After a thrilling performance during Easter 2017, the highly acclaimed Electronic Dance Music (EDM) group Major Lazer returns to Nairobi this weekend as the headline act for the Kenya Nights at the Carnivore Grounds.
The trio featuring Grammy Award winning producer DJ Diplo, along with MC/ record producer Walshy Fire and DJ/producer Jillionaire have established a global brand with their unique mix of dance music with pop, R & B and reggae and dance hall.
The performance in Nairobi is part of Major Lazer’s African tour that started in South Africa last weekend before an appearance at the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi. Just before arriving in Kenya tomorrow, they are performing in Lagos today and the tour ends with a show in Kampala next Monday night.
The tour is also an opportunity for the group to explore contemporary African music influences with the release of new songs featuring established artists from the continent.
Major Lazer “Afrobeats” which was released early in September is a mix featuring 17 songs by top African acts including “Live and Die in Afrika” by Sauti Sol. Other artists featured in the mix are Nigerian stars Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Davido and South African female singer Babes Wodumo. Mr. Eazi is also featured on the new Major Lazer single “Tied Up” along with Raye.
In an interview last month, Diplo told the music magazine Complex that this project puts African artists and their dances right in the international music mainstream because “new African music gets overlooked in America and Europe.”
Major Lazer began as a duo in 2008 between Diplo and UK producer Switch, and recorded their first album the following year at Bob Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios.
Jillionaire and Walshy Fire joined the group after the departure of Switch in 2011 as the group evolved into a dance-pop team, producing songs for Ellie Goulding, rapper 2 Chainz and Justin Bieber.
In the last decade, Major Lazer has earned a cult following among EDM fans around the world and was the first major American group to perform in Cuba in March 2016 after the US government lifted sanctions against Havana.
There has been major anticipation among their fans ahead of the release of their fifth album especially after recent comments by Diplo that seemed to suggest that the group’s time might be coming to an end. In that interview published by Complex, the DJ said this will be Major Lazer’s last album and would feature songs that the group has produced in the last decade but have never been released.
Diplo has been busy releasing songs not only as a solo artist, but also as part of a new duo called Silk City alongside Mark Ronson and he is also a member of LSD along with Sia and Labyrinth. He is also committed to his own record label Mad Ducent that showcases global pop and dance music.
Originally from Jamaica, Walshy who is the MC for Major Lazer first gained prominence as a member of the Miami based Black Chiney sound system performing at nightclubs, concerts and other party venues for 8 years. This was a major influence for the emergence of Major Lazer’s style that combines hip-hop, R & B with reggae and dance hall.
Since 2012, Walshy has toured with Major Lazer and been part of the group’s last two albums, “Free The Universe” and “Peace Is The Mission” He is also an in-demand producer and a champion for emerging talent, particularly from the Caribbean.
Kenya Nights has gained a reputation as the highest profile electronic music event in the country providing a platform for Kenyan producers and DJs to share the stage with top international EDM acts.
Along with Major Lazer, the concert will feature a guest appearance by Djeff Afroziilla (Tiago Barros) who is of Cape Verdean/Angolan heritage and local acts, DJ Kace and Suraj (who both played at last year’s Major Lazer show), Jinku and L.A. Dave,
Major Lazer is also using this African tour to spread awareness on the protection of wildlife.
through VETPAW (Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife) an organisation that works to combat poaching.