa. As a child in the Kikamba village in Kenya, Sila was an imaginative five-year old who nurtured his love for music by singing the traditional songs of his ancestors, along with the ubiquitous songs of James Brown, Fela Kuti, Otis Redding and the Beatles.
Sila's AfroFunk sound reflects the music of his ancestors, of Africa, and his own interpretation of American music. His music resonates with listeners, as it mirrors the core elements of everyday life experiences. While currently based in America, he continues to journey home to collaborate and jam with locals and legendary tribal musicians. As a result, he never strays far from the essence of his lush musical roots.
Sila & The Afrofunk Experience Release "Funkiest Man in Africa"
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, JUNE 14, 2006: As a boy growing up in a village in Kenya, Sila used to give his clothes and food to other children who were less fortunate than him. In a world hounded by poverty and famine and daily life is marred by greed and corruption, my grandmother offered me these words of wisdom to get by, "Life has meaning only in the struggle.Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods. So let us celebrate the struggle."
Thirty years later, Sila transforms his compassion and concerns into action on his latest album, “Funkiest Man in Africa,” a debut with his latest San Francisco- based band- Sila and the Afrofunk Experience. It is his call for global justice, for hope, for love, and for everyone to take responsibility of the world’s problems.
"I am not the Funkiest Man in Africa," explains Sila, Fela Kuti is the Funkiest man in Africa, and he is my greatest musical inspiration because he is the most important political musician from Africa. In the vain of Kuti’s struggle to inspire Africans to expose their government’s wrongdoings, Sila also wishes to inspire his listeners to find hope in their lives, and join him in his struggle to give the world a little more sunshine. The albums tracks are painted with these themes, where Sila provokes people not only to forget their problems and put on their dancing shoes, but also to become aware of world injustices which they can directly effect.
Sila’s musical journey began in his country of birth, Kenya. His mother too poor to take care of him, Sila grew up on the outskirts of society in a small village where his grandmother raised him. Sila made the most of his alienation, obsessively gluing his ear to his transistor radio, while vehemently searching for pictures of guitars to put in his room. By the time he had graduated high school, Sila was singing and performing across Nairobi, while being featured on several television and radio shows. Being offered a scholarship to study in the United States, Sila came to America, and focused intensely on making his music happen. After struggling for years to find a voice that was uniquely his own, Sila created his latest work, a political manifesto, and a spicy musical gumbo of Afro-Beat, Funk, Reggae, Soukous, Hip-Hop and Highlife.
Sila’s passion for music is also juxtaposed with his dedication to bringing a little more sunshine to the world. Sila is an advocate for children’s issues. “I remember, as a child, feeling hopeless and alone, growing up away from my family and in poverty, feeling like I mattered to no one. I want to give hope to children who are subject to the cruelties of this world over which they have no control.” Sila gives hope through donations; not only does Sila often play benefit concerts for UNICEF, The Red Cross, and Save the Children Fund, he also is the mastermind of the up and coming Afrofunk Festival in San Francisco. The Festival, now in its second year, brings a piece of Africa to America, featuring mainly Afro-Beat artists, while it returns the proceeds generated in America to African children’s programs in Darfur, Sudan, Niger and Kenya. In a similar vein, a percentage of his current album’s earnings will go to children’s benefit programs. .
However, Sila’s effort to heal is not only aimed at those across the ocean, but also to those nearby. “For me, the most important thing is to give people hope that life can always be better. I want people to come to my shows and leave their sand bag of problems at the door- I want to be able to make them dance, and make them feel alive, and empower them to forget their worries” And, Sila calls to his audiences to take hold of their lives and make it work for them- a main theme of Funkiest Man in Africa. .
Sila has taken audiences by storm with sold out shows and his new flavor of music- Afrofunk - a scrumptious blend of African styles - such as Highlife, Afro-beat, and Soukous- with American and international toppings like Funk, Hip-Hop, and Reggae. “I want to make my music accessible to everyone. That’s why my music is so infused with Western styles- I wanted to bring African music to America, in a form that people here can appreciate.” And accessible it is indeed- there is a little bit of everything for everyone in his new album, featuring an 11-piece band with songs for the funk lover, the reggae aficionado, and the pure African-music junkie. The funky title track is a story about the struggles of Afro-Beat king Fela Kuti. Other notable tracks include the Katrina-victims inspired call to hope “Dancing Shoes” and reggae- flavored “Why” , Sila’s outcry for the frightening plight of many children worldwide. .
“When I was a kid, I used to listen to this Kenyan artist named Kakai Kilonzo on the radio. He would sing about issues effecting Kenyan society, like how people would move to the cities in search of money, and there they would lose their Kenyan soul- you know, their connections to traditions and culture. His lyrics truly caught the pulse of the common people and their concerns and he was loved by Kenyans of all different tribal Affiliations. This really inspired me to write about important societal issues.” But his musical inspiration primarily came from overseas. “I loved James Brown. You could really dance to that music, you could really groove.” Other jiving musicians that influenced him musically early on included Jimmy Hendricks, Marvin Gay, Bob Marley and George Clinton and the P- Funk.
Funkiest Man in Africa bridges the two lands in which Sila has become inexorably intertwined with- his current residence in the United States and his homeland of Kenya- through fusing genres and speaking up about the political issues effecting both places. It also connects listeners from both regions, as a musical offering which allows both Africans and Westerners to relate and enjoy. This album is the newest, freshest take on political African music, blending African roots and Western influences to produce an Afrofunk explosion of inspirational and heart-wrenching dance music.