Kenyans Find Coveted Spot on Coke Studio

Becky Sangolo and Carol Kamweru, who make the girl group Band BeCa. PHOTO | COURTESY
Becky Sangolo and Carol Kamweru, who make the girl group Band BeCa. PHOTO | COURTESY 

It may sound hard to believe that a group that is barely a year old and hasn’t even released their debut album has landed a coveted spot on one of the premier TV music shows in Africa alongside some of the continent’s biggest stars. 

“It is crazy and overwhelming,” says Carol Kamweru who is one half the group Band BeCa.

“We feel like this is a reward for all the hard work we have put into our careers in a short time,” she says. 

Band BeCa is one of the Kenyan artistes appearing in the new season of Coke Studio, the TV show, which premiers this August in more than 30 countries across Africa.

In the course of the last few months, the group has recorded performances with some of Africa’s top contemporary artistes and worked in the studio with the continent’s best producers.

New sounds

Officially styled as ‘Kenya’s favourite girl band,’ the duo of Becky Sangolo and Carol Kamweru, first met three years ago while attending a vocal training course at Sauti Academy, a music school in Nairobi. They formed the group in September 2016.

BeCa is coined from the first two letters of their names while they describe themselves as a ‘band’ because of their preference for live music.

Coke Studio has given the girls the opportunity to work with Africa’s top producers notably Sketchy Bongo from Durban, South Africa.

“We have been exposed to new sounds in a top quality studio, unlike any we have ever worked in before. It is a very good experience,” says Carol.

They have collaborated on the show with South African rapper AKA and Olamide from Nigeria.

“We have learnt a lot from these big names. They have given us advice on song writing; they listened to our songs and pointed out things that we could change,” says Becky.  

Olamide liked BeCa’s single “Toka,” an upbeat dance track, and that’s the song they reworked with him for Coke Studio.

Carol and Becky say they were not overawed by the occasion because they have been working on their dancing and vocals skills which gave them confidence for the big stage.  

Old flame

The group’s first four singles are a mix of dance tracks and sweet R&B love songs that have earned positive reviews. “Toka” their debut single is a women’s empowerment song that advises ladies not to remain in destructive relationships. 

“Brathe” slang for ‘brother’ describes the atmosphere when the girls are having a good time in a club while ignoring the attention of men. “It is a message to the guys to let me have a good time with my girls,” says Carol.

“The message is simply ‘Brother man, please give me my space’.”

“Tonight” is a smooth tempo song with an R&B/Soul vibe, which talks about the moments when you miss an old flame and all the things that you did together in the good old days.

No objection

The girls loved the inspiring message of the song “Maua” written by Zealani when they watched the original version on YouTube.

“We called him and asked if we could record a cover of his song and he had no objection.”

When they met him he welcomed their suggestions on changes they wanted in their version.  

“Being young artistes who have been selected for this big platform on Coke Studio is a lesson to other young musicians that it is possible to achieve your aspirations with hard work and the right team to push you,” says Becky. 

BeCa Band has also been listed on MTV Africa’s “Ones to Watch for 2017” the new acts across the continent who are tipped for success this year.

Meanwhile, the positive response to their first four songs and the exposure on Coke Studio has motivated the ladies to complete the production of their debut album.

“No pressure, but its coming up soon. Just keep checking our social media pages and you will be updated,” they say.