I have been wanting to write a street gospel song for a while, in the spirit of a ‘Jesus Walks’. My mom’s always asking me when I’m gonna write a song that she can sing along to since all she listens to is gospel music, but I wanted to expand the conversation and see how to make something that can be inspiring and uplifting for me and others – particularly for my home country.
— Blinky Bill
Kenyan musician Blinky Bill’s latest album, ‘Everyone’s Just Winging It and Other Fly Tales was released in October of last year, with two videos accompanying some of his best creations yet. Following the club-centric Showdown and the quirky Don’t Worry, Mungu Halali (God Doesn’t Sleep) thrums with the sights & sounds of a childhood spent surrounded by the cultural pull and push of Kenya’s post-colonial capital city. Blinky remained equally tuned into the soundtracks of both his mum’s religious chants and the vintage Congolese records of his Dad’s unwieldy collection; and as a result, Mungu Halali is one of the most vibrant and inspired tracks off of “Everyone’s Just Winging it…”, aptly led by a choir, featuring both old and new friends such as Lisa Oduor-Noah, the Wamburu sisters and Sage; all integral to both Blinky and video director Mbithi Maysa’s come-up:
This is one of the most intimate videos I’ve made. Briefly, the video was inspired by my relationship with Bill and his life on the come up in music. Early discussions about this video revolved around Bill wanting to avoid the lowest hanging fruit of an idea, which would be something overtly religious and featuring a choir. He wanted Mungu Halali’s video to feature the people, spaces and places that have mattered to him through his musical journey… being at his mother’s house and listening to Iwiny Piny (Just A Band) for the first time; record hunting in various countries – and for this particular memory we decided to visit Jimmy’s record store in Nairobi; a national heritage. His stall has been up since 1989 and he’s still serving that sauce all these years later. The people in the video are friends. All of them.
Shot on a warm Sunday (and a whim) throughout Nairobi, the video features Binky’s parent’s, Kenyan news anchor Leonard Mambo Mbotela, and the featured songstresses. Blinky and Mbithi’s small film crew explored the The GoDown Arts Centre, and other such ins and outs of the Kenya that raised them both, with the song itself leaving anyone who experiences it with raised spirits.
Blinky Bill is due to perform at his second SXSW, this year at Highland Lounge, on March 14th.
Watch the video here.
Listen to the rest of the album here.