Nairobibounce: Kenyan Alternative Music Producer Blinky Bill
Meet “Blinky” Bill Sellanga, one of Kenya’s most exciting music producers and a speaker and performer at this year’s Design Indaba Festival.
“If you’re looking at Africa, you take a look at Nairobi,” says “Blinky” Bill Sellanga. “We’re just discovering ourselves and figuring out how to express ourselves in a way that makes sense to us.”
Nairobi, Kenya is undoubtedly one of the continent’s creative hot spots. There are companies there who are pushing boundaries in both the creative and global technologies spheres. Ushahidi and BRCK, founded by Design Indaba speaker Juliana Rotich, are changing the whole tech ecosystem on the African continent and creating solutions with innovative digital technologies for problems that affect the whole world. Alongside Rotich in Africa’s next vanguard of creative pioneers is music producer and Dj Blinky Bill.
He spent the first phase of his musical career as the front man of Just a Band, a Kenyan collective of self proclaimed “super-nerdy” musician/artists who gained themselves a global audience with their electronica-infused African funk. The band had a series of underground hits and created Kenya’s first viral video, “Makmende”.
In the band’s fictional history, 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…”
Just a Band released their first album, Scratch to Reveal, in 2008 accompanied by music videos they made themselves. They are currently on a two-year hiatus to allow for time to pursue their personal projects and Bill has been working on his own EP, We Cut the Keys While You Wait, which you can sample on his Soundcloud.
Although he says he sometimes misses the craziness of the energy Just a Band had together, Sellanga and his collective all gained the confidence while together to pursue their own journeys. Blinky Bill is still exploring his musical potential.
Blinky Bill will be speaking at Design Indaba Conference and performing at Design Indaba Nightscape.