Just a Band are … not at all just a band. During a key moment in their music video “Ha-He,” called by many Africa’s first viral video, a Blaxploitation-inspired superhero named Makmende is threatened by a man in a red tie who asks, “Are you a dreamer?” Let’s just say that Makmende leaves the victor of this fight.
“As Africans and the generation we are part of, we have been exposed a lot to the Western world,” says singer Bill Sellanga, as the group takes the TEDGlobal stage. “But other parts of the world know very little about Africa. We hope to be part of the generation that tells a different story about where we come from.”
Just a Band was formed by Sellanga, Daniel Muli and Jim Chuchu while they were students at Kenyatta University. The group blew up following the release of “Ha-He,” thanks to their unique blend of funk, electronic and DIY charm. Now with three studio albums under their belt, the band has added members Mbithi Masya, James Ireri, Joe Were and Richard Wandati. All of them played at TEDGlobal, bringing the audience to their feet — and in the process making them rethink what they know about African music and identity.