Sex & Gender

feature: queer artists in kenya – jim chuchu & jarel

October 21, 2014

Finding his own way to tenderly picked melodies and intricate sounds that make up his solo music, Jarel, known to some as Nderitu Nduba, is a poet, songwriter and “child of the bloom” from Mombasa Kenya. As frontman of The Black Progression Band, Jarel takes pride in his sense of self-reliance and his creative approach to making music. Listening to such diverse acts as Chico, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Brenda Fassie, Kool & The Gang, Bob Marley, he has to-date has shared stages with the award-winning  Sauti Sol, Bebe Cool, Fena and Antoneosoul. The Plus Minus Collection, which has released a track each month between July and October this year is co-produced by polymath Jim Chuchu who scored and shot Stories of Our Lives, the recently released film exploring LGBTIA life in Kenya. The film received rave reviews premiering at the Toronto Film Festival 2014, however was met with unsurprising hostility from the Film Classification Board in Kenya where it has been completely banned, due to the illegalities of homosexuality that still grips the country.

By Shiba Melissa Mazaza, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Regardless of these roadblocks, both Jarel and Jim work extremely well alone and together, producing some of the most breathtaking music and films Kenya has seen in years. After “Let Go,” “Fairy Tales” and “Piece of Sky” there is one track left set to drop this month from the collection. One would hope that these two continue to deliver their gorgeous creations thereafter, which lie testament to the fact that even though some are still convinced that the world is flat, the possibilities of worlds beyond the present are never-ending.

“Live, laugh, love and to tell you the truth, it’s all really simple, look inside for the freedom we’re constantly after. There’s no other intangible medium that can set our senses free as music does.” – Jarel
Download The Plus Minus Collection here.
Download the soundtrack to Stories of Our Lives here.

* Shiba Melissa Mazaza: